Back when fashion was a world closed off to everyone except those who inhabited it (no livestreams, no Instagram, just pictures on pages and expensive trends trickling down from Paris), the industry must have seemed like a place more impenetrable than this season’s ground hog’s hole.
It definitely did to me, at least, when I first started. I had Google, Vogue, and high speed Internet access, but coming from a liberal arts school rather than from a place where my education was in design, my foray into the field felt like the aftermath of running smack into a glass door: idiotic, painful and of constant reminder that I don’t know everything. Like designer-name pronunciation, for example. Or how doors work.
But the way I moved up was all thanks to my friends — specifically, the new ones who worked in fashion beside me.
During internships we bonded over late nights, lost samples, garment bag muscles and complicated coffee orders. During our first jobs, we collectively lamented about the state of our lives and kept tallies for each time we messed something up. I met one of my closest friends during a hot streak of 10 mistakes in 9 days when, at 11 PM on a Friday I called her cell (she worked at a magazine I was supposed to send a gown to) and said, “I’m just gonna be real with you. The dress isn’t coming.” We laughed, and that was it.
The best part was watching the promotions begin, then observing as career switches were made between print, public relations and web. Each year we moved up together, like freshman becoming sophomores and then suddenly, juniors. The teachers were our bosses, our editors, or directors. They offered friendship too (though perhaps with a bit more tough love), all of them graduates of the same life-school system, familiar with our current spots as they’d been there/done that years ago.
It’s true that not everyone was nice. Some were straight up mean. But there isn’t a world where that’s not the reality, and on days when it feels like none of us will ever be Anna or Grace or Phoebe or Marc, it’s kind of nice to hum a little song and remember that, as with anything else but perhaps in fashion especially, we all get by with a little help from our friends.
Happy Monday, and if you don’t feel like working either yet, why not share your work/school/camp BFF story or pasta sauce recipe below.