2018 has been a whirlwind year with intermittent water breaks. Five years ago, if you asked me what I would be doing, I never thought that I would be working on Brand and Sales at Google with a specialization in retail. It goes to show that people like me who love plans have to let go and let flow when it comes to the tides of life. When I graduated from college, I wanted to run wild with the prospect of starting my own lingerie line. I bought a sewing machine in my senior year, brought home tantalizing laces and I taught myself how to sew by deconstructing the threads and patterns in clothes that I owned. Every time I was in a store, I would turn a garment inside out to see how it was made and stitched – and that became my litmus test to whether I would purchase something or not.
A typical conversation while out shopping with my girlfriends:
“I can make this! This is so easy to do. How much are they pricing this thing for?”
“What? $450 for this plain pattern and these synthetic fabrics? Don’t buy it, I’ll go home and make you one.”
I confess that I no longer have the schedule that allows me the time to happily cut and stitch away at all hours, so passion projects like sewing to burn the midnight oil are in an extended intermission. Instead of designing, I’ve been “investing” in my burgeoning wardrobe by cultivating my healthy habit of retail therapy. I still find myself meandering into fabric stores every now and then (most recently – I bought a few yards of fabric from the Finnish textile house, Marimekko), amassing an overflowing collection of fabrics that I look forward to draping and working with in all the free time that I will have in my retirement. I still have resplendent raw silks from my last trip to India, floral blooms from Maine, and plenty of sparkly blends from L.A. Most of these fabrics sit in a woven basket in my room with the exception of a few that I hang as standalone prints in my home.
I recently took some silky grey kimono fabric with a lovely ocean pattern and fashioned it into a Twilly-like scarf on a suede YSL Sac De Jour that I picked up in New York. Fun fact: YSL’s creative director at the time, Hedi Slimane, designed the Sac De Jour as a modernized slant of the Hermès Birkin bag. Realistic fact: The Sac De Jour is a sexy vanity bag that weighs a fair amount and is really not a “Jour/Day” bag unless you’re a real housewife who gets chauffeured to brunch every day. I speed-walk Olympic style to the Google bus stop every AM, so I opt for aerodynamic accessories when going to work (i.e.: A simple backpack).
After looking into the complexity of merchandising, distribution, pricing and margins with retail clients like Bombas, Alexander Wang and Theory (e-commerce, omni-channel, online-to-offline), I’m less inclined to create a retail line and am more curious about exploring software for retail (inventory), learning more about sustainable packaging for e-commerce and going abroad to investigate the manufacturing industry. I think the world already has enough direct-to-consumer start-ups that are popping out like rabbits. I also think that the world doesn’t need another iteration or improvement of a retail product, but solutions to greater problems (i.e.: Automation for blue-collar jobs, growing inequity in wealth, finite natural resources, sustainability) that our generation has to answer to.
I’m going to start writing again because it was a wonderful way for me to chart my growth throughout the years. It also gave me the opportunity to stay connected with friends scattered around the world who are living their beautiful lives.
You can come here for tidbits and insights into my life when I am bad at returning your texts (OK, for the record: 1. As humans, we are overloaded with messages 2. I’m on the phone with clients and looking at screens all day, so I like to press pause after hours. 3. I’ve improved exponentially at texting in the past year).
You can come here to learn about my adventures in the retail sector at Google and what I’m working on outside of Google. I’ll offer some perspectives on the retail industry and share some interviews with emerging companies that I have my eye on.
I was never going to be fulfilled by taking pretty photos and posting them on Instagram, so here’s my take on the business of fashion.