My brand new blue jeans. The perfect fit. I walk into the office and the head seamstress stops to look at me up and down.
“Nice pants,” she winks, and it’s the best English I’ve heard her say all week.
“Thanks!” I smile. “They’re new.”
But it’s not until I wrap up my work at the end of a busy day back in the studio, do I suddenly realize a defined light blue imprint on my chair. Are you kidding me? And then I look down at the palms of my hands, and notice they are also tinted blue, from the denim. Dye is everywhere.
“Welcome to the studio!” I tell the university students as they pour into the showroom early on Thursday morning. The day has arrived, and my first tour group has started. Not getting much sleep the night before from my fear of public speaking, however it’s not long before I am showered with questions, and realize that is actually quite fun.
“How did you get the job?!” The first question fired at me. I go on to tell the story, my story. Coming to New York with one suitcase, and not much else, and that one interview. You know how the story goes by now.
“What’s the hardest part about adapting to the New York lifestyle?” A girl with long blonde hair in the back pipes up.
“Well, having people understand my British accent over the phone is always a challenge!” I tell her, and everybody laughs. “I am forever being mistaken as ‘Stacey.”
“Have you met Beyonce?” A guy in the front asks, his eyes lit up. I laugh. Ah yes, a very important question. I go on to tell them the story of that one day at work last summer when her stylist happened to “drop in” to the studio, only to give us that one afternoon to design and mock up three new tour costumes for her, which we are then later swept off to her secret rehearsal grounds somewhere in Brooklyn, to present them to the queen herself. In the meantime, we wait and watch her perform the whole set, privately. All I remember was pinching myself constantly to remind make sure it was all really happening.
I then take the students into the back, where all the magic happens. The pattern room, the chaotic sewing studio, I could tell they were soaking it all up.
“How are your collections going?” I asked the small blonde girl as we make our way back into the showroom, she walks beside me, I can she’s mezmorized by the whole experience.
“We have less than two weeks to complete two outfits for our assessment.” She tells me this with a concerned and slight panicked look on her face, like I shouldn’t have bought up the subject at all.
“Two weeks?” I almost choke with laughter in my response. “You’ve got loads of time!” I tell her. At that moment we pass a rack of 20 dresses, and I explain how I have to alter and ship all of them out by tomorrow.
“ If I can do all of that”, I tell her “then you can design and make the two outfits by the end of this month.”
She grins at me.
Exhausted. I’m on the crowded W train this evening on my way back home to Astoria, after a very long day. My phone vibrates in my coat pocket, and it’s one of the students on Twitter, they’ve mentioned me in a post.
“Thanks Sophie for the fantastic tour, you are such an inspiration for us all!” I can’t help but smile to myself, and I can tell the guy standing next to me on the train is wondering what’s so funny.
I think I had an effect on those students today. Their first taste of the real fashion world, and how it is possible to live “the dream.” I really hope my story sticks with them, kind of like the imprint of my blue jeans on my white leather chair. Which the next day I scrubbed and scrubbed to come off, but it just won’t fade.
Seeing the faces of the students as they entered the showroom that morning, lit up, bought me back to the realization of how lucky the position is that I am in. It’s something that I’ll remember for a long time, and well, for even just that one moment, makes it all worth while.