Fashion School Series Part 1: Rejection

They say that hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes looking back on past events you can pin-point and exact decision or moment that your entire life changed or shifted.

The first time I realized this was when I was 21, looking back on my college experience. Like every fashion design student my dream was to go to the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. If you went to FIT you were going to make it- that was the mutual understanding: you would be among the elite fashion designers in the world. When the rejection letter came in the mail and it hit me like a brick to the face! My dreams had just been crushed! Then another rejection letter came, and then another! No one wanted me! I felt hopeless and utter shock! How was I going to pursue my dream of becoming a plus size fashion designer if no one would give me the chance?

I applied not only to FIT, (Fashion Institute of Technology) but also to Parsons: The New School of Design: Tim Gunn’s school. (Now Project Runway at the time had only aired its 1st season back in 06 or 07′- and did not have the following it has today- and I was only 16 and could not apply!) When that second, third and forth rejection letters barreled through my door, I couldn’t believe it! So upset at myself. I was convinced that all of my self taught efforts had been for nothing! I should have been so proud of myself; I learned so much on my own, even made my own prom gowns without any formal training and here I was being told I wasn’t good enough.

Not going to college was not an option- I wanted that college experience and I wanted to learn what I knew others could teach me about my craft. I mean I could always just transfer right? Begrudgingly I also submitted an application to a local private college (my mothers alma mater) Mount Ida College in Newton MA.  And don’t you know I was accepted! Now I wasn’t thrilled to receive the acceptance- but I was relieved that at least I could go somewhere. I just wanted someone to give me a chance.

I just have a stick it out a year- I don’t have to stay, I told myself. The school was smaller, and local (only 40 minutes from my home town). If I just stayed a year, I could reapply and transfer to my dream school- FIT. To my surprise, I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. My freshman class of designers had 35 students (this was a huge number of designers!) It was eye opening that some of the students I met had never sewed before in their lives! I thought- how could you want to be a fashion designer and have never sewed before? Well I guess you have to start sometime! Other classmates I met, even went to a high school that offered fashion design! Now I was impressed- I only wished I would have had that available to me!

Now I couldn’t decide if I was ahead or behind? I was so confused. The whole point of going to college was to be taught. I left my interview at FIT (I knew I blew it the moment I walked out of that door) feeling totally disheartened and frustrated. All of the other applicants I spoke too seemed to be almost twice my age, and have degrees in other subjects. Should I have been this accomplished before even applying? I didn’t get it.

The discovery that changed everything was that my current local small college offered a double major program. This was a new opportunity that might not be available to me elsewhere. I was already enrolled at the college, on my way to one degree, but why not go for two? Many students who graduate with a fashion design degree walk across that stage thinking that they are the next Valentino or Dior, and often that isn’t the case; not by a long shot. Fashion Design students (regardless of which college) tend to get slammed back into reality of the real world of fashion; interning, production, management, international business, marketing etc. Its much more then I think most bargain for.

This double major for me was a game changer. What if I could get a degree in not only fashion design, but fashion merchandising and marketing? I could learn not only how to make clothing, but how to sell it to! This lit my fire! My goal was always to make a living doing what I love, and this opportunity was another way to get there. And if I decided to continue onto graduate school, my merchandising degree would open that door, should I ever choose to walk through it.

My life changed the moment I decided I would stay at Mount Ida and work to receive two degrees in four years! Yes that’s right, 2 degrees in 4 years. I made a plan, and with some luck and careful consideration, executed it. Now I was one of Mount Ida’s first ever double majors to graduate in the history of the college (graduating mind you, with over 230 credits ((the average major is about 125)) and I might add, with a 3.9 GPA (Suck it doubters!)

The double major was a huge factor but it wasn’t everything. I had truly found an amazing support system. I was far enough away from home that I felt I had true independence, but close enough that I was only a short car ride away.  The longer I stuck with fashion design, the fewer and fewer designers remained. Remember that I told you we started with 35? Well out of those 35, we graduated only 8! EIGHT! Including me! Fashion is one of those majors with huge drop out rates; once students realize the long studio classes and work involved after hours, it becomes too demanding and too much.

Fashion design is not like Project Runway, you don’t just get some money, go to Mood Fabrics, and whip up a nice dress in an hour. Its measurements, and fit, and mathematics, and entire world of fabrications and technology, etc. I could go on for hours! It takes hours upon hours of hard work, endless sleepless nights, seam rippers and yards upon yards of fabric, and dedication. And sometimes, you have to just make it again. It really is blood, sweat and tears; but those who persevere and have the tenacity to endure, will succeed.

I didn’t know it at the time, but it would be during my time at Mount Ida I would meet a professor who would become the gateway to my now full time job in fashion. If I had changed schools, I life would have ended up drastically different. I wouldn’t have the day job I have now, working in men’s big and tall fashion in international business, global sourcing and product development. And for sure I would not have two degrees like I do now. I wouldn’t have met the same people, networked and push my career forward in its current direction.

I also might not have had the confidence to do what I love, despite the world telling me that I wasn’t good enough. In the word’s of Jim Carey- during a graduation speech he gave..” the eyes are not only viewers, but they are projectors, and the title of that story is, I’ll never be enough”. The world will always be telling you why you can’t do, what you can’t have etc. You have to decide to not give a shit and do it anyway. Go ahead and doubt me, you just make me want it that much more.  And again in the word’s of Jim Cary.. “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love”.

I am not a believer in fate, only in choice; cause and effect. But sometimes what looks like a set back or a major disappointment is really one door closing and another opening. Its hard to see at the time in this moment, but trust in yourself and in the process. You will get where you need to be, it just might not have been the way you intended; and that’s OK. My first life lesson: Success is not a straight road.

Thanks so much for reading! Did you have a college experience that way similar? Did you overcome people telling you no? I would love to see you comment!

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-A

 

The ring I have been waiting for…

No- its not an engagement ring- although that would be nice. ::Wink Wink::

On my most recent Torrid shopping trip I spotted this black and silver rose ring and I had to have it! Not only was it pretty, but it was a real ring- that actually had a size. Rather than those rings that are “one size” and have that stupid stretchy back to them. I hate those rings! They always pinch my fingers!

Rose Ring

It is so hard finding jewelry that fits my big fingers. My ring finger is between a 10 and an ll, which is unheard of for fashionable costume jewelry. I usually find something I like, and it’s almost always not in my size. That seems to be a common theme for us plus size ladies. Jewelry is the worst.

Unless I shop at a specialty retailer like Lane Bryant, Avenue, or Torrid, I won’t find jewelry that is big enough for me to wear. The most common issue besides rings are the bangle bracelets; or just bracelets in general. My wrist is a solid 8″ and unfortunately most of the bracelets I like are either 7 or 7.5″ inches. Ugh.

However- I do also believe in shopping small whenever possible! There is a jewelry company called J Ashley Jewelry who sells Plus Size Bangle bracelets. Not only are they awesome quality and hand crafted, but they are made for a bigger wrist! My favorite design is below! Check out her shop here!

Jess Jewelry

Its that time of year- finally spring is on it’s way! Spring is my favorite time to wear more jewelry- there is something about the warm weather that just makes me happier and want to dress even funkier. Accessorizing my look is one of my favorite parts of getting dressed!

The weather is perfect! Now in the mid 40’s and 50’s its perfect for a kick ass leather jacket! I am so excited to be working on my newest jacket project! Find out more by signing up for my newsletter here!

Stay Classy!

-A

 

Finally Fall.. Feels like Winter!

Hey! I don’t know about you but today was the first time I had frost on my car windows! Thank goodness I left my amazing windshield defroster in my car! And it was just 60 the other day! That is New England for you!

I don’t know about you- but my driveway is just covered in leaves and acorns. Literally it looks like an acorn massacre has occurred, there are so many acorns covering my driveway. Now they are all squished and broken, and if the squirrels don’t get them soon, its going to be there own damn fault if they starve this winter!

What is your favorite part of fall or winter? I am not a fan of the cold, but I do love wearing boots and hats. Scarves are also a nice accessory. I wore my first scarf and hat today, because it was 29 degrees outside when I left for work this morning!

pink winter hat

I love winter hats. The bigger the “foof” on top, the better. My favorite hat of the moment is this pink one pictured above. Below is two more pictures of me in hats. I usually go for the winter hats. But I did try on this floppy pink hat in Macys. I didn’t end up buying it, but I did have to try it on.

Amanda in Hat 2

Let me know what your favorite winter accessory is! Make a comment below!

You know what I also love are winter jackets! I am launching a jacket line next fall made exclusively in plus sizes, in the United States. Go to www.rose-riot.com to sign up for behind the scenes news, & coupons!

Stay warm!

-A

© Copyright Rose Riot 2016

This is HALLOWEEN…..

First off, I hope everyone had an awesome Halloween! For the first time in what feels like forever, Halloween night fell on a weekend night! The Saturday was the perfect time for Halloween; parents didn’t have to deal with work, kids didn’t have to deal with school; and average people like you and me could have a drink or two and not have to worry so much about going to work with a hangover! #Truth

I am not a procrastinator as much as I literally am out of time, all the time. If I could have 40hrs in day, that would be great. The night before Halloween, I decided I was going to DIY my costume, and paint a sweater I bought from Saver’s. My idea was to do a skeleton type costume, but sort of day of the dead-esc but not crazy. I haven’t painted in a long time, and I forgot how therapeutic it could be.

Below are pictures of my finished sweater. I googled a photo of “skeleton chest” to use as reference and did the best I could. I didn’t want to go for a stark white bone structure- I thought it would look to gimmicky.

Skeleton Painting Sweater

I did end up liking the end product. I also had bought skeleton hand gloves to finish off my outfit. I also dug through my most recent fashion show bag of accessories and easily found all things Halloweenish. It was great- one of the bonuses of loving roses, skulls and things all year round! Needless to say, I found a bunch of rose hair pieces in both black and red. I wanted to look day of the dead ish- and the hair pieces ended up being perfect! Its hard to see the hair pieces from the picture below- but you get a better idea of what the completed sweater looked like. Also I pulled out skeleton earrings and a red necklace to finish the look.

Amanda Skeleton

I am no make up artist- and thank god I bought red make up from the wedding I had recently attended (I wore a red ASK Fashion dress to my boyfriends, cousins, wedding). So I had deep red lipstick and dark pink blush, and red eye shadow to finish the look. Its not obvious but I wore my black sweat pants too! Had to be comfortable for a night of getting together with the best friends a girl could ask for.

Pictured below is my good friend Maria- who did way more skull make up than I did, and boy she did look amazing! That is one of the best parts of going to a Halloween party with your closest friends- you all are nerdy enough to dress up and have a great time! It was a good reminder to just relax and have some fun.

Amanda and Maria Halloween

I think that’s one of the hardest things to do today- is de-connect and relax. I decided once I arrived at the party- that there would be no fashion business after I walked through that door; that night I was going to relax, hang out, have a glass of wine, and enjoy myself!

Halloween is one of my most favorite times of year! Yet it came and went so quick! (Just like everything else seems to be doing lately!- Like where did the time go?!?)

If its not enough to feel so connected and rushed, I felt like I have had no time to recover post-Halloween. I mean that in the sense, that literally on November 1st we are being shoved Peppermint Latte’s and Christmas Music! As if it wasn’t bad enough that the second “Back to School” was over- we were already seeing Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas- jeezz! I mean I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see New Years things, any day now! I feel like saying.. Stop Rushing Me! Lol.

I am not going to lie- I am not disappointed that I can now order my favorite drink of the entire year- Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks- (the BEST!). But, it is a bit much, a bit too soon! I feel like people need to relax, and take some time to enjoy themselves and the people they surround themselves with. Sometimes I feel we forget what is really important- we get so busy, so consumed with our lives, we forget to stop and look around every once in a while. As Ferris Bueller once said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”. I feel like, if you take away anything from this post- it will be to stop and look around the try to enjoy and appreciate life. This is something I am constantly reminding myself; as a business women, fashion entrepreneur, and overall busy person working 3 jobs- that I have to stop every once and a while and relax, take in my surroundings, enjoy my life, hang out with my friends and family and have some fun, and try acting like I am 25 for once! (not 25 going on 45!)

What were you for Halloween?! I would love to know! Comment below!

One last note- I will leave you with one of my favorite cover songs, from one of my favorite movies, from one of my favorite singers! It gets me into that Halloween mood!- Sally’s Song by Ame Lee of Evanescence. Take a Listen! Its Amy Lee from Evanescence, singing a song from the movie- the NightMare Before Christmas. Love that movie!

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to sign up on my mailing list and stay up to date on all things- ASK! Stay Fabulous my friends!

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white skull head prop

Stay Happy and Classy my friends!

-A

© Copyright Rose Riot 2016