For a fashion student, being able to participate in a major event like Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City is a dream come true. However, for an international student like me, it is even more exciting because it is something I would never have even imagined being able to attend.
The fun part about going to these events is that you not only get to help and work backstage - seeing what is necessary to put on such incredible shows – but you also get to watch them up close.
When I helped set up Rebecca Minkoffs’ fashion show, I didn’t expect to stay for the actual show. However, when the time came we got to sit on the steps and see her beautiful and modern collection.
Photo from www.vimeo.com
I have also taken a front row seat for a Miami Fashion Week show when a VIP didn’t show up. I don’t think I’ve ever been that excited in my entire life. Taking pictures and seeing the beautiful fashions up close are just bonuses that have come with every opportunity I’ve had to volunteer at fashion shows. These events really help us see the industry from the inside, be a part of it, and, especially, they give us a taste of what we want to do for our entire lives.
As a young girl, I dreamed of being a fashion designer. However, once I actually started learning about fashion, I fell in love with the business side of it. That’s when I chose the amazing fashion business school that is LIM College. I later thought I would make a good fashion stylist and maybe work for a magazine someday. I also imagined I could be creative enough to help create fashion marketing campaigns for a huge company I would enter after graduating.
Graphic from: www.buzzle.com
However, plans change. In my case this was because I was exposed to the right things and because I got opportunities to do some things I discovered I’m good at. Writing was one of them. The field of public relations also opened up to me. Since I decided to put myself out there and try new experiences, I now have new plans. They include growing my brand name and learning more about how PR is used in fashion.
Internships are also a big part of learning what we are good at, what we like to do and which paths might be right or wrong for us. I have examined all of my previous internship positions in fashion to consider what activities I might invest my time in, and which ones are not worth continuing.
LIM College is pretty excellent at giving students the chance to enter the fashion industry – however, it is up to us to use those opportunities to our advantage.
Graphic from www.symphonicdistribition.com
Most people feel sorry for me when I say I’ve lived so far away from my family and friends for such a long time. However, I don’t feel like I am missing out on that much. With today’s technology there are great ways to keep connected with everyone I know, from friends I’ve made through the years who have gone back to their home countries, to my own family in Brazil. Skype, Facebook, phone and even a simple email make me feel connected to them, even on days I want to be left alone. (Ha ha)
During all my years living in NYC I’ve barely had any time to go back to Brazil to visit. My Mom, brother, aunt, Dad, best friends -- and even some people who I’m not that close to -- came to visit me and I played tour guide, showing them all the beautiful spots in this amazing city. Last winter, however, I did go home and spent my birthday there. WOW, nothing had changed. People have changed jobs, finished school and gotten married, but they all remained the same people I always loved and I am so thankful that they thought the same about me.
No matter how far away I may be, I have never missed any gossip, or weddings (watched them online!), or even any birthday parties. But, of course, there are moments when, as international students, we feel homesick. It can happen when we listen to a song, or maybe just because a memory came up. The best thing to do though is to just get distracted, or maybe call that dear person and laugh about something. It always works for me!
Is NYC really so different from Sao Paulo, Brazil? Not that much! Despite the fact that in New York City we speak English and pay for things in dollars, there are more similarities than differences between NYC and Sao Paulo.
Whenever I drive in New York City, or even when I’m simply walking to the subway, I have flashbacks that take me back to my home country. Like New York, the city of Sao Paulo also has major traffic -- and there is always something going on to cause even more of it.
People there are also constantly in a rush, talking to themselves or on the phone, running from meetings to lunches and having a chaotic day. On the weekend you see a lot of tourists taking pictures and the locals doing simple things like going to the park – which in Sao Paulo is conveniently located right in the middle of the craziness – just like NYC’s Central Park.
Amazing restaurants and popular nightclubs are also things that my hometown shares with NYC. People also love to express their identity through fashion and show off what they have – cars, cellphones, accessories, you name it!
Sao Paulo, however, is a more intense city when it comes to violence and that is something I wish I didn’t fear so much every time I go back to visit.
It didn’t take much time for me to get used to studying fashion merchandising and marketing in NYC because I had a big-city background. However, I still am impressed every time I approach New York City and see its beautiful skyscrapers.
NYC and Sao Paulo are two beautiful cities and both have a very special part in my heart.
New York City
This semester I made a big decision and decided to take 16 credits. Wow, what a workload. However, I am really happy to have done it. I am not only taking classes I need to graduate with a degree, but I’m also learning about many different aspects of the business world.
In Finance we are playing a game that involves a simulation of buying and selling stocks and analyzing how well, or badly, they do in the market. It has been fun so far to see my stocks go up, though not so fun when they all go down!
I’m also getting prepared for my corporate fashion internship by taking the Career Pathing seminar class. It covers interesting topics and many involve experiential education activities. Besides those classes, I’m also taking Junior Writing and Ethics – two classes that so far make me feel like I already wrote a whole book. So many essays! But I do know that my writing skills have improved tremendously, which is extremely important if you’re attending a fashion college and planning to pursue a career in the industry – or any other industry for that matter.
My other two classes are Professional Communications, which is very career-oriented in terms of professional emails and presentations, and Design Studio, where I have a lot of fun exploring my creativity.
All of these classes bring something unique to my career plans. Being able to communicate properly, write at a professional level, and think outside of the box are all skills employers in the fields of Fashion Merchandising and Visual Merchandising seek, and I am so glad that as a fashion college in NYC, LIM College offers these opportunities to its students.
As we all know, NYC has millions of restaurants and they are the best in the world. Some of my favorites are:
Shake Shack www.shakeshack.com
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a large and delicious burger? This is the best place to have it. They are not only organic, but they taste awesome, and Shake Shack also has vegan options as well. It’s also a very affordable place, however, you need to be ready to stand in line for a little bit – they have a very popular burger!
Whenever I want to have a sit-down Japanese dinner, I run to Haru. They have the best sushi, great atmosphere and delicious dumplings. Don’t leave without trying the shrimp and mushroom shumai! SO GOOD!
Hale & Hearty www.haleandhearty.com
While studying fashion in New York City, I am always on the go, so instead of going for unhealthy food, I stop at this amazing salad and soup place. They make it fast and very personalized – you chose your toppings, what kind of the greens, and dressing. It not only tastes delicious, but you won’t spend more than $10! Definitely a win-win!
When I am missing Brazilian food, I usually invite some of my friend to go have a feast here. They have amazing appetizers that totally bring the Brazilian essence, the main dishes are to die for, and the desserts – well, I can’t begin to describe them. It makes feel like I have never left my home country.
Thanks to LinkedIn, I’m having one of the best learning experiences I’ve had while studying fashion in New York. Every experience I go through has taught me so much about the fashion industry. However, at the internship I am at right now I have learned skills that will have a huge impact on my ability to go into the professional environment. Research, professional writing, and brand-building are just a few of these.
One day as I played with my profile and LinkedIn features, I came across the “jobs and internships positions” part of this social network. I saw a posting about a blogger position with a beauty company called NewTress. I did some quick research on the company and realized that they sold hair extensions and had a hair-related blog on their website. This position required experience in blogging, strong writing skills and the ability to do a few blog posts a week.
Summer was around the corner, so I figured I would take a chance and send them an email – resume, cover letter and all, just like we learned from the very career- oriented professors at LIM College. A few days later I got a response, had an interview and was given a start date. So far, I have done three major interviews with fashion and beauty-related people, many blog posts, and have also grown my brand name and guest blogged for another large blog and a magazine.
I am extremely excited to see where this internship will take me. I hope to grow with the brand and become a much better writer, eventually helping the company with their public relations efforts. So take my advice: study hard, explore your opportunities and take chances. You never know what a little email can do for you!
Here are just a few of the posts I’ve done since I started this summer…
Central Park is close to all LIM College buildings. I just love this place! Jogging or simply walking around the park is entertainment in itself, because you can see all types of people (including some really crazy ones, ha-ha) and things going on. It is magical - a peaceful place in the middle of the crazy city of New York that never sleeps. And a great place to be taken - or take someone- on a date, as you can see above! Just saying, LOL.
The Brooklyn Bridge is another iconic location in New York City. I have seen fashion and bridal photo shoots happening there, as well as marriage proposals. It’s so fun to watch the many different people who go between the two boroughs.
New York City is definitely a city that revolves around fashion. Fashion (7th) Avenue is so close to LIM College. It’s where we can find everything about the fashion industry, including memorials and monuments marking the history of the fashion business throughout the years.
GOTTA LOVE NYC!
New York City is just like in the movies, there are all kinds of beautiful and fun places to go. I’ve been to a LOT of them during my time here. For example, I have been to the Statue of Liberty at least 5 times with all the family and friends who’ve come from Brazil to visit me.
I’d now like to share some of the pictures that highlight the amazing city of New York, which is also LIM College’s campus.
This is Times Square almost 6 years ago, when I first arrived in the U.S. I was amazed at the lights and the amount of people walking around.
Lady Liberty and I have become besties, since I’ve visited her so much. Being there just makes you feel like you belong to America and are part of this beautiful country. I love it!
The view from Liberty Island is amazing. You can see downtown Manhattan and the pictures taken there all look like postcards. I feel very fortunate to have been able to take my family to see that!
OH, SUMMER! I spend the whole year just thinking about it. Sometimes I even get mad at myself for leaving the warmth of my home country of Brazil to freeze in New York City. OK, I know that the glamour of living and studying the fashion business here in New York and enjoying every part of it kind of balances it out, but I still love the summer season. I love the fact we can stay outside until late at night and it’s still light out. I love the trips to the beach and endless barbecues with friends.
This summer I am doing something different. I am going on a trip that I am really excited about. I will be going to Italy with a family I am friends with. They have family on the coast there and we will enjoy some down time at the Italian beaches – fancy, right? I can already imagine the beauty of the places I will visit and the amazing food I will enjoy.
The best part though is that I will take advantage of being in Europe and I will visit a really close and dear friend I met here in America many years ago who now lives in England. I cannot wait to see her! A fun part of being an international student studying fashion and living in New York is that there are so many immigrants here that you end up knowing people from all over the world and you always have a reason to visit different places.
The rest of the summer I will just relax and enjoy a few weeks in the Hamptons, followed by trips to Montauk (my personal paradise and peaceful heaven). I just hope that the weather will be really nice to us New Yorkers because we have been through too many snow days and we deserve a lot of sunshine.
SUMMER HERE WE GO!