Disclaimer: long post ahead.
I never talk about my day job; I guess I’m just a private-person like that. But since August 2015, I’ve been working at Vania Romoff Inc. which ended this week.
And before you ask: No, there is no vacancy at Vania Romoff Inc.! I already found and trained a perfectly capable replacement to take over my duties. But if you are interested in applying, you can send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org so that you can get an email if in case something opens up.
This past year has been a hurricane. My life was turned upside down because of the workload and the amount of stress I had to face every single day. It was scary, stressful and amazing all at the same time. Everyday, I got to work with an amazing designer whose message I believed in and with a team made up of the most talented people. And leaving it all behind was a hard decision to make.
To commemorate my time at Vania’s, I decided to pick 12 highlights and talk about them here. I’ll try to keep my descriptions as brief as possible. If there’s anything that you might want to know more about, feel free to leave a comment below!
I still remember the first time I actually stepped into the Atelier. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more well put-together office. I didn’t know whether I would really call this place my second home so if you would have told me then that I would be spending the next 365 days here, I would have definitely thrown up all over you (from excitement).
My actual job
Not many people know this but my main job was to take care of Vania’s online shop. This consisted of taking orders, coordinating with production, and shipping off items (in short, logistics). I spoke to dozens of clients on a day-to-day basis and assisted them with their orders locally and internationally.
I can’t even count how many times I had to plan a shoot for work. I love working on them but planning is what I always used to dread. Thankfully, I got to work with an amazing team of people that produced beautiful photos.
Planning a collection with Vania
Watching and learning her creative process, I saw the collection from start to end. I was around for two collections and in all honesty, it was hard as hell. People who aspire to be in fashion because it’s glamorous really need a reality check. Fashion is far from easy but it really is an amazing journey. Seeing the final product go down the runway is what makes all of stress and sleepless nights worth it.
For a girl who’s design aesthetic is neutral and androgynous, yeah this was a tough one. I entered the atelier with my boy cut hair and gender-neutral clothes. I eventually softened up as the months went by and I adapted a whole new way of viewing things.
(Common words used throughout this year: Timeless, Classic, Subtle, Elegant)
Decided not to post an enlarged photo of her in respect to her parents. When I arrived at Vania’s, she was already some months pregnant. Up until her giving birth, everyday I worried and made sure to help her as much as I can. Even as simple as picking up something from the floor, I made sure if I was capable, I would do it for her. So when Vania gave birth to her healthy baby girl, I was ecstatic. Emilia’s coming definitely brightened up life at the shop. Those moments where I got to see her, interact with her, were so precious and I can’t wait to see her again as a little girl.
Assisting at weddings
There were days when Bea, the bridal manager, would have to assist at bridal preps and lucky me, sometimes I got to tag along (just to drive her but still). As mentioned before, I have no intention on getting married or starting a family of my own (sorry, Dad) but there really is magic that happens during weddings. I loved seeing everyone get really excited, all dressed up… the whole shebang! If I could just attend weddings for the rest of my life, I think I’d be good.
Fabric sourcing in Seoul
I know at this point, I still have not made my Seoul trip post… so alot of people who see my photos and my snapchat stories think that I was there just for leisure when in fact, I was there to work. I was there to buy fabrics for VR and Bea was supposed to come with however, her Korean visa wasn’t approved. I ended up travelling solo but I was lucky enough to meet with two of my good friends, Yeo Seul and Hanna while I was there.
Fabric sourcing in a foreign country is not easy if you’re alone. Think, lugging 80 yards of fabric from Dongdaemun market (back to my Airbnb) for 0.5 kms around 4 times a day. It was CRAZY. Daily cardio and weight lifting everyday for 4 days.
Helping out backstage
When you go to fashion school, this is a pretty normal activity that every student goes through. You can’t say that you’re a fashion student without helping out backstage at least once. But at Vania’s shows, Bea and I were the point people that had to talk to everyone and assist the models at the same time. I remember during the Bridal show last April, I was carrying four gowns (all with chapel-length trains) from the backstage, through a hotel kitchen to our dressing room. It was a definite revamp of my previous backstage moments.
Making content for Social Media
I learned how to harness my flat-laying abilities at VR Inc. Sometimes there’s a feature in a magazine or a gift from someone that needs to be photographed for Instagram and Facebook. I would spend forever trying to make things look nice and cohesive with Vania’s aesthetic and after months of doing this, I’d like to say that I’ve gotten better at it.
Working day and night, anywhere, everywhere
Because I handled E-Commerce, My laptop was glued to my hip. I never went anywhere without it. Sometimes on the weekends, if I had time to spare, I’d check work emails on my phone because clients are impatient (lol). That and people are always visiting the website so when I know that there’s something that needs to be updated or improved, I can’t sleep ’til the job gets done.
Being a VR assistant
Lastly, being a VR assistant teaches you to be a pro at multi-tasking and also a great team player. In the photo you’ll see Bea, the bridal manager and Ate Mich, Vania’s secretary/production manager. We relied heavily on each other for months and in turn, these two (plus Vania) were the people I became closest to. We would spend as little as 4 hours to as much as 16 hours together working hard and making magic happen.
When I was about to graduate from SoFA, all I wanted to do was work in fashion. I didn’t know how I was going to do it especially since I had no contacts already in the industry. I kept wishing that somehow someone influential would notice me and take me under their wing. Thankfully, Vania did. And even if the job wasn’t what I originally wanted (I wanted to be a creative assistant), I learned that no job is too little or too insignificant. Every small detail that I took the time to pay attention to contributed to a bigger picture.
If I had to give out a piece of advice to all the people who want to work for a fashion designer, this is it: