Friday, September 12, 2008

PS - Part 1

When I returned to New York, I had a first round interview with Weronika, the production manager over at Proenza Schouler. As their business was expanding (it was a couple of years old at that time, which was late July 2004), so were her responsibilities, and she was looking for someone to assist her in handling the production process, which was mainly in New York at the time. She had been interested in my resume (which I had passed on to the two designers when I met them in the spring) because I had done a production internship and because I was Korean. I would find out later that a good number of the factories they worked with in the Garment District were Korean-owned, and a couple of the owners didn't speak the best English. So she wanted an assistant who could aid in the communication process. Weronika had become friends with Lazaro when they were both interns at Michael Kors.

She seemed to like me and had me come back to meet with Shirley, who was the CEO and third partner (with Jack and Lazaro). She had met the pair through a friend. Once she had spoken to me, she called Lazaro over and he chatted with me a bit to make sure he liked me. I was a bit starstruck again, but he was very nice. I must have passed the test as they invited me to start with them soon afterwards. I was to go through a brief trial period after which I would be hired.

It was an interesting time to join the company. It was still very young, and I was the first full-time hire beyond the original four (Jack, Lazaro, Shirley, and Weronika) who had started out together. The boys had been nominated for the first CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund (which they ultimately won), so there was a lot going on with that, including the filming of the documentary "Seamless." In addition, the three partners were in the process of moving out of the live/work loft in Chinatown to their own apartments. Even then, (when most people would just give me a blank stare when I told them where I worked) there were always celebrities stopping by (I remember dropping an outfit off to Rosario Dawson). I was a little disappointed when I missed SJP's visit to the studio.

Soon after I started working was the Spring 2005 show, held at Milk Studios. It was exhilarating to watch the show after having seen the new "It" models try the pieces on in the fittings. Then of course, the after party at Bungalow 8. Once the show was over, however, our work began, and I was soon initiated into the process of managing the production of high-end ready-to-wear in New York.