Monday, November 30, 2009

GenArt SHOP NYC this WEDNESDAY, 12/2!

Graey will be participating at GenArt's SHOP NYC this Wednesday, 12/2. We'll be selling Fall 2009 at 25% off, with additional discounts (50-60% off) older styles. There will also be free drinks, a DJ spinning, and spa and beauty treatments!

Wednesday, December 2

VIP Preview of SHOP NYC / Styles Finalists Presentation
6:00-7:00pm: Live Model Vignettes
7:00pm: Award Presentation
* Specialty Cocktails provided by Potocki Vodka

SHOP NYC: General Admission
7:00 - 10:00pm
(does not include admission to awards presentation)

7 West 34th Street
(@ corner of 5th Avenue)

Gen Art invites you to attend our holiday SHOP NYC taking place at the lovely 20,000 sq ft 7 West Lofts on December 2nd. This year's VIP Preview of Shop will also feature the Styles 2009 Fashion & Awards Presentation.

VIP ticket holders
will have access to both the VIP Preview of Shop (first dibs on items), as well as to be able to view the Styles 2009 Fashion & Awards Presentation.

You can get more info about the event here: SHOP NYC

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Life Lessons Learned From Rock Climbing

Yes, after the last post, I realize I might sound a bit obsessive. However, in addition to the physical activity, rock climbing has been valuable to me because of the lessons I have been able to apply to my life. For instance:

1. When faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, focus on what's just in front of you, and take small steps. Especially when I go outdoor climbing, I am often overwhelmed by the height of the cliff face, and how sheer it is (it often feels totally vertical). However, if you take your time and examine the surface for small cracks here and there, and chalk marks left by other climbers, you can slowly pick your way up the rock, one small step at a time.

Often I feel this way about my work. I get so overwhelmed that I don't know where to start. It's good to sit back and figure out small steps you can take toward your goal.

2. Once you decide to make a move, don't hesitate; go for it! There have been many times, both in rock climbing and in life, where I have decided to take a step, but then hesitated, and either drawn back or faltered. In climbing, this often wastes energy. In life, you end up wasting time. Sometimes you have to go for it, even if there is a chance you might fail, because on the flip side, there is a chance you might succeed.

3. It's OK to fall. Obviously, you want to be careful (and safe). However, sometimes if you want to make it to the top, you have to be willing to take a risk. When you're climbing, you're usually either clipped in somewhere or someone's belaying you, so the distance you will fall is limited -- you won't (as I often irrationally fear) die. Similarly, when you're taking risks in your work or business, it may not go the way you want, but at least you'll learn something about how you should proceed the next time. What you don't hear about successful people is all the times they failed, but it takes a lot of falling to reach the summit.

4. Learn from others' mistakes and don't be afraid to ask for help. At the Gunks, the term "beta" is used for advice on how to go up a climb. Often, other people who have more experience than you (and are less terrified) can better see the best approach up a climb. Similarly, I like to read about other designers and even entrepreneurs in different fields to gain insight on how to succeed in the business.

5. Keep trying. I've been going climbing, mostly indoors, every week and although I have so much more to learn, it's also been great to see the progress I've made over the past couple of months. As I mentioned in the last post, there's nothing better than that feeling you get when you're able to finish a climb that you couldn't do a week or two earlier. There's no magic to success -- it's all about how hard you're willing to work.

Rock Climbing

What did I do on Black Friday? I certainly didn't shop -- the thought of fighting through the crowds made shopping the last thing I wanted to do today.

Instead, I went indoor rock climbing. I started getting into rock climbing this fall. I've been trying to find an activity that I enjoy that will get me into shape. In high school, I ran track and did some swimming and tennis. I was more of a sprinter though, and I don't really like running, especially on a treadmill where I always feel like I'm going to fall off. Swimming indoors kind of sucks because indoor pools are so humid and you feel like you're going to suffocate from lack of oxygen after several laps. Tennis is fun but I get kind of sick of running around after the ball. I hate going to the gym -- I get so bored. I've also tried yoga, but the few times I've gone, I've just been standing there, acutely aware of my discomfort, wondering when the class would be over.

Rock climbing is fun because you're focused on getting to the top of the climb so you don't realize you're exercising. It's also cool because you're mainly competing with yourself, trying to improve your footwork and technique, and getting through harder and harder climbs. (As a side note, if I lived in a warmer area, I'd love to get into surfing).

Here are a few places to check out if you're interested in getting into climbing:

1. I initiated myself into the sport (someone corrected me and said it's more like an activity) by checking out the open climb at the Field House at Chelsea Piers. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, you pay $22, which includes shoe and harness rental, and there is an instructor named Devin who teaches you how to climb the wall. One of the most important aspects of climbing to remember is to use your feet, which is counterintuitive. Most people instinctively try to pull themselves up with their arms, which ends up making you tired very quickly. Here is a picture of me on the wall:
I bought a 10-pass which is only $160 and have been going every week. Another thing I love about it is that I can see myself improving each time. If I don't get a climb one week, I'll often be able to do it the next time. Devin is also a great instructor, and very encouraging. The only negative about the wall here is that it's only 20 ft tall, and not very wide.

2. This is not to be confused with the wall at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers:
According to the website, this wall is 46 ft tall, and 10,000 sq ft in area. It looks awesome and I'd love to go but you either need a membership or a day pass that costs $50. A little pricey for me.

3. After going several times at Chelsea Piers, a friend took me up to the Gunks, which is the colloquial name for Shawangunk Ridge, near New Paltz, in upstate New York. Considering it's only a couple hours outside the city, it's great climbing. Here are some photos my friend took of me the last time I went up a couple of weeks ago:
Here I am, climbing up, I think it was Shockley's (if you are the first to go up a climb, you can name it). I am afraid of heights (the height of the cliffs average around 150 ft according to Wikipedia) and was terrified while I was climbing so I was hugging the rock for dear life. However, you are actually supposed to lean back with your arms straight (bending your arms is bad because it burns out your muscles), and your legs bent.

Here I am, rappelling down. This looks fun, but is a little scary too because you are basically letting yourself fall down a cliff (you control your progress down by pulling on the rope), although it is safe because you're secured with the rope. We normally get to the cliffs around 9am and stay there til around 2pm. A day goes by very quickly at the Gunks. Afterwards, we stop at the Farmer's Market. I like to get apple cider donuts which are yummy; my friend enjoys the peanut butter cookies.

Unfortunately, because the Gunks are a bit far and you can only go when the weather permits, I probably won't get to go much for the next couple of months.

4. A few months ago, a climbing gym called Brooklyn Boulders opened up in Park Slope. The walls there are a little higher than at the Field House at Chelsea Piers, around 30 ft tall, and it's a lot bigger. A day pass is $20, but you have to pay another $10 to rent shoes and a harness. Also, unlike at the Field House, there isn't an instructor guiding and belaying you. The place is geared more towards experienced climbers. We took the "Learn the Ropes" class, but they basically just teach you how to belay (tying a figure 8 knot, using the grigri device), and don't really teach you much about climbing. You also need to make sure you have a partner who is belay certified, unless you just want to boulder.
5. Today, since I was in Westchester, I went with my friend to check out The Cliffs at Valhalla, one of the indoor climbing gyms in the area.
This gym is even bigger than Brooklyn Boulders, and the walls are higher, maybe around 40 ft? I tried out the bouldering, which was tough (but luckily you have the little crash mats) and a couple of the easier climbs (I did a couple of 5'6es but had difficulty with the 5'7s and 5'8s). A day pass costs $16, plus $5 for shoe rental, $3 for harness. Depending on when you go, the staff will belay you. It was a fun time, and when I got home I was exhausted.

One thing I noticed about the walls at The Indoor Cliffs and BKB vs. The Field House is that there are features in the wall at the Field House, or bumps and grooves in the wall that aren't actual holds, whereas the walls at the other places are totally flat with the rocks stuck on them.

Before I went up to the Gunks this last time, I bought some shoes, since you have to rent them there and at some of the gyms I've been going to. I managed to go to EMS when they were having a sale, and bought these:
This is the FIVE TEN's Women's "Siren" climbing shoe. I got them for about a hundred bucks. They have FIVE TENs at Chelsea Piers, and I also liked the Coyote model, but they were sold out of the Fox, which is the women's equivalent. Anyway, I tried these on as well as Sportivas but I liked the fit (and I'll be honest, the look) of these shoes better.

I also picked up this Prana chalk bag:
Mine is blue. I liked the feel of the outside of the bag and it was easier to open and close than the Black Diamond one.

A few days ago I also bought this Petzl Sama harness:
It's actually the men's model but it fit me well (and they were sold out of the women's medium).

And, finally, a carabiner to clip my chalk bag to my harness:
Mine is blue.

Good times. This entry turned out to be much longer than I intended. Happy Climbing!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm a bit ashamed to admit that Thanksgiving is more associated in my mind with gorging myself than actually giving thanks. I also have to admit that lately I've been having a hard time feeling grateful for all that I have. So I've decided to make a list of things that I am thankful for:

1. family -- They may give me a hard time about things sometimes, but they have been as supportive as they can be of my endeavors.

2. friends -- They keep me sane when i start slipping into my crazy ways and lift me up when I'm feeling down.

3. talents -- God has given me different gifts which I want to use to glorify Him -- music, art, fashion.

4. rock climbing -- I've picked up rock climbing since the fall and it has been a great distraction as well as a lens through which I can see where I am struggling in my life. I plan to do a post on this one soon.

5. career -- Although it often feels like things are down more than up, I want to give thanks for the small successes I've achieved so far.

6. food/clothing/shelter -- I'm well provided for, in ways that much of the world is not.

7. health -- I have all my limbs, no real medical issues to speak of or worry about, although I do bruise really easily -- what's up with that?

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Karl / Marc

Over the past few weeks, I've watched two fashion documentaries -- Lagerfeld Confidentiel and Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton. Both of these have been out for some time, but I only recently watched them in full.

They were both interesting to watch -- I actually watched the Marc Jacobs DVD twice. As the creative heads of Chanel and Louis Vuitton, they are obviously at the top of the game and wield enormous influence over the fashion industry. My favorite parts of the films were watching the collections came together -- the sketching, the fittings, the shows, etc.

The films are interesting also because they provide a window into the designers' lives and personalities. Karl seems somewhat cold and very confident. His design process appears very easy (he just seems to sketch things that come out of his head) and he doesn't appear to worry about whether or not the collection will be well received. Marc, on the other hand, appears more neurotic (there's a montage of him lighting up many cigarettes) and passionate about his work. Every detail is meticulously considered.

It was inspiring to watch them at work -- after all, they live the dream. They work with the best ateliers in Paris to create luxurious and beautiful garments, not to mention the fame and celebrity. One thing that struck me was how they both seemed to be going nonstop, to the point where I wondered how they kept going. Marc seemed to be working all the time, flying from Paris, to Tokyo, to New York, to London. Karl worked a lot as well, but also had time to read tons of books and shop for tons of clothes and other possessions (his apartment was filled with these things), as well as do non-Chanel related photo shoots (I believe he shoots all the Chanel ad campaigns). It made me feel like I need to work much harder, and wake up earlier... but that's for another post.

Somewhat related, I found this CNN Money old article about Marc Jacobs' partnership with Robert Duffy:

Managing Marc Jacobs

and noticed these bits of information:

The two connected after Duffy, then a 30-year-old sales manager for a fusty Seventh Avenue clothier, Reuben Thomas, saw Jacobs's graduating show at Manhattan's Parsons School of Design. They got funding from Reuben Thomas and embarked on a two-person journey through the fashion world - a bonding experience that would put each of them on a first-name basis with their strengths, weaknesses, and demons.
This, according to, happened in 1985.

Jacobs and Duffy extended their contract by ten years, and LVMH agreed to fund a major store expansion for Marc Jacobs to transform the line into a global brand. With its new resources, the Marc Jacobs operation entered the black for the first time two years ago.
The article was written in 2007, so two years ago would have been 2005. That means it took their company TWENTY YEARS to make a profit! What????

Another interesting bit:

In the fashion world, it seems, behind every successful designer there's a Robert Duffy - a right-hand man who enables and goads the artist to create a viable business. The designer Yves Saint Laurent had Pierre Bergé, who took charge and financed his company after Saint Laurent suffered a nervous breakdown in 1962. Valentino has Giancarlo Giammetti, a brusque enforcer who, after nearly 50 years, still protects the designer from the mundane details of balance sheets so that he can focus on his opulent creations.
That much I've always known; I need to find my Robert Duffy, who will make sure I wake up in the morning and get on task. Sigh.

Anyway, learning that it took MJI that long to get profitable made me seriously consider getting a full-time job as a designer for another label for the first time in a while. I definitely won't give up on Graey, but for a number of reasons it seems to make sense. Anyone hiring?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I hate cleaning my apt...

... but when I finally do, I find myself in a better mental state, ready to get things done.

Friday, November 20, 2009


The fashion industry has been buzzing about the apparent suicide of Korean model, Daul Kim, aged 20. I was struck by the news for a couple reasons. First, obviously, because she was Korean. Secondly, hers was a star that was on the rise, and for the past couple of years, she's been walking some of the hottest shows.

Finally, despite being Korean (from South Korea), she intrigued me because her outlook on life seemed much more liberal and independent than that which I associate with South Korean culture. Her candid writing on her blog was refreshing to read and she was one of the few top models about whom I felt, "I want to be friends with her."

Anyway, hearing about it reminded me of that quote -- "Don't compare what you know about yourself with what you don't know about someone else." From the outside, it seemed like she had it all -- beauty, looks, fame, success, but apparently she was quite unhappy.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Learning to Sell

It's been a while since I've done one of my what I'm now calling, "becoming a designer" posts. So I continue from where I last left off a few months ago.

Once the fall knits were produced, I shipped them to a couple of boutiques (including KrisTees in Astoria and Item in the Upper East Side) who had agreed to carry them on consignment. For those of you who don't know, consignment is when the designer basically bears all the risk. As opposed to the traditional arrangement where the buyer buys an order of a selection of pieces, usually paid on delivery or on 30-day terms, on consignment, the designer ships pieces to the buyer and is only paid for the ones that sell. The ones that don't are returned to the designer.

There are obvious cons to this arrangement -- since the designer is bearing all the risk, there is less incentive for the buyer to sell, and if pieces don't sell, the designer is left with inventory. However, consignment arrangements are one way a designer can convince a hesitant buyer to give the line a try in the store. The stores that carried my pieces were able to move the pieces. It was interesting to see which items sold better than others.

I also checked out the Young Designer's Market in NoLiTa and managed to sell items there. I only went a few times, but felt that my pieces weren't necessarily the best fit.

Meanwhile, I still had my online site up, where I occasionally sold pieces from time to time.