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Ann Yee

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How a Designer Really Prepares for New York Fashion Week

Posted: 01/31/2013 4:59 pm

I woke up this morning in a daze, hitting the snooze button at least three times. Fashion week was less than two weeks away and reality was finally starting to sink in.

I made my usual three-cup French-pressed Stumptown coffee (Balthazar blend) and dashed out the door to my PR offices, headphones on and The Cure's "Close to Me" on repeat.

It was hair and makeup test day, one of my favorite parts of fashion week prep. MAC and AVEDA were on board to help transform my girls, so I had no doubt the models were going to look fantastic. My friend Michelle, a DJ/model/artist, was nice enough to take time out of her crazy schedule to be the test subject. As expected, the test went amazingly and Michelle fit my vision perfectly: textured Grace Coddington-inspired hair and dark, yet alluring makeup. I was officially excited.

After the test, I headed uptown to the Garment Center to visit my sample maker. I had given them a few of the new styles to fix and was hoping they'd be ready for pick up. Of course, nothing was finished, but they offered me a pastry and some tea so I was fine to wait another 20 minutes. I realized I had never grabbed lunch so this was perfect.

The great thing about the factory is they always have a delicious surprise treat to share; sweet one day, congee the next, peanuts on another. I really love going there because it feels like a family. They're always trying to feed you.

Once I finished my snack, the garments were good to go. I was relieved because the collection was officially 100 percent ready -- no more revisions were needed -- until model casting anyway.

I was scheduled for an interview back at THINK PR offices that afternoon with the social media team from Steve Madden. They were doing a special video project for their online magazine centering around five NYC creatives and their road to fashion week. It was a "day in the life" sort of story and they wanted to shadow me while I prepped for fashion week.

I got to the office with my fifth cup of coffee in hand, prepared to answer any questions they shot at me. It went smoothly and was actually a very spontaneous and fun interview that ended with me tap dancing in front of the camera (don't ask). It was definitely a refreshing change of pace from the normal interviews I'm used to. Sometimes the camera can be so nerve-racking.

The day had flown by and I was looking forward to meeting some friends in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for some yummy Mexican nosh at Syndicato. It's always great to see my friends and have some delicious food in the middle of all the fashion week craziness. We indulged in chilaquiles, enchiladas and guacamole with chips.

I walked home after dinner and thought about everything else I wanted to get done before going to bed. It was an ambitious list, but I was going to give it a go. I started working on brainstorming staging ideas for the show and I began doing some of the less enjoyable tasks like expense reports and production charts.

On to coffee number six.

It had been a long but productive day. I was starting to feel tired, but it was only 11 p.m. My usual bedtime is 3 a.m., so I still had a few hours I could put in.

I remembered that I told my family I'd Skype with them, so I decided it would be a nice distraction. I gave them the update on everything. Mom asked if I had eaten and I could see my dad falling asleep in the background. Classic. I ended the Skype session knowing I'd see my parents and my brother in a few days. I couldn't wait to show them everything. They are my biggest supporters and I'm grateful for that.

At this point, I was so tired; I passed out on my laptop and woke up at 4:30 a.m., not for the first time. I think my Mexican dinner had sent me into a food coma. I opted to keep sleeping and woke up at 8 a.m. to start another jam-packed day of caffeine fixes, factory chasing and interviews.

 
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