"Have you ever been to New York City?"
As someone who's pursuing a degree in Fashion Design, I get asked that question a lot. It's a question that has always been hard for me to answer though.
You see, my first trip that I ever took to NYC was two years ago during my senior year of high school. My mom was traveling with me and right as we were boarding the plane, she received a call saying that my older brother Daniel had suddenly passed away. Due to the shock of bereavement, we had to turn back and cancel everything.
I’d never known how to respond in a simple way, so whenever I've been asked about New York City it's always caught me off guard, and I usually end up tongue tied and unsure what to say.
Well about a month ago in mid December, I had been given an incredible opportunity to go to New York. Several gracious people (words will not be able to express what their generous act of kindness has meant to me) came together and gave me the chance to go to New York.
I was unsure how I would feel when I was packing the day before. In fact, I was incredibly nervous and majorly freaking out. A conversation with my very sweet roommate went something like this (please read with hysterical crying), "What if it's not as amazing as everyone makes it out to be?! What if I don't like the city? What if it's like the first trip, and some life altering devastating event happens right before?!"
Through the grace of God, none of that happened though. I woke up at 5am for my flight, and I got on the plane and received no devastating phone call. Surprisingly, I felt calm and grew more and more excited as the plane rose and dipped from the clouds, until I heard a mono toned plane attendant say over the intercom, "You have arrived at JFK airport, please be careful while opening the overhead bins. Thank you and I hope that you have enjoyed your flight."
I made it. I was in New. York. City.
I traveled with a designer who was one of the kind people who helped me on my trip. She had arrived into JFK a little after me, and we took a cab into the city together. During the ride she instructed me on how to use the subways, and which transportation apps I should download. About 10 minutes into the cab ride she said, "Look, there's the city!" I looked out my window and there it was - the sky line - glowing with all the hopeful promises that I've held dear to my heart for many years.
And I LOVED NEW YORK!
The hustle and bustle is somehow calming to me. Everyone is doing something, going somewhere, and at all hours of the day and night. I feel like someone could live in the city their whole life and still not see everything. And that excites me.
I stayed with an incredibly inspiring family who didn't know me, but let me stay in their home and made me feel so welcomed. I hope to have an inviting and hospitable home like theirs one day.
Each morning I woke up with a schedule planning each hour of the day. I tried to meet with as many connections as I could while I was there. I wanted to make each day count. I met with designers, artists, and people in the industry who could offer a bit of wisdom and knowledge. They helped answer the many questions that I had at this stage of my life.
I went to fabric stores, and my heart felt like I had found home: floors and floors of silk, wool, jersey, leather - and it wasn't all polyester! I have never seen so much fabric in my life. AND OH MY GOODNESS, DID YOU KNOW THEY HAVE ENTIRE STORES IN NYC THAT SELL ONLY ZIPPERS?! ZIPPERS! I felt like a 13-year-old at a One Direction concert. The fabric stores understood me. It was like I found my record shop that all the indie, 90s kids went to and felt accepted.
I felt like an imposter walking around Barneys, but it was something that had to be done. I've see the runway looks from photos on Style.com, but to see them in person was incomparable. I touched and inspected the quality of the garments and knew that it was good work - craftsmanship at it's finest - and that level is what I long for in garment construction. I walked out of that big department store, wanting my sewing machine so that I could make samples of the different design techniques that I had seen. Instead, I drew what details I could from memory, and saved the sewing till I was home near a machine.
I was there for six days and afterwards I realized that my heart was all in. This trip brought so much healing to me on a lot of different levels. It was a fresh start. If anyone asks in the future if I've ever been to New York, I can say "Yes!" It's no longer a city that's associated with only sadness and a lost opportunity. It's now a place of that holds memories of God's goodness, people's kindness, and open doors. The fear that I had while packing the day before is completely gone.
Additionally, while I was in NY, I interviewed and received an internship position for this upcoming summer with a luxury women’s wear designer. I’ll be working in their pattern drafting department and I am beyond excited!
Thank you to everyone who's been so kind to keep up and follow my journey of sewing and life the past few years; it's meant so much to me. I’m excited about this new year and the many unplanned possibilities that are available ahead! I'm ready for New York City now. It’s a fresh start, and I'm so grateful.