Last month, I travelled to New York City, and while this was my fourth trip, it was wildly different than any I had taken before.
This trip was with my Media and Journalism Experiential Marketing class, where I’ve been learning about the new wave of advertising that gives customers an experience instead of just a photo of a celebrity with a product. We’ve been discussing what makes someone want to buy a plain white tee for hundreds of dollars just to have the brand name, and what experiences make a customer fall in love with a brand.
We flew out of RDU on Thursday to land in LaGuardia and make our way to our hotel. We stayed in a fashion-themed hotel called the Gregory on 35th street! From there, we set out for Chelsea Market, and it was actually both sunnier and hotter in New York than it was in North Carolina that week. By the time we reached the market, all of us had shed our jackets.
Chelsea Market was filled with some wonderful surprises, from natural beauty products and pop art, to some cute mini donuts and a yummy apple and brie crêpe. Halloween décor was in full swing, with gory dummies and fake spider webs hanging everywhere.
When we headed back to our hotel, we took the High Line, which used to be old railroad tracks, but is now overgrown with wildflowers and other plants. The rest of our night consisted of a networking event with UNC alumni living in the city and a dinner. That night, and early into the next morning, I walked around Times Square with some friends and popped in the Disney store and Forever 21.
Friday began with a trip to ABC Carpet and Home to get an idea of the kinds of décor and store windows we liked, which will play into our project for the second half of the semester. We then drove to the MOMA for their ‘Is Fashion Modern’ exhibit; This showed different clothing and accessories and had histories, evolution, and design information on past and futuristic pieces.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was our visit to Spring Studios, a company that runs campaigns and creates advertisements for dozens of different brands, from Marc Jacobs to Michael Kors. My friend Alexandra interned there this past summer, and worked on a whole campaign! We talked with the Creative Executive and watched campaigns, discussed aspects of advertising, and walked around the beautiful rooftop.
We toured an old hotel that had this Edgar Allen Poe vibe, and the best Shirley Temple I’ve ever had, before finishing off Friday with another dinner and a comedy show!
On Saturday morning, we headed to the Cartier mansion on Fifth Avenue, which is a museum-like exhibit featuring old, famous pieces from the Cartier jewelry collection. The mansion used to be owned by the Vanderbilt family, but they sold it to Pierre Cartier for $100 and a pearl necklace! (Both of these would have different value at the time, but still.)
There were necklaces worn by Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly, and they even had jewelers on site making the pieces in front of us! From the building’s lush red velvet, jaguar motifs, and Hollywood royalty, we definitely took away a lot of ideas that will help our project.
We glimpsed some more window displays for further inspiration on our way to Bergdorf Goodman’s. Let me tell you, I understand how Blair Waldorf spends all day inside there. We actually got lost for a few minutes. My roommate for the weekend, Brooke, our friend Chrissy and I took pictures with the dresses we loved but couldn’t buy, and this earned us a serious stink-eye from an employee.
I finished my New York trip with the Cooper Hewitt design museum, a walk through Central Park, and hopping on the subway to go back to the hotel. We ended up getting to the airport about 20 minutes before our plane started boarding, but thankfully the security line was very short, and we made it back to UNC with no problems.
This whole experience really got me thinking. I have always had this deep-set belief that I have the ability to do something great with my life. I want to work in this huge industry (fashion), and my greatest dream is to become a published author.
But this trip, and seeing how many people’s lives revolve around nothing but fashion, kind of broke my heart. I asked myself, if none of what I want for my life happens, will I be ok with it? If I never make it out of North Carolina, if I never end up making all that money to pay off student loans and redo our family’s kitchen, if I never even publish one book, will I be okay? I think the answer is yes.
There is so much more to life than clothing, and models, and whose name is on which issue of Vogue. There is so much more meaning in life than having meltdowns over the fact that Condé Nast no longer has an internship program (apparently, this was a real thing).
There is a God who is the ultimate provider, joy-giver, and sustainer, and He is passionately fighting for you. Even when life sucks and hands you a situation you don’t think you would ever be able to handle, which has been me and my closest friends’ lives over the past few weeks, God is the peace, reassurance, and calm that you need.
It doesn’t mean that you will never have another struggle. It doesn’t mean that this awful time is God’s fault. All it means is that He is there, and He is faithful. And no matter how your life turns out, you can know that it will be okay.
I am a September baby, which may be the root of my love for fall. I love dark chocolate, popcorn, and I do actually like brussel sprouts. I'm the kind of person that listens to a Christmas song in September. (But only one. I don't want to ruin the ~magic~).