• SFI Blog Team

Interview With Master of Motivation and Style: Sarah Slutsky


By: Julia Bond and Niyah Simone





On November 16th, stylist Sarah Slutsky sat down with students Julia and Niyah to discuss her experience at DAAP and her career after graduation. Below is a transcript interview of their conversation.


SS: SARAH SLUTSKY


JB: JULIA BOND


NS: NIYAH SIMONE


JB: FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR COMING OUT. YOUR TALK WAS REALLY GREAT, AND ANSWERED SO MANY OF THE QUESTIONS WE HAD ORIGINALLY! NOW, I’M HOPING TO EXPAND ON THOSE QUESTIONS. MY FIRST QUESTION IS: HOW CAN YOU AS A STYLIST PARTICIPATE IN MAKING FASHION MORE SUSTAINABLE? YOU KIND OF TALKED ABOUT THIS IN YOUR LECTURE IN TERMS OF WHO YOU DECIDE TO WORK WITH AND HOW IT ALIGNS WITH YOUR VALUES, BUT COULD YOU EXPAND ON IT FOR OUR READERS?


SS: YEAH, I THINK ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS AS A STYLIST-BECAUSE WE HAVE ACCESS TO SO MANY DIFFERENT AREAS OF THE INDUSTRY- IS JUST TO HAVE THE CONVERSATIONS. I STARTED FEELING THAT SUSTAINABILITY WAS AN IMPORTANT PART OF MY CLIENTS’ PERSPECTIVES. I DON’T THINK I TALKED ENOUGH (IN THE LECTURE) ABOUT MY CHILDHOOD AND HOW THAT KIND OF LEAD ME TO SUSTAINABILITY AS WELL.

SUSTAINABILITY HAS ALWAYS BEEN IN THE BACKGROUND OF MY MIND BECAUSE OF THE WAY I WAS RAISED. I TAKE IT FOR GRANTED IN THE SENSE- WE DIDN’T JUST BUY NEW THINGS BECAUSE WE WANTED THEM, AND WE DIDN’T JUST THROW THINGS AWAY BECAUSE WE WERE SICK OF THEM. MY FAMILY RECYCLED, MY FAMILY WAS VERY METICULOUS ABOUT WHAT THINGS WE NEEDED VERSUS WHAT THINGS WE WANTED. BUT I THINK WHEN I FIRST STARTED TALKING ABOUT THIS WITH THE GENERAL COMMUNITY, THERE WAS THIS SENSE OF HESITATION-LIKE MAYBE WE WERE LOOKING TO, YOU KNOW, EXPOSE A CERTAIN PART OF THE INDUSTRY THAT MAYBE NEEDS TO DO A LITTLE BIT OF A SELF CHECK. BUT THAT REALLY WASN’T THE POINT. THE POINT WAS TO LEARN AND EDUCATE.

FOR ME, I FEEL THAT THE STANDARDS THAT ARE CURRENTLY IN PLACE FOR MANUFACTURING ARE VERY HARD TO CHANGE UNLESS A COLLECTIVE GROUP DECIDES TOGETHER THAT THIS IS WHAT WE DEMAND OF OUR INDUSTRY-AND AS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ADOPT SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES, THEY ACTUALLY BECOME MORE AFFORDABLE. RIGHT NOW, IT DOES FEEL VERY LUXURIOUS TO BE ABLE TO WORK WITH CERTAIN TYPES OF FACTORIES OR CERTAIN MATERIALS OR TO EXPECT THAT THERE’S GOING TO BE A COST ATTRIBUTED WITH PAYING ALL OF THE EMPLOYEES FAIRLY, BUT AS WE RID OURSELVES OF THIS BIDDING SYSTEM THAT HAPPENS IN FACTORIES, WE CAN ALL NEGOTIATE FOR THE LOWEST RATE, AND WE START REALIZING THAT THE PROCESS REQUIRES HIGHER COST.


WE CAN START PUTTING SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES IN PLACE, BUT IT REALLY REQUIRES A COLLECTION OF DESIGNERS, BRANDS, AND STYLISTS TO BE EXPOSING THESE THINGS TO THE PUBLIC. I THINK IN SOME OF MY MORE PESSIMISTIC INTERVIEWS I’VE READ THAT GOVERNMENT REGULATION IS REALLY THE ONLY WAY I SEE A SOLUTION COMING INTO PLACE BECAUSE IT REQUIRES A REALLY BIG GROUP OF PEOPLE COMING TOGETHER AND MAKING THIS CHOICE AND WHEN IT’S A SEEMINGLY EXPENSIVE CHOICE, IT’S HARD TO MAKE THAT CHOICE. SO I QUESTION HOW TO MAKE THE INDUSTRY MORE SUSTAINABLE AS A STYLIST.


I THINK RIGHT NOW WE ARE AT THIS PLACE WHERE THE CONVERSATION IS MOST IMPORTANT AND ATTEMPTS TO SLOW DOWN THE CYCLE OF FASHION ARE MORE IMPORTANT TOO. PUBLICLY SAYING AND USING INFLUENCE TO SAY ‘I BOUGHT THIS, I’M WEARING IT, I’M WEARING IT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN,’ AND PUTTING A STOP TO THE INSTAGRAM CYCLE OF ‘HERE’S THE OUTFIT I’M WEARING TODAY’, ‘HERE’S THE OOTD’ AND INSTEAD BEING LIKE- ‘HERE’S THE PIECE I’M WEARING AGAIN, AND THAT I’M CHERISHING AND HERE’S A NEW WAY TO WEAR IT. I THINK THAT IS A REALLY INTERESTING APPROACH.


PUBLICLY SAYING AND USING INFLUENCE TO SAY ‘I BOUGHT THIS, I’M WEARING IT, I’M WEARING IT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN,’ AND PUTTING A STOP TO THE INSTAGRAM CYCLE OF ‘HERE’S THE OUTFIT I’M WEARING TODAY’, ‘HERE’S THE OOTD’ AND INSTEAD BEING LIKE- ‘HERE’S THE PIECE I’M WEARING AGAIN, AND THAT I’M CHERISHING AND HERE’S A NEW WAY TO WEAR IT.

JB: YEAH KIND OF FLIPPING THE OOTD TO ‘THE PIECE OF THE MONTH’ (POTM?)


SS: LIKE… #OOTD IS NOT A HEALTHY HASHTAG FOR ANYONE. RIGHT? IT COULD BE LIKE THE INVESTMENT PIECE OF THE YEAR (IPOTY?). YOU KNOW? HERE’S WHAT I’VE SAVED FOR AND PURCHASED, AND NOW OWN AND LOVE.


JB + NS: YEAH!


SS: I’M GONNA SNEEZE.


JB: YOUR’E ALLOWED!


SS: *SNEEZES* EXCUSE ME!


NS: *MOVING ON* I’M CURIOUS TO KNOW-WHAT ARE SOME WAYS IN WHICH YOU WORK WITH YOUR CLIENTS AND HAVE THOSE SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES? IS IT WORKING WITH DESIGNERS THAT HAVE THAT SUSTAINABILITY ELEMENT, OR IS IT ABOUT PUTTING THE SAME GARMENTS ON A CLIENT OVER AND OVER?


SS: EVERY CLIENT IS DIFFERENT. I DON’T TRY TO TREAT ANY OF MY CLIENTS THE SAME.


I THINK REALLY IN THE BEGINNING, CONVERSATIONS ABOUT GOALS ARE MOST IMPORTANT. ALSO, AS A STYLIST TO OFFER OPPORTUNITIES TO DO CERTAIN THINGS AND MAKE CERTAIN CHOICES. BUT YOU KNOW THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT ISSUES IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY, AND NOT EVERYONE HAS THE SAME PASSION POINT.


SO FOR ME, PERSONALLY, I TRY TO RUN AN OFFICE THAT IS PROMOTING SUSTAINABILITY FROM A FUNDAMENTAL LEVEL - ‘WE RECYCLE HERE’ ‘WE DON’T HAVE PLASTIC CUPS HERE’ YA KNOW? THAT TO ME IS AN OBVIOUS SOLUTION. WHEN I BRING IN CLOTHES, I TRY TO LET PEOPLE KNOW ‘THIS DESIGNER IS DOING THIS WELL’ OR ‘THIS DESIGNER IS RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT THIS ISSUE’ AND I LIKE TO LET MY CLIENTS MAKE THEIR CHOICES. I LIKE TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH MY CLIENTS ABOUT WHAT WE CAN BE CELEBRATING AND WHAT WE CAN BE PROMOTING. IT’S IMPORTANT FOR ME TO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING OF ANYONE, AND THEN TO BE OPEN TO HAVING DIFFERENT CONVERSATIONS.


JB: YOU MENTIONED YOUR TEAM, AND ONE OF THE QUESTIONS THAT POPPED INTO MY HEAD WHEN YOU WERE TALKING, AND MAYBE THIS IS JUST ME BEING NAIVE, BUT OF COURSE A STYLIST NEEDS A TEAM!


LIKE… THAT SOUNDS OBVIOUS NOW THAT I SAY IT OUT LOUD.


BUT HOW DID YOU GO FROM GRADUATING COLLEGE TO MANAGING PEOPLE, AND HAVING A TEAM THAT YOU NURTURE?


SS: WELL MY FIRST JOB AFTER GRADUATING WAS AT VOGUE, WHERE I SAT BETWEEN THE EDITORIAL AND MARKET DEPARTMENTS, AND COORDINATED ALL OF THE EFFORTS JOINTLY. IT WAS AN AMAZING OPPORTUNITY BECAUSE I WOULD GET TO BE ON SET ONE DAY AND THEN I WOULD GET TO DO MARKET RESEARCH THE NEXT DAY. A PART OF THAT JOB WAS RUNNING THE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM. SO THERE I WAS A NEWLY GRADUATED PERSON-HIRING INTERNS. AND THAT WAS ON ONE HAND, INCREDIBLY INSPIRING AND ALSO PUSHED ME TO STAY PASSIONATE. WHEN YOU START A JOB (AND ARE ENTRY LEVEL) AND YOU’RE DOING A LOT OF ADMINISTRATIVE TASKS, AND YOUR HOURS ARE LONG IT’S REALLY EASY TO THINK THAT IT’S NOT ALWAYS AS CREATIVE AS YOU WANT- BUT YOU HAVE THE PEOPLE THAT WERE JUST LIKE YOU YESTERDAY COMING IN WITH THE ENERGY AND EXCITEMENT. SO I WAS FORCED TO THINK ‘HOW DO I KEEP THIS EXCITING AND EDUCATIONAL FOR THE PEOPLE THAT ARE COMING IN?’ WHICH REMINDED ME CONSTANTLY ABOUT HOW MUCH THERE IS TO SEE AND LEARN AND KNOW AND GROW- AND THERE STILL IS.


I’M ALMOST…WELL NOT REALLY 10 YEARS OUT OF SCHOOL YET, BUT 8 YEARS OUT OF SCHOOL AND I CERTAINLY HAVE MANY MORE DECADES OF LEARNING TO DO. I THINK BEING ABLE TO DELEGATE TASKS AND KNOWING HOW TO BUILD AN ORDER OF OPERATIONS JUST KIND OF CAME NATURALLY FROM DAAP. TO THEN BEING AN EDITORIAL ASSISTANT AT VOGUE WHERE YOU HAVE TO BE EXTREMELY ORGANIZED AND WHERE YOU LEARN HOW TO HAVE THE SUPPORT AROUND YOU TO ACHIEVE A COMMON GOAL- IT’S ESSENTIAL THAT YOU FIGURE THAT OUT. SO WHEN I STARTED STYLING, I WAS ALSO STARTING A TECHNOLOGY COMPANY. I WAS WORKING A FULL TIME JOB, AND THEN ALSO TRYING TO STYLE ON WEEKENDS AND AFTER HOURS AND ON OFF DAYS.


I WAS ALONE IN THE BEGINNING AND QUICKLY REALIZED IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE. I ALSO ASSISTED A LOT OF PEOPLE, BUT THE SHEER NUMBER OF ITEMS COMING IN AND OUT FOR ONE LOOK OR FOR ONE SHOOT-IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR ONE PERSON TO HANDLE ALL THOSE LOGISTICS AND STILL THINK ABOUT THE WHOLE PROCESS, AND TO KEEP UP WITH CONTACTS, AND BUILD A BUSINESS AND PAY BILLS. YOU NEED THE SUPPORT!


JB: THE BILLS PART…


SS: YEAH! I THINK IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR ASSISTANTS TO REALIZE- AND OF COURSE NOT ALL BOSSES, EMPLOYERS OR PEOPLE ARE CREATED THE SAME AND HAVE THE SAME AGENDAS, BUT FOR ME- I NEED TO HAVE A STRONG TEAM IN THE OFFICE HANDLING THE DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS SO THAT I CAN BE OUT IN THE WORLD, MEETING POTENTIAL CLIENTS, DRUMMING UP BUSINESS, MEETING WITH MY ACCOUNTANT, AND MEETING WITH MY AGENT. IF I HAVE TO BE IN THE OFFICE ALL DAY LONG MANAGING THE LOGISTICS OF THE REQUEST, I CAN’T GROW A BUSINESS. WHEN YOU SEE A DISGRUNTLED ASSISTANT LIKE ‘WHERE IS MY BOSS? I HAVEN’T SEEN THEM AND IT’S ALREADY NOON,’... I PROMISE YOU THEY ARE NOT AT THE SPA... I’M RUNNING AROUND TOWN HAVING MEETINGS, LEARNING ABOUT NEW BRANDS, AND KEEPING THE SHIP SAILING.


YOU HAVE TO TRUST THOSE PEOPLE ON YOUR TEAM TOO. TRULY! I’M HERE, IT’S FRIDAY, AND WORK IS NOT CLOSED. AND I HAVE AN ASSISTANT AND MY LOVELY INTERNS WHO ARE THERE MAKING SURE EVERYTHING WE NEED DONE HAPPENS. IT ALSO HELPS THAT NEXT WEEK IS THANKSGIVING.


JB: YOU MENTIONED THE TECH STARTUP YOU WORKED FOR. COULD YOU TALK ABOUT THAT A LITTLE BIT MORE?


SS: IT WAS A TOUCHABLE DIGITAL PLATFORM. IT STILL EXISTS-IT’S CALLED CINEMATIQUE. IT WAS AWESOME. I REALLY LOVED IT AND I THINK IT WAS ALSO A MASTER CLASS IN NETWORKING, STARTING A BUSINESS, BRANDING, AND HOW TO STAY AWAKE FOR 48 HOURS STRAIGHT…LIKE… ALL THAT STUFF.


JB: YOU DIDN’T GET THAT FROM DAAP?!


SS: THE THING IS… IT’S DIFFERENT, YA KNOW? WE’RE TIRED, WE’RE WORKING HARD, BUT, IF YOU FEEL THAT YOU’RE PERSONAL SUCCESS IS DEPENDENT ON A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS, AND YOU ARE THE OWNER AND OPERATOR OF THAT BUSINESS-THERE’S NOT REALLY ANY TIME OFF. YOU WALK DOWN THE STREET AND YOU ARE YOUR BRAND. SO WHO YOU MEET AND WHO YOU ENCOUNTER, MIGHT BE AN OPPORTUNITY AROUND THE CORNER. I REMEMBER MY ROOMMATES USED TO MAKE FUN OF ME BECAUSE I REALLY TOOK TIME TO GO OUT INTO THE WORLD EACH DAY IN THE WAY I’D WANT TO BE SEEN. AND I USED TO JOKE; “YOU NEVER KNOW, I MIGHT RUN INTO ANNA WINTOUR,” AND THAT WAS ALWAYS MY JOKE. AND NEXT THING YOU KNOW I’M AT VOGUE.


I REMEMBER MY ROOMMATES USED TO MAKE FUN OF ME BECAUSE I REALLY TOOK TIME TO GO OUT INTO THE WORLD EACH DAY IN THE WAY I’D WANT TO BE SEEN. AND I USED TO JOKE; “YOU NEVER KNOW, I MIGHT RUN INTO ANNA WINTOUR,” AND THAT WAS ALWAYS MY JOKE. AND NEXT THING YOU KNOW I’M AT VOGUE.

JB: YOU DEFINITELY SPOKE THAT INTO EXISTENCE! HA!


SS: I THINK THAT IS PART OF THE MINDSET-AND I’M TRYING TO SAY THIS WITH CAUTION BECAUSE I DON’T BELIEVE THAT THE ONLY WAY TO BE A SUCCESSFUL PERSON IS TO BE A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS PERSON. I THINK THERE IS SUCCESS FOUND IN BUILDING A FAMILY, BEING AN AMAZING FRIEND, BEING A VOICE OF REASON-WHATEVER IT MAY BE, WE ALL HAVE OUR DIFFERENT DEFINITIONS OF SUCCESS. SO IF YOUR VERSION OF SUCCESS DEPENDS ON BEING SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR CHOSEN CRAFT, AND THAT CRAFT IS AN ART FORM-IT’S VERY HARD TO SEPARATE YOUR FREE TIME INTO WORK TIME. IT ALL KIND OF BLENDS TOGETHER.

JB: I FEEL LIKE THAT’S TRUE TOO BECAUSE WHEN YOU REPRESENT THAT THING, I FEEL LIKE THERE ISN’T WORK LIFE BALANCE, BUT MORE WORK LIFE BLEND.


SS: RIGHT, AND I THINK THAT IS VERY SPECIFIC FOR A LIFE IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY. I SEE A LOT OF OVERLAP BECAUSE WE WEAR OUR CRAFT TOO, YA KNOW? I HAVE A HARD TIME WITH THE QUESTION OF ‘WHAT IS MY PERSONAL STYLE?’ OR ‘WHAT IS MY PERSONAL BRAND?’ AS A STYLIST YOU OFTEN SEE THEM RESORT TO THE ALL BLACK UNIFORM, OR JEANS AND A T-SHIRT BECAUSE I’M LOOKING AT FASHION THAT EXISTS SIX MONTHS (IN THE FUTURE) ALL THE TIME. WHAT DO I FEEL EXPRESSES ME NOW, WHEN I’M WORKING WITH IT FOR SOMEONE ELSE NOW AND GETTING THE SATISFACTION OF USING THESE TOOLS AND SEEING THEM OUT IN THE WORLD- I’M THINKING ABOUT MYSELF LAST. BUT YOU DO HAVE TO FLIP THAT HAT SOMETIMES AND YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THE WORLD IS LOOKING AT YOU TOO.


JB: NIYAH YOU STYLE TOO, DO YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY?


NS: YUP! EVEN WHEN YOU’RE ON SET, YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT IF YOU’RE WORKING WITH A NEW PERSON ESPECIALLY, YOU WANT TO TAKE CARE THAT THEY KNOW THAT YOU KNOW HOW TO STYLE. BUT AT THE SAME TIME YOU WANT TO BE COMFORTABLE ENOUGH TOO…


SS: YOU CAN’T STYLE A SHOOT IN HEELS. YOU’RE STANDING ON YOUR FEET ALL DAY LONG AS A STYLIST: IN FITTINGS, BENDING UP AND DOWN ON SET, YOU’RE RUNNING AROUND AND DOING WHATEVER-AND BY THE WAY TO GET TO SET YOU JUST CARRIED AROUND 5 TRUNKS THAT WEIGH MORE THAN YOU-SO YOU CAN’T.


BUT IS THE EXPECTATION TO HAVE A CERTAIN VIBE ABOUT YOU? YEAH IT’S THERE, AND HONESTLY IF I DIDN’T LOVE THAT AND FEEL CLOSELY RELATED TO THAT, I DON’T THINK THAT I WOULD HAVE PICKED THIS PROFESSION. I CAN’T FALL ASLEEP UNTIL I KNOW WHAT I’M WEARING THE NEXT DAY. I SEE MYSELF TRANSPORTING INTO THESE CHARACTERS, OR DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF MYSELF, AND I LOVE IT. MY WARDROBE IS A DISASTER BECAUSE IN MY HEAD I’M LIKE: “I WANT THIS DOWNTOWN VIBE, STAPLES, EDGY” BUT THEN I SEE A BEAUTIFUL, FLOWY, FLORAL, ROMANTIC DRESS AND I’M LIKE “BUT I LOVE THAT TOO!” AND THOSE ARE TWO REALLY DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF MYSELF. THEN, I LIVED IN BROOKLYN FOR A WHILE SO IT WAS THE QUIRKY THING FOR A MINUTE. BUT THAT ALSO MAKES YOU A SUCCESSFUL CREATIVE PERSON IF YOU CAN REMOVE WHAT YOU THINK IS YOU, AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND DIFFERENT POINTS OF YOU. I KNOW THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS I DON’T KNOW. I RELY ON MY CLIENTS FOR THAT TOO. TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE OR WHO INSPIRES YOU, OR WHO YOU’RE LOOKING AT, I WANT TO KNOW. IT’S AN EXCHANGE.


I CAN’T FALL ASLEEP UNTIL I KNOW WHAT I’M WEARING THE NEXT DAY. I SEE MYSELF TRANSPORTING INTO THESE CHARACTERS, OR DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF MYSELF, AND I LOVE IT. MY WARDROBE IS A DISASTER BECAUSE IN MY HEAD I’M LIKE: “I WANT THIS DOWNTOWN VIBE, STAPLES, EDGY” BUT THEN I SEE A BEAUTIFUL, FLOWY, FLORAL, ROMANTIC DRESS AND I’M LIKE “BUT I LOVE THAT TOO!” AND THOSE ARE TWO REALLY DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF MYSELF. THEN, I LIVED IN BROOKLYN FOR A WHILE SO IT WAS THE QUIRKY THING FOR A MINUTE.

NS: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR JOB?


SS: I MEAN, I LOVE MY JOB. HONESTLY, I’M LIKE…TIRED A LOT, BUT I THINK THAT’S BECAUSE I LOVE MY JOB SO MUCH. I JUST WANT TO DO MY JOB, AND I’M NOT VERY GOOD AT TURNING DOWN PROJECTS, BECAUSE I REALLY WANT TO DO THEM ALL. SO I’LL SACRIFICE SLEEP AND DINNER OUT WITH FRIENDS…WHICH…I LOVE MY FRIENDS SO MUCH. THEY FULLY SUPPORT ME AND I’M SO LUCKY. BUT, IF I’M WITH A VIP AND SEEING THEM ON THE RED CARPET, AND FEELING THAT THEY ARE DOING THEIR JOB TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY, AND HAPPY AND CONFIDENT-LIKE THAT FEELS SO GOOD. AND I’M SO HAPPY TO BE ABLE TO SUPPORT THAT PERSON. IF I’M ON A PHOTOSHOOT, AND WE’RE CREATING BEAUTIFUL IMAGES THAT WILL LAST-THAT FEELS GOOD. WHEN MY ASSISTANTS ARE COMING INTO THEIR OWN AND ARE EXCITED AND INSPIRED-THAT FEELS GOOD.

…GOING ON VACATION…THAT FEELS GOOD.


JB: TAKING BREAKS DOES FEELS GOOD!


SS: YA KNOW? BUT IT TRULY IS A LIFESTYLE AND I THINK THAT I PROBABLY NINE TIMES OUT OF TEN CHOOSE TO GO OUT WITH MY FRIENDS AT THE END OF THE NIGHT, AS OPPOSED TO GOING TO A FASHION EVENT. AND I THINK THAT IS ALSO WHY I LOVE WHAT I DO SO MUCH, IS BECAUSE I DO HAVE AMAZING SEPARATION WHEN I WANT IT AS WELL.

NS: WOULD YOU SAY THAT THE MOST DIFFICULT THING IS THE FATIGUE? OR SOMETHING ELSE?


SS: FOR ME THE MOST DIFFICULT THING IS THAT I LOVE THE PEOPLE I WORK WITH, AND THEY’RE NOT ALWAYS GOING TO BE THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH. TRANSITIONS ARE ALWAYS HARD FOR ME. YOU WORK WITH A CLIENT FOR A REALLY LONG TIME, AND AS TIME GOES ON, PEOPLE NEED TO TRY NEW THINGS, THEY WANT TO DO NEW THINGS. THAT WAS A LEARNING CURVE FOR ME. SEASONS CHANGE, TIMES CHANGE. ONE THING SOMEBODY SAID TO ME LAST YEAR WAS THAT YOU’LL HAVE BEAUTIFUL RELATIONSHIP AND GROWTH WITH CLIENTS, AND WHEN IT’S TIME FOR THEM TO GO TO THE NEXT THING, THEY WILL PROVIDE BEAUTIFUL GROWTH AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SOMEONE NEW, AND YOU JUST MADE SPACE FOR THE NEXT LEARNING EXPERIENCE. SO I’M LEARNING THAT CHANGE IS MAKING SPACE FOR NEW. THAT HAS BEEN ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS FOR ME TO LEARN. FOR THE FATIGUE-THERE’S COFFEE.


JB AND NS: THAT’S A MOOD.


SS: TRULY! I’LL NEVER FORGET MY FIRST INTERNSHIP AT ABERCROMBIE-I WAS FALLING ASLEEP AT MY DESK. I WAS SO EMBARRASSED! BUT I HAD NEVER USED MY BRAIN LIKE THAT BEFORE-YOU’RE SOLVING PROBLEMS, YOU’RE THINKING IT THROUGH, YOU’RE EYE IS TURNED ON-LIKE YOUR ARE TRULY, TRULY, THINKING IN A WAY THAT IS NEW, AND I WAS EXHAUSTED. I REMEMBER SHE WAS LIKE “SARAH… YOU KNOW, IN THE CAFETERIA…THERE IS THIS BROWN LIQUID…” AND I HAD NEVER DRANK COFFEE BEFORE THAT EXPERIENCE, AND I LOVE COFFEE NOW. I THINK THAT THERE ARE ONE OR TWO TIMES A YEAR WHERE I REALLY DO NEED TO REST, AND I THINK THAT HAPPENS TO A LOT OF PEOPLE.


ALSO, I’M NOT THE PARTY GIRL, I’M NOT GOING TO ALL THE DINNERS, OR LATE NIGHT THINGS. I’M MORE OFTEN OR NOT WORKING ON MY COUCH UNTIL 1AM THAN I AM AT A PARTY TILL 1AM. I THINK I’M ALSO INCREDIBLY DETERMINED TO BE A PERFECTIONIST AND TO BE THE BEST AT MY CRAFT, AND THAT KEEPS ME GOING. THAT’S THE HARDEST THING- WHEN YOU ARE EXCITED AND YOU LOVE THE WAY SOMETHING HAS BEEN GOING-SUDDEN CHANGE-IT CAN BE STARTLING, AND IT’S SOMETHING I’M STILL LEARNING TO DEAL WITH.


JB: SO YOU MENTIONED ABERCROMBIE WAS YOUR FIRST INTERNSHIP. CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH SOME OF YOUR OTHER INTERNSHIPS?


SS: ABERCROMBIE, THEN FOSSIL-I WAS ON THE TRENDS TEAM THERE, THEN I WORKED AS ESP TRENDLAB-I DID THAT TWICE, I LOVED IT, I WORKED WITH LAURIE GOLDSTEIN STYLIST, I WORKED WITH DEBORAH HUGHES WHO DOES PR AND FASHION SHOW PRODUCTION, I WORKED WITH LIERED AND PARTNERS WHO’S AN INCREDIBLE AGENCY- I WANTED TO WORK WITH THEM SO BADLY AFTER GRADUATION. I THOUGHT THEY WERE SO AWESOME- I GOT TO WORK ON THE AMERICAN WOMEN EXHIBIT AT THE CFDA IN THE MET GALA WITH THEM, AND THAT WAS REALLY COOL. I FEEL LIKE I’M FORGETTING SOMETHING. I DON’T KNOW…IT WILL COME TO ME.


JB: WAS THERE A POINT IN YOUR TIME IN DAAP WHERE YOU CAME TO THE REALIZATION THAT YOU DIDN’T WANT TO BE A FASHION DESIGNER?


SS: OH, I NEVER WANTED TO BE A DESIGNER! I WAS ON THE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT TRACK, I WANTED TO WORK AT A MAGAZINE.

NS: THAT’S HOW I FEEL.


SS: I LOVE DRAWING, I LOVE ILLUSTRATING, I LOVE TELLING STORIES.


NS: HOW DO YOU THINK TREND FORECASTING PLAYED A ROLE IN WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW?


SS: I THINK THAT IT TAUGHT ME MORE THAN ANYTHING HOW TO LOOK AT THE WORLD. HOW TO KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN, AND RECOGNIZE WHAT IS HAPPENING. I DON’T THINK I’M VERY FASHION TRENDS DRIVEN-I THINK I’M MORE INTERESTED IN HUMAN TRENDS. IF THAT MAKES SENSE?


JB: MORE LIKE CULTURAL TRENDS?


SS: YEAH! LIKE WHAT DO WE NEED TO FEEL EMPOWERED AND CAPABLE? I THINK CLOTHES ARE AN AMAZING TOOL TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN, AND IT HAPPENS IN SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS. I DON’T LIKE TO PAY ATTENTION TOO CLOSELY TO FASHION TRENDS BECAUSE I THINK THAT OFTEN THEY ARE NOT UNIVERSAL. WHICH IS FINE-I FALL FOR A STATEMENT SLEEVE ALL THE TIME, AND THEN YOU WEAR IT TWO TIMES AND YOU’RE LIKE “I CANT KEEP THIS UP” YA KNOW? I THINK TO RECOGNIZE WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHERE IT’S COMING FROM AND HOW IT RELATES TO THE BIGGER PICTURE IS REALLY IMPORTANT. I ALSO THINK THAT THE LINES ARE BLURRING BETWEEN WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL FASHION FOR DAY TO DAY, AND WHAT IS INSPIRATION THAT LEADS TO FUNCTIONAL FASHION.


JB: MY NEXT QUESTION IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW. WE HAVE A LOT OF YOUNGER STUDENTS WHO WILL READ THIS, AND ARE NOT QUITE SURE ABOUT WHERE TO START IN STYLING OR HOW TO GET INVOLVED. HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START STYLING?


SS: STYLING IS A CAREER THAT IS BASED OFF OF SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE ELSEWHERE. THERE’S NOT A MAGIC SECRET TO ACHIEVE THE PLACE OF ‘NOW YOU’RE A GOOD STYLIST’. IT’S INSTINCTS, IT’S RELATIONSHIPS, AND IT’S HAVING THAT MYSTERIOUS EYE. AND I THINK THAT COMES FROM A PLACE OF EDUCATION AND OTHER THINGS- ART, MUSIC, FILM, KNOWING HOW TO SEW. ALL OF THESE OTHER THINGS THAT HELP YOU UNDERSTAND HOW A LOOK COMES TOGETHER. BEING ABLE TO REFERENCE SOMETHING THAT WAS SUCCESSFUL FOR A PARTICULAR PERSON IN THE PAST, AND HOW THAT IS TRANSLATED INTO A PHOTO OR A CLIENT AND MADE NEW. THERE’S A REASON WHY WE REFERENCE THE PAST RIGHT? I THINK THAT BEING ABLE TO SEE FASHION AS A BIGGER PICTURE- AS A CONTRIBUTOR TO OTHER SUCCESSES HAS HELPED ME IN A BIG WAY.


STYLING IS A CAREER THAT IS BASED OFF OF SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE ELSEWHERE. THERE’S NOT A MAGIC SECRET TO ACHIEVE THE PLACE OF ‘NOW YOU’RE A GOOD STYLIST’. IT’S INSTINCTS, IT’S RELATIONSHIPS, AND IT’S HAVING THAT MYSTERIOUS EYE. AND I THINK THAT COMES FROM A PLACE OF EDUCATION AND OTHER THINGS- ART, MUSIC, FILM, KNOWING HOW TO SEW. ALL OF THESE OTHER THINGS THAT HELP YOU UNDERSTAND HOW A LOOK COMES TOGETHER.

I FEEL THAT IF MY CLIENT IS ABLE TO DELIVER A SPEECH, OR SPEAK ON A PANEL, OR INSPIRE GENERATIONS TO COME- THAT ACTUALLY IS THE SUCCESS- AND THE FACT THAT THEY FELT CONFIDENT WITH THEIR LOOK CONTRIBUTED, BUT IT’S REALLY ABOUT A BIGGER PICTURE. AT LEAST FOR ME, THAT’S MY APPROACH, BUT I’M NOT THE CAPTAIN OF THE STYLING TEAM YA KNOW? HA! I’M IN THE BUSINESS OF HELPING OTHERS.


NS: IS THERE SOMETHING YOU WISH YOU WOULD’VE KNOWN IN DAAP THAT YOU KNOW NOW?


SS: TAKE MORE LANGUAGES! BE GOOD TO YOUR PEERS, AND SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER. MY CLASS WAS INCREDIBLE- I FEEL LIKE THERE IS STILL SUCH A CONNECTION BETWEEN ALL OF US, AND A LOT OF MUTUAL SUPPORT. I DON’T KNOW IF THAT IS STILL THE SAME OR IF OTHER CLASSES AROUND ME FELT LIKE THAT, BUT THIS IS TRUE FOREVER: THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH MIGHT BE YOUR BOSS SOMEDAY. YOUR CLASSMATE MIGHT WORK FOR A COMPANY AND THEY MIGHT NEED TO HIRE A SET DESIGNER- AND THAT MIGHT BE YOU! YOU NEVER KNOW! THERE’S SO MUCH ROOM FOR SUCCESS, AND THERE’S THIS FEELING OF COMPETITION, ESPECIALLY AMONGST FEMALES IN THE WORKPLACE THAT CAN BE DESTRUCTIVE AS OPPOSED TO HELPING TO CREATE. SO START NOW SUPPORTING EACH OTHER WITH DREAMS AND IDEAS AND REACHING A VISION-THAT JUST CREATES HAPPINESS LONG TERM.


JB: IN THE LECTURE YOU GAVE EARLIER TODAY, YOU MENTIONED MENTAL SUSTAINABILITY. FOR ME, I HAD NEVER REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT THAT BEFORE. I NEVER ENTERTAINED THAT THE MENTAL SUSTAINABILITY OF PEOPLE AND CLIENTS COULD BE AN ASPECT OF SUSTAINABILITY BUT IT FOR SURE IS. HOW DO YOU AS A STYLIST ENGAGE WITH THAT KIND OF SUSTAINABILITY EVERYDAY?


SS: FOR ME IT STARTED WITH MY OWN AWARENESS OF THIS COMPARISON CULTURE WHICH I THINK PREDOMINATELY COMES FROM THIS FEELING THAT THE LINES ARE BLURRED BETWEEN STYLIST AND INFLUENCER. I STRUGGLED WITH IT BECAUSE I ACTUALLY LOVE CREATING IMAGES. I HAVE SO MUCH FUN SETTING UP A LITTLE SET AND TAKING A PHOTO. I WALK AROUND THE WORLD AND SEE THINGS THAT COULD BE AN IMAGE. THERE IS ALSO A LITTLE BIT OF THIS MIDWESTERN MODESTY ABOUT PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE , AND THIS WAS A STRUGGLE FOR ME PERSONALLY. THEN SEEING THIS INFLUENCER CULTURE TAKE OVER COMBINED WITH THESE PERSONAL THINGS- I REALLY HAD TO CHALLENGE MYSELF TO THINK ‘HOW AM I GOING TO DEAL WITH DOING MY JOB, AND DOING MY JOB WELL, AND BEING ABLE TO FOCUS ON MY JOB WITH THESE ADDED PRESSURES OF LOOKING A CERTAIN WAY?’


YOU’RE PERCEIVING THAT OTHERS ARE REACHING SUCCESS, AND ARE DOING WELL SOLELY BASED ON THESE IMAGES. YOU ASK, ‘SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?’ IT’S REALLY COMPLICATED-YOU’RE SENSE OF SELF AND SATISFACTION AND HOW YOU SEND MESSAGES. WHEN PEOPLE ASK ME ABOUT IT, I TRY TO SAY-HOW CAN I FEEL COMFORTABLE AND CONFIDENT PUTTING MYSELF PUBLICLY AND ON THE INTERNET TAKING PHOTOS-WHICH I ACTUALLY LIKE TO DO- BUT ALSO CONVEY A SENSE OF TRUTH AND REALNESS?


I.

LOVE.

FASHION.


I LOVE THE INGENUITY, THE CREATIVE MIND, AND JUST THE FEELING OF PUTTING ON SOMETHING THAT TRANSPORTS YOU TO A DIFFERENT MENTAL SPACE. I HAVE FELT IT. IT’S THAT PEP IN YOUR STEP RIGHT? BUT HOW CAN I SAY TO THE WORLD: ‘IT’S EXPENSIVE, I’M TRYING TO DO ALL OF THESE OTHER THINGS LIKE PAY FOR HEALTHCARE, AND I’M NOT A MILLIONAIRE. I WANT TO PARTICIPATE, AND I WANT YOU TO PARTICIPATE!’ THERE ARE REAL STRUGGLES AND THERE ARE REAL HAPPINESSES AND FASHION CAN BE CELEBRATED WITHOUT BEING OVER THE TOP. I STILL DON’T HAVE WORDS OR A SOLUTION, BUT FOR ME THE MENTAL SUSTAINABILITY WAS FEELING LIKE I WAS ABLE TO DO MY JOB VERY WELL WITHOUT BEING DISTRACTED BY WHAT MY PERCEPTION OF MY PEERS AND THEIR SUCCESSES WERE. AND MAKING ROOM AND SPACE TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF, AND BE ME WITHOUT FEELING LIKE I WAS SACRIFICING ANY OF MY IDENTITY FOR WHAT THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE MASSES MIGHT BE.


NS: WHAT’S YOUR SELF CARE ROUTINE?


SS: I DON’T THINK I TALK ABOUT MY FRIENDS ENOUGH! I’M REALLY LUCKY BECAUSE I HAVE AN AMAZING GROUP OF FRIENDS THAT GET TOGETHER A LOT. WE ARE ALL PRETTY SUCCESSFUL WORKING WOMEN AND WE’VE COME UP TOGETHER THROUGH SCHOOL AND MOVING TO NEW YORK. I DO A LOT OF YOGA. I’M LIKE CONSTANTLY NURTURED BY GOING TO A COFFEE SHOP AND SITTING DOWN AND BEING OUT AN ABOUT. I’M REALLY INSPIRED BY SPACES. I THINK AESTHETIC AND SUNSHINE ARE IMPORTANT, AND I SPEND A LOT OF TIME IN GARDENS. I BELIEVE THAT MY SOUL IS FULLY NURTURED WHEN I’M ABLE TO SIT DOWN, READ A BOOK, AND BE IN A SUNNY ROOM. I LOVE EXPLORING THE CITY- I THINK IT GIVES ME SO MUCH ENERGY. I GO TO THE GYM QUITE A BIT…BUT THAT’S NEW.


JB: STILL NOT NEW FOR ME.


SS: IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT! MY COUSIN AND I SAY THAT ONCE YOU TURN THIRTY, A SCRATCH IS NOW A SCAR. YOU HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! I CARRY HEAVY STUFF ALL THE TIME AND I REMEMBER FEELING LIKE ‘OH NO BIG DEAL! I’LL RUN AROUND, PICK THIS UP, WEAR THESE SHOES’ AND I FEEL IT ALL NOW. YOU HAVE TO GO THE GYM YOU HAVE TO SAY STRONG. I ALSO LOVE GETTING A MANICURE. A MASSAGE…


NS: DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE CLIENT THAT YOU’VE WORKED WITH?


SS: NO?


JB: OH NO! YOU CAN’T DISCLOSE THAT INFORMATION?


SS: I AM SO FORTUNATE TO HAVE WORKED WITH INCREDIBLE PEOPLE, AND EVERYONE THAT I’VE WORKED WITH HAS TAUGHT ME SOMETHING NEW.

NS: WHAT ABOUT A DREAM CLIENT? IF YOU COULD WORK WITH ANYONE OR A BRAND?


SS: I REALLY DON’T HAVE AN ANSWER FOR THAT. HA! I FIND INSPIRATION AND EXCITEMENT IN THE CHALLENGES OF DISCOVERING WHAT I DON’T KNOW. SO IF I WERE TO SAY ‘THESE ARE MY DREAM CLIENTS’- IT’S PROBABLY BECAUSE I ALREADY KNOW ABOUT THEM AND I ALREADY LIKE WHAT THEY’RE DOING. SO IT’S ACTUALLY NOT A CHALLENGE.


NS: THAT MAKES SENSE. GOOD ANSWER! WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CLIENTS THAT YOU’RE CURRENTLY WORKING WITH, AND IN WHAT CAPACITY?


SS: I HONESTLY PREFER TO NOT ANSWER THAT BECAUSE IT CHANGES SO QUICKLY.


JB: THE THEME OF THIS WEEKEND IS ‘THE FASHION IMAGE AND SUSTAINABILITY’. WHERE DO YOU THINK THE IMAGE IS RIGHT NOW, AND DO YOU AGREE WITH IT? OR ARE YOU WORKING TO CHANGE IT IN SOME KIND OF WAY?


SS: I THINK THE MOST COMMON RESPONSE TO SUSTAINABILTY IN FASHION IS THE FEELING OF ‘IS IT ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY?’ ‘IS IT GREEN?’ ‘IS IT ORGANIC?’ I THINK THAT IS ONE CENTRAL COMPONENT TO FASHION SUSTAINABILITY. BUT I THINK THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE TO ADDRESS IN FASHION IS CONSUMERISM. EXCESSIVE CONSUMERISM IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. THAT’S WHY IT’S IMPORTANT THAT WE REMOVE FAST FASHION FROM OUR VOCABULARY AND FIGURE OUT SOMETHING ELSE.


I’M NOT SAYING WE SHOULD BE BANISHING THE WORLD OF ALL OF THESE BRANDS THAT ARE COMMONLY KNOWN. I’M JUST ASKING WHY THEY NEED TO BE PRODUCING SO MUCH AND AS OFTEN, AND DO WE NEED TO BE BUYING SO MUCH AND AS OFTEN FROM THEM? IF SOMEONE WAS THINKING ABOUT BUYING SOMETHING NEW, I WOULD CHALLENGE THEM TO PUT THAT MONEY IN THEIR SAVINGS ACCOUNT FIRST. THEN, IF IN THE NEXT WEEK IF THEY ARE STILL THINKING ABOUT THAT SAME PIECE- LEAVE THE MONEY IN YOUR SAVINGS ACCOUNT AND THEN PAY FOR IT. WAS IT WORTH IT? YOU JUST PAID DOUBLE FOR IT, SO HOW LONG CAN YOU MAKE IT WORTH IT? YOU JUST COMMITTED TO YOUR FUTURE TOO BY PUTTING THAT MONEY IN SAVINGS.


JB: MONEY…THAT’S A GOOD WAY TO THINK ABOUT IT. BECAUSE WHERE YOU PUT YOUR MONEY IS WHERE YOUR HEART AND MIND IS.


SS: YOU VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR BILL. WE HAVE THIS NEW UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU CAN HAVE WHAT YOU WANT, WHEN YOU WANT IT-QUICKLY. BECAUSE WE HAVE UBER EATS, FOREVER21…


JB: AMAZON- DUN DUN DUN!


SS: AND PRIME EVEN! TEXT MESSAGING, TINDER, ETC. EVERYTHING CAN HAPPEN FAST AND NOW, AND I’M NOT SAYING THESE THINGS ARE NECESSARILY EVIL. I’M JUST SAYING THAT IF YOU NEED IT TOMORROW, YOU SHOULD HAVE TO PAY FOR IT BECAUSE THE ACTUAL COST FOR IT TO BE SHIPPED TO YOU OVERNIGHT MIGHT HAVE A LONG TERM IMPACT THAT YOU SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR. I DON’T KNOW HOW ELSE WE GET PEOPLE TO START THINKING ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF THEIR BEHAVIOR EXCEPT FOR MAKING THEM PAY FOR IT. WHICH SOUNDS KIND OF SINISTER WHEN YOU SAY IT, BUT…


THERE WAS A NOBEL PRIZE GIVEN TO A MAN THIS YEAR WHO INVENTED THE IDEA OF CARBON TAX. THE IDEA OF ‘WHO PAYS FOR THE DAMAGE AFTER A HURRICANE?’ OBVIOUSLY WE HAVE TO ADDRESS GLOBAL WARMING IN THAT SCENARIO: IF CARBON IS CONTRIBUTING TO THE EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING, AND EVENTUALLY WE HAVE TO PAY FOR THE EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING…THEN WHEN YOU CHOOSE TO PURCHASE A PRODUCT THAT MIGHT LEAD TO THAT, YOU SHOULD BE PAYING FOR IT. WE PAY FOR CONVENIENCES ELSEWHERE AND WHY NOT PAY FOR THE CONVENIENCE THERE? IT’S THE DELIVERY FEE.


JB: I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT MONEY IN THAT CONTEXT. THAT WOULD REALLY MAKE PEOPLE THINK. IT MAKES ME THINK ABOUT BLACK FRIDAY SALES RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, AND PEOPLE WILL BE RUSHING TO THE STORES THAT THEY MIGHT NOT OTHERWISE GO TO, ALL FOR A SALE. BUT THE SAME PRODUCTS FULL PRICE- THEY ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT WHY IT’S SO EXPENSIVE. PEOPLE ASK A LOT MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT AN EXPENSIVE PRODUCT THAN THEY DO A CHEAP ONE.


SS: TRULY PEOPLE SHOULD BE ASKING ‘WHY DOES THIS COST WHAT IT COSTS?’ FUNDAMENTALLY THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG FOR A SWEATER TO COST $9.99 IF YOU ACTUALLY THINK ABOUT IT. I CHALLENGE YOU TO LIST ALL OF THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MAKING THAT SWEATER. FROM THE BEGINNING: THERE’S A DESIGNER THAT HAS DRAWN IT, THERE’S A TECHNICAL TEAM THAT HAS GONE THROUGH AND MADE SURE THEY KNOW THE SCALE OF THE SIZES, THERE’S A FIT MODEL IN THERE, THERE’S SOMEBODY WHO’S SOURCED ALL OF THE MATERIALS. I’VE ALREADY NAMED FOUR PEOPLE THAT HAVE TO BE PAID, AND I KNOW WE ARE TALKING ABOUT MASS SCALE.


TRULY PEOPLE SHOULD BE ASKING ‘WHY DOES THIS COST WHAT IT COSTS?’ FUNDAMENTALLY THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG FOR A SWEATER TO COST $9.99 IF YOU ACTUALLY THINK ABOUT IT. I CHALLENGE YOU TO LIST ALL OF THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MAKING THAT SWEATER.

PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW WHERE THEIR MONEY IS GOING. PEOPLE SHOULD BE ASKING AT THE SAME TIME WHY DOES THIS GUCCI T-SHIRT COST $600? DO I THINK THAT IS WHAT FASHION SHOULD COST? NO, BUT FOR THAT T-SHIRT YOU’VE PAID FOR THE LUXURY AND THE EXCLUSIVITY, AND YOU’VE OPTED INTO THAT EQUATION.


DO I HOPE THAT THE T-SHIRT WAS MADE IN A FACTORY THAT PAYS ITS WORKERS A FAIR WAGE AND ALLOWS THEM UPWARD MOBILITY? DO I HOPE THAT THE PEOPLE WHO WORK AT THE STORE WHERE I BOUGHT IT FROM ALSO HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE AND PAID MATERNITY LEAVE? YES. I DON’T THINK THAT THE $9.99 PEOPLE NECESSARILY HAVE ALL OF THOSE BENEFITS, BECAUSE HOW COULD THEY AFFORD TO? I DON’T KNOW WHERE THESE THINGS START TO ADD UP BECAUSE I’M NOT AN ECONOMIST, BUT I DO KNOW THAT $9.99 IS NOT THE ANSWER.


NS: SO WHEN YOU DO WANT TO SHOP FOR NEW CLOTHES, WHERE DO YOU SHOP?


SS: I USUALLY SHOP ON THE REAL REAL.


NS: IS THAT USED DESIGNER THINGS?


SS: YEAH! I ALSO DO A LOT OF PRE-ODERING. IT’S A COMMITMENT. WHEN YOU PRE-ODER, YOU CAN’T RETURN IT, SO YOU HAVE TO THINK “DO I REALLY WANT THIS?” OBVIOUSLY THIS IS A STYLING SHOPPING METHOD, BUT FOR ME, I FIND IT REALLY BENEFICIAL BECAUSE I SEE SOMETHING. I INVESITIGATE WHAT’S MISSING IN MY WARDROBE, I ORDER IT FOR SIX MONTHS DOWN THE ROAD, AND I KNOW I CAN’T RETURN IT WHEN I GET IT...SO DO I REALLY REALLY REALLY WANT IT? SO WHAT’S MY PLAN? I REALLY TRY TO LIVE BY THE 30 WEARS RULE. I’M ACTUALLY GOING TO START DOCUMENTING IT ON INSTAGRAM AGAIN BECAUSE I STOPPED FOR A WHILE AND I’M GOING TO PICK IT BACK UP.


WHEN YOU’RE FORCED TO THINK ABOUT YOUR CLOSET IN NEW WAYS, YOU CAN DEVELOP YOUR UNIFORM, AND YOUR SENSE OF STYLE AND YOU’RE LESS INCLINED TO BUY THINGS IMPULSIVELY. WE ALL HAVE THAT WEIRD NEW YEARS DRESS THAT YOU NEVER WORE AGAIN. BUT WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR UNIFORM, YOU’RE LESS LIKELY TO DO THAT, AND YOUR MORE LIKELY TO SHOP WITH INTENTION. LIKE: ‘OH I DON’T HAVE A TWEED BLAZER! I WOULD REALLY LIKE A TWEED BLAZER IN MY WARDROBE.’ NOW, YOU HAVE THE ROOM TO RESEARCH AND FIGURE OUT WHICH ONE IS PERFECT FOR YOU, YOUR LIFESTYLE, BUDGET, AND BODY TYPE. I TRY TO THINK OF EVERYTHING I BUY AS A POTENTIAL FAVORITE OF MY GRANDDAUGHTERS. WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO FIND IN MY CLOSET AND WANT TO WEAR WHEN IM LIKE 80?


NS: INTERESTING.


SS: I’M DEFINITELY NOT PERFECT. I HAVE DESIGNERS WHO I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THAT ARE NOT ECO OR GREEN. SO IF I’M BUYING SOMETHING FROM THEM, IT’S LIKE A LOCAL NEW YORK BRAND, IT’S A YOUNG PERSON STARTING A BUSINESS. MY GRANDFATHER USED TO SAY THAT EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO A LIVING, AND YOU ALWAYS SUPPORT THE ARTS. I KIND OF ADOPTED THAT MINDSET WHILE COMMITTING TO CARE. THAT’S ON MY TOMBSTONE- ‘COMMIT TO CARE’!


MY GRANDFATHER USED TO SAY THAT EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO A LIVING, AND YOU ALWAYS SUPPORT THE ARTS. I KIND OF ADOPTED THAT MINDSET WHILE COMMITTING TO CARE. THAT’S ON MY TOMBSTONE- ‘COMMIT TO CARE’!

NS: I THINK IT’S A DIFFERENT WAY TO THINK ABOUT SHOPPING SUSTAINABLY THAN A LOT OF WHAT THE NARRATIVE IS-WHICH IS LOOKING AT THOSE ECO FRIENDLY BRANDS. IT BROADENS THE DEFINITION SO THAT PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY FEEL LIKE THAT’S AN ACCESSIBLE THING FOR THEM OR SOMETHING THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO TRY.


SS: LOOK, ECO FASHION’S NOT PERFECT. ORGANIC COTTON REQUIRES A LOT OF WATER. I’M NOT POO POOING ON ORGANIC COTTON AT ALL, I’M JUST SAYING IF YOU’RE BUYING 400 ORGANIC COTTON T-SHIRTS, THAT’S NOT REALLY HELPING AT ALL. FOR ME, THE CENTRAL MESSAGE IS- ‘CAN WE JUST SHOP LESS?’


NS: JUST LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE, WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEXT 3-5 YEARS. AND WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR LONG TERM GOALS?


SS: I WANT TO BE A REALLY AMAZING STYLIST. I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A LEGACY. I WANT MY CLIENTS TO FEEL LIKE THEY ENJOYED WORKING WITH ME, AND THAT WE BUILT SOMETHING AMAZING TOGETHER, AND THAT I WAS A FRIEND TO THEM. I WANT TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL IMAGES WITH MAGAZINES AND BRANDS. I WANT TO BE A LIKEABLE PERSON. I WANT A FAMILY, A HOUSE UPSTATE RIGHT ON THE LAKE. I WILL MAYBE HAVE ANOTHER BUNNY SOMEDAY, BUT I MISS FLORENCE TOO MUCH RIGHT NOW.


JB: WE FORGOT TO ASK ABOUT THE BUNNY!


SS: I AM ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO DEFINES SUCCESS PROFESSIONALLY AND I CARE VERY MUCH ABOUT HAVING A SUCCESSFUL CAREER. I HOPE THE PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH ME HAVE SUCCESS IN THEIR CAREERS, BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE PUT IN A BOX OF ‘SHE JUST WORKED HERSELF TO THE BONE AND NEVER DID ALL OF THOSE OTHER THINGS!’ I WANT ALL THOSE OTHER THINGS TOO, AND I’M AT THAT PERFECT AGE WHERE YOU START THINKING ABOUT WHAT IT ALL LOOKS AND FEELS LIKE.


I WOULDN’T CHANGE ANYTHING! MAYBE JUST TAKING MORE FRENCH CLASSES.


JB: TRUTH.


SS: LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING. I LISTEN TO A LOT OF PODCASTS, SO I CAN NEVER REMEMBER WHICH ONE I’M QUOTING, BUT THERE WAS AN AMAZING REPORT RECENTLY THAT STUDIED UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS WORLDWIDE, AND THE DIFFERENCE IN EARNING POTENTIAL BETWEEN STUDENTS THAT SAY WENT TO HARVARD, AND STUDENTS WHO WENT TO LOCAL COMMUNITY COLLEGES. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IN EARNING POTENTIAL WAS MOTIVATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL STUDENT. YOU CREATE THE ENVIRONMENT AROUND YOU. THERE IS EVERYTHING YOU NEED HERE. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS. DO THE WORK YOU WANT TO DO, BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU DO, AND YOU WILL HAVE WHAT YOU WANT.


YOU CREATE THE ENVIRONMENT AROUND YOU. THERE IS EVERYTHING YOU NEED HERE. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS. DO THE WORK YOU WANT TO DO, BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU DO, AND YOU WILL HAVE WHAT YOU WANT.

JB AND NS: *SNAPS AND BOWS TO THE MASTER OF MOTIVATION AND STYLE

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