I spent the first chunk of today shopping at Somerset because that’s what I do when I’m bored and need to get out of the house: I shop. I visited the South side (or as I like to call it, the snobby rich side, the snooty side, the judgmental side, etc) and took note of the definite difference in customer service and clientele between the North and South sides.
I usually stick to the North side, which in comparison to the South side is probably considered the “commoners” side if we were in the UK. Expensive commoners side, but commoners side nonetheless. I hadn’t been to the South side in over a year and I wanted to see what’s new over there, as well as just refresh my memory of what’s there at all. I was happily surprised to find Sur La Table had opened shop on the second floor and I ended up getting a bottle of tea, basically.
I stopped by Arhaus Furniture and Crate & Barrel (which I completely forgot we even had in Michigan. Surprise!) and was greeted with false interest at Arhaus and not greeted at all at Crate & Barrel, despite my excellent attire featuring a Ralph Lauren collared shirt. I also stopped by Ralph Lauren, where I was greeted judgmentally and not asked anything further past the initial hello. I understand working in retail, and especially a high end boutique like Ralph Lauren, means knowing who your regular customers are versus your drop-ins, but just because you haven’t seen me before doesn’t mean that I don’t have the $$$ or the will to open up my wallet for you and make it rain. Just sayin’.
That said, once I came back to the North side, I felt much more comfortable being in the herd of people walking this way and that. One always feels judged at Somerset, in my opinion, but significantly less on the North side. I ended my shopping trip with GAP, where I found $7 leather flip flops and a $16 double-sided (reversible!) heavy skirt, seen below.
Lastly, today we got our jury show results, which are really just the papers the judges filled out with scores for our collections. My solo collection got some pretty average scores, with lots of 7’s and 8’s from what I remember, and one or two judges thought it was not a cohesive collection which absolutely blows my mind because…it’s a fucking cohesive collection and I’m not just saying that from my point of view. However, one of the judges did write “favorite” at the top of their sheet!
For my collaborative with Alyza, we scored a lot of 9’s and 10’s and two judges wrote “favorite” at the top of their sheets. There was this one judge, and I think it was the old lady, who scored incredibly low for both collections, with 4’s and 5’s and nothing higher. I asked my friend Tina if she also got low scores from her and she said yes (2’s 3’s and 4’s O_O).
On the one hand, I was a little distraught and disappointed with the scores I got. I feel like some of them are inadequate (especially for my solo collection; I just can’t get over the fact that one or two of them thought it wasn’t cohesive…wtf) which is almost unfair to say because they’re judging from a completely fresh perspective. They didn’t get to see the trials and tribulations that went into making the garments, but that’s what judging is about, isn’t it? Seeing things as they are, no backstories, no explanations.
On the other hand, this has definitely been a good experience in terms of the real world. I’ve always known that the fashion industry is not an easy thing to be in. It is not as glamorous and star-studded as we all like to think it is. It’s harsh, it’s cruel, it’s unwavering and it does not care about your feelings. After reading my feedback, I sat in my desk chair in anger, sadness, and resentment and thought that I need to harden my backbone. I also asked myself why I entered this field in the first place. I’m talented in many things – photography, for example. I could do that for a living, I thought. Then I remembered that judgment comes from all angles, in all fields. It’s really irrelevant what artistic endeavor I make my career (multiple, maybe?) for there will always be someone out there with a stick up their ass and their nose in the air who does not like what I do and has no qualms about voicing their opinions.
That said, tomorrow is another day. Cheers.