Not too long ago, so it seems to me, I had a chemical switch, zap to the brain or manifest destiny (except Texas to East Coast) hit me like a cartoon with a baseball bat. Swarming stars, overly confident delusions, and determination pursued. The main goal was to move to NY and BE IN FASHION. Naturally thinking the acceptance (and attendance) at FIT would path my yellow brick road to fashion success (see story below).
Moving to New York with no plan except 1. Get on plane 2. Get to address with friends couch in Brooklyn, I quickly and stressfully found myself to be “Nomad Mandy.” Moving every few weeks within the variety of neighborhoods in Brooklyn, some scarier than others. The demand for research and due-dates over the “history of polka-dots” and the difference between costume and fine jewelry became too overwhelming and time-consuming.
With consideration of not knowing who’s bed or what bodega would supply my needs next week, it was time for serious personal analyzation. I dropped out of FIT 3 days before final withdraw date. The stress of life carried on my shoulders, seriously I have knots that feel like bones. I am one of stubbornness and not a quitter, but when Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs comes knocking and Metro Cards and cell phones go missing it is time to throw in the towel.
Looking behind to move forward
With the annual ‘Mandy in New York’ June-December, my subconscious mind broke the seal on my conscious mind leading me to view that rear mirror for what got me here today. Wrapped perfectly in a bow I handed over my life in Texas, the man of my dreams, our furry baby-love-dog Kinsey, totally love you sometimes family, and the comfort and recognition of “home”, this haunts me daily. I did the right thing uprooting my life to New York, not just for me. The friends, joy from strangers, hustle more than you have ever known, surfing subway trains, sleeping on an air mattress longer than your back could handle, it all has enhanced the drive and outlook of absolute love for life that I would not have obtained if I stayed wrapped in that perfect bow.
Below (if you haven’t read enough) is my FIT admission essay. It is the dream and reality that brought me here and continues to keep me going.
FIT Admission essay
Fastening the buckle on her Dior Patent ox-color pumps, it was the last step to completing the look and hailing a cab off to New York Fashion Week. In many ways, her dreams had come true, from scoring passes from giddy colleagues and eager fellow students to sneaking backstage when no one was looking, but this time she had an assigned front row seat for the entire week. The best part is that she worked for it.
A graduate from Fashion Institute of Technology, one of the top fashion schools in the U.S, and forever fashion lover, Mandy landed her dream job this year as the Digital Fashion Editor for one of the top visited fashion and lifestyle websites.
Chic does not come to those that just dream, but for those that take the risk in fashion and in their life. Mandy is a born Dallas native, and as young as elementary school she felt it in her bones that she NOT only didn’t belong in Texas, but she also did not belong in her sisters’ hand-me-downs. Bold covers and catchy titles from fashion magazines became her educator and comfort. Then there came What Not to Wear, and she swore to her mom that she, Mandy Koch was the next Stacy London.
Time went on as Mandy spoke in a foreign language to most about Marc Jacobs’ take on masculine woman’s wear, how any neutral goes with any color (or even with each other), and how Alexander Wang was changing the way we see fashion with his heat activating garments. The feeling of exclusion came on strong when speaking to others about fashion. She could not pin if it was others’ lack of interest or her knowledge of designers and trends, but bottom line it left glossy magazine pages to converse the love for fabrics, style, and designers back to her.
Too many years later at least if you ask her, Mandy looked up at the man she loved with the goofiest smile stated, “I am quitting school and pursuing fashion.” The following Monday she dropped out of her current degree program and enrolled in sewing classes with local designers in Deep Ellum. She knew sewing would not be easy due to her failing miserably with uneven pajama pants in Home-ec, but she had the desire to creating something beautiful. Stroking her hands over ombre-grey, silver, and pearl white she knew this fabric would be the one. After selecting the fabric, making a pattern and sewing into late hours of dusk and wine, Mandy was able presented her first creation, a Chanel Boucle Pencil Skirt.
The transition from sheltered Dallas girl to a New York fashionista was by no means mentally or physically easy. It took bravery to give her all and shed all self-doubt to avoid being swallowed by the big city. The Fashion Institute of Technology was Mandy’s main focus. The school has an amazing reputation for industry professors, networking circles made of dreams, and internships that would make anyone jealous. Advertising and Marketing Communication gave her the skill-sets to execute champagne-popping charity galas, top viewed press release titles, and increase sales with her teams Nordstrom Holiday Campaign.
Her mind blossomed in FIT’s clubs, sparking a passion for forward thinking the tools she promotes in her lifestyle industry today. Mandy’s published articles from Blush Magazine and freelance work found through FIT Words landed her an internship at Conde’ Nast. Basically, she came and took it when gifted the chance to attend Fashion Institute. She continues to look back often as possible to help the chic dreamers at FIT to grasp their potential.
Exiting the cab Mandy inhaled the energy at New York Fashion Week and exhaled gratitude and success, posh smile lights across her face. She, Mandy Koch, a girl who was known to dream too big and expect too much conquered the fashion world.