I was a few weeks into my first full-time assistant design job and I was shocked that this was real life. After all, I thought this kind of thing only happened in movies?
It was market week which means we were working another Saturday getting the last of the samples finished and shipped to the New York showroom to be shown to buyers.
As I’m working at my desk doing my assistantly duties for my designer who just left, the other designers are frantically running about the building in a wild panic.
The final Fedex pick up time is approaching.. but where are her samples?
I hear frantic phone calls being made to the dye houses, the wash houses, the fedex office. Apparently, the washhouse said they sent it out this morning, the driver said everything was delivered, and Fedex cannot ship out any later.
We all went through the bag that arrived in the morning and not a single one of her designs were in it.
In a last ditch desperate effort the girls practically flipped over the sewing room, checking everywhere they may have overlooked.
Lo and behold, shoved under an unused table in the back, inside of a cardboard box, was a bag of the missing samples…
They already knew who it was. She had a reputation for doing things like this at work.
I suddenly recalled the strange and ever-so-slight, upturned corner of a smirk that my designer wore on her face as she left for the weekend.
The sad reality of this though, is that this event wasn’t isolated to this particular company and this particular designer. It became an all-too-familiar theme I witnessed from company to company to company.
And this kind of toxic behavior is one of the things that holds so many assistants, associates, and designers of any level trying to make it in the industry, from making it in the industry.
Despite these situations I quickly grew in my career and as I scaled the corporate ladder, I made sure I became the designer I never had; The designer we all wish we had. One who didn’t covet their position, who managed well and taught their team how too to flourish into successful designers.
Community is such a hot word right now. Especially in the small business, local, and entrepreneurial world. But dang this needs to be a hot word in the corporate fashion design world too.