Monday, September 19, 2011

Buttons, Beads and Balls-Ups

I can now say without fear or favour - whatever that means - that I will never be a frock designer when I grow up. I'm here in New York with friends Lesley and Laura at the trade show Fashion Coterie. While they finished setting up their booth, I was given the simple small task of finding the Garment District and buying nine beads, six ribbons and three buttons.

Laura (kneeling) and Lesley setting up their booth
After two hours of getting lost in a taxi then walking the length of Manhattan and two more agonising hours of indecision over colour, shape and shine I came back with all the wrong stuff.

Lesley was terribly sweet and made it work, but in the Devil-Wears-Prada-Wintour world I would be given a withering "I don't understand why you can't ..." and red-soled booted back onto Starbucks duty. The ribbon was shiny silk and not matte cotton, the beads wouldn't fit through the ribbon and the buttons were plastic, not enamel.

Me in the Garment District

But now I've seen the dazzling sights of the trim capitol on the Avenue of the Americas. Others may come to view shows, museums, walk in the park and reflect upon the history of this nation. But I have witnessed the seas of beads and walls of buttons and rooms of ribbons....and I have now a huge respect for those who blithely pick trim in a matter of minutes and move on with their lives.

At M&J after viewing more ribbon than would fill a lifetime of Bronte sisters' novels, I headed into the button room. Gentle Readers I was unsure whether to rein in my wobbly lip and vapours or collapse sobbing on the floor, my button tray askew and sadly unfilled. Taking pity on me the assistant, Jose, offered to climb the ladder and help me pick my three buttons.

What about just above those?
Meanwhile a bizarrely eclectic mix of people milled around: huge dudes wearing biker gang jackets looking for more interesting patches, little old ladies finding a button to match a much-loved pink cardy, punky young girls hunting down glitter for their skull and crossbones emblems.

Across the road at BeadCenterNY (golly, these people don't waste energy selecting a shop name) I cornered another assistant to help me pick the beads.   Until her boss spotted me as a time waster and cautioned the poor girl. I then turned to these chaps, both jewelers, to give me a second opinion.

Tomorrow I'm going to leave this trim stuff to those-who-know-and-can-decide and stick to the simple role of clueless tourist.

Lesley and Laura showing the Spring 2012 line to buyers


  1. M&J can be insanely intense! But at least you got a good story out of the adventure...

  2. If you ever feel the need to go glitzy trim shopping in London, I recommend Rainbow Textiles in Southall. But you will need sunglasses on to go down to their basement which is chock-a-block with fabulous sparkly Indian trimmings...

  3. So you'll stick to clothes which are ready-made, complete with their own buttons and bows?

    If you're on the Starbucks run now, mine's a tall cappuccino!

  4. OMG, I felt all sweaty and panicky just thinking about the responsibility (having watched The Devil Wears Prada an' all...).

    Good idea sticking to clueless tourist role. No responsibility!!

  5. Condolences on your misadventure!
    But I couldn't have done any better.
    Bears are not the best on hote coutour (or whatever you Humans call it).

  6. Another world... far, far, FAR away from my own.

    I'd be a goner :).

  7. I don't think I could bear the did well. That whole New York/fashion thing is an alien world to me but this post was a lovely little glimpse into the other side....

  8. oh my gosh, if it was me, i probably won't get the right things either. and yay for not having a miranda priestly-ish experience. ;)

    <3, Mimi
    $25 Apothica Gift Card Giveaway :)

  9. I can only imagine making me way through such an experience. As a young girl, I wanted to be a fashion designer when I grew up. Thankfully, God had a different plan for me, because I don't have the creativity of the stamina for such a career. :)

  10. M & J Trim is one of my favorite places to find all the trims and buttons a could gal could dream about! I could truly spend hours there if time was no an issue.

  11. Sounds easy enough to be tasked with buying buttons and trim but I can only imagine the stress you must have felt with all those options.

  12. Jody- that's an adventure! I hope to head down to NYC and go to a shop that sells only linen next month. I'm sure I'll be overwhelmed!

    I had a fashion designer friend show her line in NYC and her Mom, my Mom and myself took the train down to see her. Both of us were pregnant! So, no I didn't help at all!


  13. This reminds me of Project Runway when they are in the Mood store buying their fabric and things!!

    PS I was just in NYC a few weeks ago, I love it there. I was there for the Fashions Night Out along with meeting a blogger friend and eating in Korea Town for the first time! You can always find new things in NYC every time you visit!

    I have some photos and a blog post about it on my personal blog: TheWorldAroundHer.blogspot

    That is so amazing that you got to spend the day with designers and see into their world!

  14. This definitely reminded me of Devil Wears Prada! Sounds like a mixture of fun and stress. I'm sure it was a good experience at least!

  15. Oh I am so jealous! How fun & I just adore Lesley Evers' frocks!


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