Friday, June 27, 2014

How I got started.

Hello Everyone!!!

I decided to make these next few blog weeks about how I worked my way up the ladder in the fashion world, and mention briefly the many people I met along the way.

This poor boy from Brooklyn didn't have much, but what he did have was a talent…so I was told.  While attending Fort Hamilton High School some of my teachers took notice of a certain gift and interest I had (my love for fabrics, movies and everything desirable).  It was recommended I seek out a conduit/outlet to really hon in an find my niche.  That outlet and stepping stone would be The Fashion Institute Of Technology. 

The first time I set foot onto the F.I.T grounds I knew this is where I needed to be.  And winning a scholarship solidified that this was the right path I needed to be on.  It also silenced the doubts and fears this young boy had about his talents and aspirations.  As part of F.I.T's program, in the last semester a student must pick their specialty.  I knew right away what my niche would be: contemporary tailoring.  50 years later on 7th Avenue, it still is.  

However, my first job - the year being 1965 and I remember it vividly - was not exactly what  I wanted to be doing, but it would turn out to be a blessing in disguise.  The job was for a very famous coat and suit house named after the owner, Dan Millstein (who, by the way, was a coat and suit maker himself).  I showed up with a myriad of sketches underneath my arm only to be told I was being put in the design room.  I was so disappointed!  I wanted to design not be an assistant to the head pattern maker.  I didn't realize it then, but my advisors knew what they were doing.  I was learning the foundation, the nuts and bolts, when all my fellow graduates were not.  I can easily say that I developed a keen eye for perfection and detail while working for this company (we sold to all the high end stores - Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Ave., Nemain/Marcus and Lord and Taylor), and this is why I cannot be fooled by mediocrity.  The head pattern maker was a russian man, Benny Chalif, and my mentor for three years.  This guy worked his way up the chain to become a respected and well renowned artist in his own right.  Head pattern maker and what a talent he was.

Unbeknownst to me was a man called, Calvin Klein.  He was two years ahead of me and had also attended F.I.T.  Funny thing was we were now both in the same building and working for the same company.  Calvin was working on the eleventh floor for the mature line called, The Missy Division.  And I was on the second floor working in the junior department titled, The Dani' Junior.  Calvin was a very nice guy and we eventually formed a solid, professional friendship that would last for decades.  He told me at the time that I was so lucky to have hooked up with Fay Wagner, who was the head of showroom sales and the stylist for the designer junior line (this happened when my mentor Benny Chalif retired and recommended me to take over the design room  as head pattern maker - it was very exciting and a true honor).  You see, if I didn't get partnered with Fay it would have been with, Dan Millstein, and people were terrified of him when he came walking down the hall.  Very nice man, but very stern and tough.  Hey, I don't blame him.  It was his business and he ran a tight ship. 

So back to Fay, who I used to call my jewish Lucille Ball.  She had flaming red hair and a personality that would go on for days.  I asked her how she got her start in fashion and she said, "Honey, I was a model when was broadway was a prairie."  She was a riot.  Little by little I slowly started to infiltrate my personal designs to Fay and slowly but surely people started to notice.  I worked at my first job for six years - this was unheard of.  Your first job was supposed to be one of many step's  up the ladder - what a first step it was...

Stay tuned for more of my rise up the fashion ladder in next weeks blog.

Till next time.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Don't control the uncontrollable.

Hello All!

Today, after putting up a post on my Facebook page, I decided to change my blog.  

I said to myself, "let go of what you can't control and surrender to life."   This is especially important when what we're dealing with seems to be the end of the world.  But, the funny thing is whatever the obstacle or hardship may be we always seem to persevere through, don't you agree?  

Things happen to us not by accident, it is never by coincidence.  It is all a learning experience for our own personal growth and evolution.  Surrendering our control and allowing whatever it is we're dealing with to happen can be scary, but at the same time liberating.  

So when your life seems to be one bad experience after another try and be cognizant, take a breath and know that we are being guided by a higher power.  We can either accept what is happening, learn from it and move on - because let's face it, whether we like it or not its going to happen - or we can fight, deny and runaway, causing ourselves unnecessary stress and/or grief.   The choice is always up to US.  

Are you, right now, at this very moment dealing with some type of adversity?  Are you surrendering to the circumstances and all that comes with it?  Or are you playing the victim and dwelling in your self pity?  Instead of all that negativity, why not empower yourself, take a risk and surrender.  Let me say it one more time, TAKE A RISK AND SURRENDER TO THE MOMENT, Simonton Say's.

Till next time.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Don't Sell Yourself Short.

Aspire for GREATNESS.  We all have the potential to achieve the unimaginable so why do we keep selling ourselves short?!

I'm not sure if any of you have seen the Jim Carrey speech that's been floating all over FB, but it's truly amazing!  And the clip is only one minute.  I'm not going to quote anything he say's cause I want you all to see it,  but it has inspired me to write a blog based on following your dreams.  It's never too late.

(Here is the link by the way:

We constantly sell ourselves short based on fear and the thoughts that we're not good enough or talented enough.  We give in to societies standards and never allow ourselves the chance to shine.  We are all born with gifts and hidden talents that, if nurtured and developed, could give rise to fantastic contributions to mankind (God knows we need this now more then ever).

This is a call to humanity.  Please stand up and rise above mediocrity and give yourselves the chance to shine.  You all deserve it whether you believe it or not.  And you don't have to believe it right now.  You can at least 'fake it till you make it'.  The divine lives inside each and everyone of us, which makes you part of divinity.  We were put on this earth and given this life to create.  

You are all the creator's of your universe, use that as a launching pad.  Now,  live your life from love and give fear the back seat, Simonton Say's.

Till next time.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Words Hurt!

Hello All!

Today I over heard some people gossiping about a co-worker they didn't like.  As I was sitting quietly enjoying my lunch at a quaint little manhattan restaurant, I couldn't help but over hear the vile rhetoric coming out of these adult mouths.  This really made me think about our society and what it has become.  But with that being said, I think - no, I know - it runs much deeper than that.

How can we expect to talk nice about others if deep down we are constantly talking bad about ourselves?  We are always putting ourselves down.  And let it be known, everyone, that when I write these blogs I am also speaking to myself.  I believe that if we started to be nicer to the one that truly matters most (ourselves) then that kindness would carry out into the real world.  But we are so unhappy and focused on how we look, that we don't have what he/she has (the dream job, the dream boyfriend/girlfriend, the dream house or car), and that our lives are at best sub par.

I believe we can change the world, but it must start with us as individuals.  We must remind ourselves that we are enough and our lives have value.  All external distractions are just that, distractions.  So, let's not talk or gossip about others even if they are mean or hurtful toward us.  Let's remember that we are all doing the best we can with the tools we have been given, and we should remember to never take things personally, Simonton Say's.

Till next time.