As I begin my second year of the Fashion Design program at GCC, I also began a new job. As required by the Fashion program, each student needs experience working in the area of fashion, either over the summer or throughout the school year. For me, my recent new job was something completely new to me: men’s wear.
My job experience throughout this school year will be at Charles Men’s Shop. It is located at 200 E Main Street right in Batavia. While at the Men’s Shop, I will be setting the window displays. Showing the all of the amazing merchandise the store has to offer, while creating a theme and telling a story, keeping in mind the latest trends for fall was a challenge at first. I haven’t taken the Visual Display class with Ms. Ehrhart (the fashion design professor at GCC) because it begins in October, so trying to accomplish that goal made my first few window attempts difficult. I had a hard time finding inspiration and translating it through men’s wear. Until that time, I had only acquired experience with women’s retail. I had received some advice from the Men’s Shop’s helpful staff, Kristen, Don, and Dave. I also asked both of my professors, Mr. Dudkowski (the fashion merchandising professor at GCC) and Ms. Ehrhart for some advice. I’m very glad i decided to ask for some much-needed tips. After getting a better understanding of the window displays and finding my inspiration, I created a window that i was truly proud of. My vision for the window was the New York City pop up sales, since I, along with all other fashion students, will be attending a field trip to the Big Apple next month. Don Brown (Charles Men’s Shop VP) was recently showing me some pictures from the past trips to the city. He told me of the pop up retail stores that would be selling men’s wear, which made me think of trunk shows. I combined the two ideas with my inspiration of the city and created my window.
I really have enjoyed my time so far at the Men’s Shop. If i hadn’t attended GCC I wouldn’t receive an opportunity like this, nor would I have the always available professors ready to guide me with expert advice. Getting hands on training from such an accomplished and well-known store is great experience. Just as Don Brown had said, along with having fun, learning is the most important part of working at the Men’s Shop. After I have had more experience completing some windows and in-store displays, I could move on to learning new sewing techniques along with more planning and customer service skills.
As I look at window displays, men’s magazines and online articles, I see more now than I would have before this job. I wonder about what the message is that they are sending, what story they are telling, why they made certain choices. This ongoing experience will always make me think more about the way a display is shown than I would have ever thought. There is always room to grow and enhance skills with GCC and job opportunities.
Come down to Charles Men’s Shop and join me on the Wine Walk, October 5, 2013!