From the Fargo Fashion Industry to New York Fashion

Taylor Preston| Photo Courtesy

Have you ever wondered what life is really like in the Big Apple? Is “The Devil Wears Prada” an accurate representation of the New York fashion scene? Is an impulsive (or even carefully planned) move to New York plausible for a recent graduate?

After moving to New York in May of 2017 to take an internship with the contemporary brand, Olive + Oak, North Dakota State alumna Taylor Preston has now taken a job with the company 1822 Denim.

Although Preston’s experience has been filled with trials and uncertainties, her positive demeanor, genuine spirit, determination and passion for the industry (and the people within it) have made it evident that her story has only just begun.

Emily Wotzka (EW): Tell me about your Olive + Oak internship and how you began your career within the fashion industry. 

Taylor Preston (TP): I had always worked in retail and excelled in customer service, styling and hitting sales goals. All of those things led me to the career I am in now.

I knew I wanted to be an intern in wholesale because I was getting to utilize all of those skills. Knowing the retail side of fashion is huge for the wholesale business because you have a better idea of what a consumer wants and how to sell it.

I really enjoyed being a part of a small team and corporate brand because I was able to help with trend research and design, assist in product development and learn more about production. That is what led me to take a job at 1822 Denim. 

EW: What has been the most difficult part about moving to New York?

TP: Adjusting to the lifestyle and culture of the city and finding my groove with all the changes that were happening.

After my internship, I struggled to find a job that felt right, and I lost a bit of my drive in the process. I took a job that paid well, but it wasn’t in fashion and I ultimately hated it.

I am now working in wholesale again, and I couldn’t be happier. The most difficult part for me was to continue to work toward my end goal and to not give up. I’m glad I didn’t.

EW: What has been the most exciting part about moving to New York?

TP: The city and the people. There is so much to see and do, and I get to meet a bunch of new people every day.

EW: You recently got a new job. Tell me about what it is and what you’ll be doing.

TP: Yes, I am so excited something finally worked out. I am a sales assistant to the VP (Vice President) of sales at 1822 Denim, and we are a denim wholesaler that sells to mainly department stores, but we are continuing to build our specialty store business.

My favorite part of my job thus far is creating relationships with the buyers, doing trend research for the upcoming fall season and assisting with social media and e-commerce.

EW: How would you describe the fashion industry in New York compared to the Midwest? 

Taylor Preston| Photo Courtesy
Taylor Preston with NDSU student Kayla Moe, who modeled in New York Fashion Week.

TP: The biggest difference is that there is so much more opportunity here (New York). There are so many different jobs in fashion it’s crazy.

Another thing to remember is that entry-level fashion jobs pay extremely low here, especially when considering the cost of living in New York.

EW: Do you have any advice for students looking to move to New York?

TP: Just do it. Don’t think too much about it because your fears and every little thing that could hold you back will. Just remember, even if you end up disliking New York or any new city you move to, at least you can say you tried it.

I struggled a lot when I first moved here; I didn’t have any friends, I was broke and had no help from family, and I was working two jobs trying to make ends meet. Even though it took me some time to figure everything out, I’m now extremely happy with where I am now and the life I’ve created here.

In terms of career — apply, apply, apply. You might have to take a job that you’re not 100 percent happy about, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck there forever. Work hard at what you’re doing in the present, so that you’re prepared for what your future may hold.

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