Thursday, January 27, 2011

Moving to the Big City

It wasn’t long ago when I was discussing with my family for long hours about pursing my career. They questioned why I would move away to pursue a dream of becoming a Fashion Designer? They thought I should be more realistic and stay home and study, law, or medicine. I didn’t take their opinion all too seriously.

Until I saw it on their faces on the day of my graduation at FIDM, had I realized that they were being serious… They really did think I wasn’t going to make it and that my next step would be a big mistake—they thought I was going to end up like one of those girls that move out of the house just to party and have fun, dropping classes and end up dropping out of school as well. That hurt the most. But as I was about to explode into tears, I realized—I had proven them wrong …and I can do it again.

But graduation was only the first step to a new life. I decided to move to New York City… after all is the city where dream are made of, WHY NOT?! I’ve heard that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Let’s just put this to the test.

Of course, at home… some thought the idea was crazy, others thought I was brave.
I didn’t know what to expect until I got here. Once I was in the city and felt the vibe, I was immediately in love with Manhattan.
I arrived in New York on September 7th Center, the day of the Fashion’s Night Out: The Show. When I passed by the Lincoln Center in the town car, they were setting up, at that moment, I felt the world stopped for a few seconds I felt my heart beating fast… and I thought to myself: I am finally HERE!

Then I arrived to my address, I was shocked! It must be a mistake. What is this hood? Living in LA, I was very spoiled. I lived just across the street from FIDM in a luxury apartment with doorman, pool, gym, sauna and a Ralphs across the street and of course, LOTS of space! I must have been crazy. Let’s not talk any more about my living situation. But moving to NY means sacrificing a few things.

Fast forward to surviving my first month as a New Yorker: I scored an interview and landed a job as an assistant designer, joined the gym, started paying for my own stuff, and shopped till I dropped! There were some nights when I wondered how I became so lucky, everything was on track.

A few months ago my company sold the brand that I work for. (Yikes!) In the beginning they said that everything was ok… NOT to look for another job because they were going to keep us all. Last week, the majority of the company was laid-off! 55 to be more exact and the new company took only 20 of those. My boss, the creative director and I ended up with no job. Now I’m back to square one.

Deep breath. This is how life is. I realize that nothing comes handed to you, and I remember those nights thinking that this was too good to be true… and it was. Now I am in the hunt again. Trying to be strong and stand still for whatever is to come. My friend said to me once that when you live in New York City, you are always looking for three things: an apartment, a love or a job. At this moment I am looking for all 3.

--Natalie Alvarado
FIDM Grad, Fashion Design, June 2010
Follow my personal journey on my blog.