midwest to manhattan: that midwest spirit

For whatever reason, New York has always remained in my line of vision and someday I hope to live there. Who doesn't have that dream? Midwest to Manhattan is an ongoing series here on the site, dedicated to folks with connections to both the Midwest and Manhattan.

Last month, Erika Veurink kicked things off and this month, we have Eileen Moores sharing lessons she's learned while working in the fashion industry. 

If you'd asked me five years ago where I'd live after college, I wouldn't have said Brooklyn, New York.

When I first entered Iowa State University, my major was in Elementary Education and the thought of having any type of career in fashion never struck me as being very feasible. But on the first day of classes, I changed my major to fashion because I was so impressed by the resources and opportunities within that department.

During my spring semester, our guest designer was former ISU alum, Todd Snyder. I instantly fell in love with his aesthetic and after seeing his designs, I knew two things: I wanted to work in menswear and I wanted to work for Todd.  

A couple of years later, I was accepted into an internship with TS and following graduation, I was offered a position with them in New York City. I've lived and worked here for close to two years now and I can’t believe it! Who knew moving to Iowa would give me the opportunity to live in New York?

Living here in New York City is fascinating. You meet the most interesting people, observe the most peculiar things, and see the same faces on the train every day, but never really get the chance to speak to any of them. When I first moved here, I tried to strike up conversations with folks on the train, but it mostly just ended with them thinking I was hitting on them…whoops!

I know that it's often assumed when you move to the Big Apple you'll become another “cold-hearted New Yorker" but I disagree. I've found that my Midwestern spirit hasn't hardened quite yet. In fact, many of my coworkers are Midwesterner's, too, and Todd himself was born and raised in Iowa! They're all kind and generous with their time and talents. I guess their Midwest spirit hasn't hardened yet either.

One of my favorite "new York moments" was meeting one of my role models, Michael Hainey, who at the time was the Deputy Editor at GQ and author of the book After Visiting Friends. {Editor's note: both myself and Eileen highly recommend this book!} 

Back in the summer of 2013, TS was just starting to get on the radar with Vogue and CFDA and whenever we had parties, we invited editors and other influential people within the industry. Michael was a regular at these parties and I always wanted to approach him, but felt slightly intimidated at the thought of striking up a conversation with someone of his stature.

But on the last day of my internship, I saw Michael waiting outside for his car and decided it was now or never: I had to introduce myself. Thankfully, our conversation went really well and he even invited me to visit him at GQ! I took him up on the invitation and he sat down with me and give me advice on how to make it in the industry.

Both Todd and Michael have roots in the Midwest and while both have found success in New York City, neither have forgotten where they came from or how hard they worked to get to where they are today. I admire them greatly for this. 

I think one of the main things I've learned while living in New York City is that you can take the Midwesterner out of the Midwest, but you can’t take the Midwest spirit out of the Midwesterner.