Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fashion, Espresso, and Cigarettes

     During my trip to Italy, I was able to do some pretty incredible things. However, I did not expect my co-op employer to help set up one of my favorite adventures. During the 2014-2015 fall and winter terms, I was lucky enough to work for Nation Design, a company in New York that handles all stages of design and production for their clients' clothing and accessories collections. One of the clients I was lucky enough to help with during my time at Nation Design was HSN. Before I left for Rome, I emailed the CEO of Nation Design to let her know that I was leaving and to ask her if she would like any pictures of street style of storefronts while I was in Italy. After arriving in Italy, she emailed me back telling me she was going to set up a meeting for me with HSE24, the Italian HSN branch. I couldn't believe that she would take the time to set this up for me, and I couldn't wait to learn all about HSE24. 
     The HSE24 office was absolutely beautiful- the company just moved there around 2 years ago, so it's a brand new building. Nunzia, the buyer I was set up with, was extremely kind. She picked me up at the train station and everything! She gave me the full tour of the office starting with the sample room. It was the one part of the office that was outside in a warehouse-type room, and they called it the oven because it got so hot for the people running it. She showed me some of the lines I had worked with in NYC, as they were just starting to introduce new American HSN lines to their repertoire. 
     Just as a side note, as you probably know, Italians are very into coffee and cigarettes, especially during work. Nunzia offered me both, and I didn't want to be even more awkward than I already was, so I fell into the peer pressure and drank a shot of espresso followed by a cigarette break. I don't drink coffee and I don't smoke cigarettes, so needless to say, I was feeling pretty hyped for my tour after all of that. I'm glad I decided to partake because we had a nice chat over the cigarette, and now I can say I took a traditional Italian coffee and smoke break during work!
     She then took me over to the studios where the head of production gave me a tour of two of the actual TV studios. I was able to see the fashion studio (which was not being used that hour), where they made me walk down the "runway" from backstage as if I were modeling the clothes on TV. Then, I was able to see the home goods/kitchen studios. At the time, there was a live show happening at the home goods studio, so I was able to watch the live show from behind the cameras. I couldn't understand anything they were saying, but it seemed like they were pretty excited about a comforter. This part of the tour was a big deal for me because I have never been to a TV studio! While working at Nation Design, I learned a lot about how clothes need to be designed a certain way to appeal to people on TV. It was interesting to see the design process I helped with come to life on TV, even if it was with home goods. He also showed me the makeup rooms, the rooms where they prep the clothing before going on air, and the editing rooms where they live edit the content that goes on air. 
     Nunzia then took me upstairs to meet with some of her direct colleagues in the fashion department. I was able to meet her boss as well as the head buyer. Everyone spoke very good English, so it was easy for me to learn about their positions as well as the company. It was fascinating hearing about all of the different roles necessary at HSE24, since they need people to help with the TV studios, customer service for questions and help, fashion, home goods, the online store, and almost every other category imaginable!
     I am really lucky to have worked for such a supportive company for my co-op. They were so generous to set up this tour for me. It was an experience I will never forget, and it just goes to show that you never know when people from your past will be able to support you in the future. 

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The home goods studio during a live show.

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The kitchen studio during the set-up process.

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The fashion and accessories studio waiting for a live show.

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Posing with Nunzia after a tour of the fashion and accessories studio!

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