Designer Diary post 1: “I like girls that wear abercrombie and fitch”

I think its about time I finally write about my career journey, what brought me to where I am now. I’ve had a few readers and instagram followers ask the “how to’s” and “whats” to becoming a fashion designer.

The truth, first of all, is that there is no one single right path to where you want to be in this industry. I’ve met so many people along the way and not one story is the same. So what I am sharing here is just the path I took. I’m hoping it gives some insight, but never indicate that its how it should be done. After all, we are creative people right? And how creative would that be if we all had the same stories?!

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My dad was scolding me to get off of the computer. Time was passing by while I was stuck in my own little world picking out colors and patterns for Barbie’s outfits on the runway. My aunt had bought me “Fashion Design Barbie” CD rom for the PC. Little did I know at 5 years old that I would be designing actual doll clothes amongst many other things 20 years later.

After several changes of career paths, from wanting to be Snow White, to a Doctor, to a Nurse, to an Artist, it wasn’t until I shopped an Abercrombie store that everything sort of started to fall in line for me. I know right, that basic store of a daunting moose and over-sprayed cologne was my inspiration?! I was from a small town, social media was still emerging, and I was in middle school when the trend of large logos were still relevant. Can you really blame me? I was gently picking up corners of tops and bottoms as I skimmed through the store and stopped at a white lace skirt. My mom was trailing behind and already knew why I stopped. Before I could say it, she read the look in my eyes and said to me “I can teach you to make that instead, it will be cheaper and nicer.” I’m always one for a bargain, especially when it looks nice (in case you didn’t know and you haven’t already seen my frugal fashionista website). I always knew my mom could sew, she made our clothes and costumes when we were tiny tots. I guess I had kind of forgotten and then never considered the fact that she could teach me.

We headed over to Joann Fabrics, she introduced the pattern books to me and we looked through them together to find one that resembled the mini skirt. Then we picked out a white fabric with tonal white mini florals. At home she cut out the pattern and began to walk me through the steps. We didn’t even read the instructions, we just constructed from her knowledge. With something as simple as a skirt though, the putting together of the pieces just made sense. Shapes would fit perfectly together and I could envision it. It was like a puzzle and you knew exactly how to put the pieces together. After completing the first skirt together I was so excited. I loved how the finished product looked, and it was definitely way better than what we had seen at AnF. In fact we designed it to be two tiered instead of the one. She was beautiful!

I wore her to school the next day and felt many eyes follow it. It was exhilarating and empowering. I just felt different, and in a good way.

Growing up in an asian household I had very strict parents, I was hardly ever out during the weekdays. But this time I was ok with it. I had found something to take up my time at home. I loved it so much it didn’t even bother me. The days in middle school and high school seemed so wasteful to me. Now let me say, I would never condone rebelling your high school years, but because I had fallen in love with something and knew what I was ready for, I was over the petty things that high school had to offer me so I had always looked forward to going home and starting a new project and pursuing my new found dream. I had a new outfit almost every week. Since that day I had learned from my mom, I got better at it. I practiced it, and dedicated myself to it. It was addicting, it was a rush. It became my voice, my identity, it made me stand out from everyone else. I had quickly ditched the AnF look and invented my own. My walls started to fill up with magazine tears from every issue of vogue I collected. The next creation of mine came from inspiration drawn from those tears. Every single one of my formal gowns after my freshman year was of my own design.

My frequented trips to Joann’s were like the trips an 8 year old takes to a candy store. I walked in there and felt like I had the whole world in my hands. I could have whatever I wanted. I mean literally, whatever I wanted I could make. Sort of anyway, at least thats how I felt. As I walked through isles I’d look at fabrics and see a dress, a skirt, a sundress, a sweetheart top and so on. I couldn’t stop, my ideas would run wild and I would become overwhelmed with them. My mom had quickly helped me turn it into a business. On ebay we would scour the “DIY dresses” and see what sold, then made our own versions that sold too. It was exciting to watch people buy your work. You knew that someone some where was going to the mall or to lunch or to a party in your creation. We continued it up until I began college.

Within this timing was my first trip to New York City. I was about 13 and though the sights were fun, I was more intrigued by the amount of resources available to a designer. Everything was there. This began my love for NYC and I knew that there would be no other city that would compare for me. The energy I felt within I felt there too. I knew I would return someday.

I graduated high school with my B average grades and a computer generated award of “best dressed” and booked it out of there. I was ready for whatever my future had in store for me, I had already visited the fashion schools of my choice. It wasn’t clear what my future had in store but I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like…I went after it, with no regrets, and no turning back.

-The Fashion School Graduate
look out for post 2

follow me on instagram: maryanncarandang
you can check out my website for frugal fashion finds: http://www.maryanncarandang.com
have industry questions? need fashion tips? email me: maryannfashionstyling@yahoo.com

Illustrating spring

Hello loves it’s been a while. I’ve been encountering a lot of busy weeks at work and just returned not too long ago from travelling in Europe! 

But with warm weather finally making an appearance again I’ve been inspired to start sketching! 

Maybe they’ll become a reality? 

We will see, I’ll keep you posted.





Cbus sips illustration series

In celebration of ohio state moving on to the championship game I was inspired to illustrate a series dedicated to my beloved buckeyes! The series is titled “Cbus sips” and is a collection of ohio illustrated mugs which can be purchased at http://www.etsy.com/shop/tomandmarys

O-H! I-O!

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Fashionistas with Firearms

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I was never a super fan of guns but at the same time never against having them either. Growing up and going to school near a rural area you met a lot of people who were into hunting. I dated a guy or two throughout high school who owned their own guns, had friends both male and female who also owned guns for hunting. My boyfriend owns at least three firearms for protection and collection. Even in the fashion industry here I know quite the handful of women who own pistols and shot guns, I would be next.

As you get older you tend to find that the news has become part of your daily routine. You have it on in the morning where you’ll listen in to at least three or four stories in between blow drying your hair and applying your foundation. In the evening it’s on again after you’ve come home from work and stripped down to bed appropriate clothing.

It is the news that reminded me of how much danger lurks when you don’t expect it, or how unfortunate events happen to people everyday. I’m not ignorant to the fact that bad things do happen, but I do fall into that category of people who usually roll the saying over in their heads “that won’t happen to me.” But a particular recent occurrence pulled at me. Maybe it was the intensity of the video? The horrifying stress portrayed in the victim’s struggle? The clip being aired was the one of the young nurse who was abducted in Philadelphia. Watching the man drag her across the pavement while she kicked and fought, sickened me. Especially knowing that she was feeling much worse than what I was feeling just watching it. It was that video alone at that moment that tipped the scale towards definitely wanting to protect myself using all means available.

I had always carried pepper spray and a stun gun. I took a brief self defense course, but I wanted what I felt in my mind would be the ultimate protection for my small stature. You should know that weapons are an absolute last resort, but in the case that all my other defenses should fail I wanted to be prepared to the fullest. Having my parents home broken into three times within the last two years also helped me to decide I needed the perfect home defense…

I signed up for a ccw class. My boyfriend and I had been shooting for quite some time. When I told him how I felt, I had his full support. We took to the range several times throughout the last few months, and then finally committed to this class.

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As required by the state of ohio, we went through the 12 hour class. It was long but very interesting and informative. It also helped me with my aim and with my stance.

And so we completed that class in a day.

I couldn’t be more excited at this opportunity to practice our right brought on by 2nd amendment.

Just a few more steps in the process and I shall soon be a carrying citizen.

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