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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Welcome to the Dark Side

2014-10-10 07.30.37With the new movie set to come out next year and with the boyfriend who’s love for Star Wars that had permeated my mind, I couldn’t help but be inspired to design a look of my own. Sure there were cute graphic tees out there…but they were mostly for men, hardly any for women, besides the one I had stumbled upon at target, as featured in a previous post. I found several on amazon as well, but I wanted something more unique, more “fashionable.” I couldn’t afford the star wars emblazoned runway dresses from Rodarte.

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Plus I’m not so sure those gowns are something you’d stride around in on the day to day.

Working in fashion you’d think I’d be on top of it and have a skater skirt or two in my closet by now, but I didn’t, and so that’s how I decided on my silhouette. I was hesitant to pursue this idea, because the last I had seen star wars fabrics at Joanns they were more so designed for linens rather than for apparel. I wasn’t in a patient enough mood to search and order fabric online either. I made the trip to joanns and stumbled upon a discovery of new star wars fabrics. Even better it was glow in the dark! Gahhh, how cool was that! I was sold.

I bought the fabric, drafted a circle skirt pattern, and whipped it out to wear for work the next day. Paired it with a quilted sweater from target, a simple gold necklace and my favorite booties. It definitely made for conversation at work, both for its star wars print and for its silhouette.

I shall leave you with this….May the force be with you!

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Happy Halloween, no sexy just classy. What says classy more than chanel?

Happy Halloween Eve.
Ive been in corporate world for almost two years now and have never been a lingerie sporting girl during this festive fav of a holiday. I also try to stay away from the usual nurses, cops, w/e. So I wanted something classy and rare.

Since I work for a fashion company I figured this costume would be perfect! Id expect almost everyone in the office to recognize who I was. We after all, are designers, and buyers ourselves no? Well they got it and loved it, however I had a few complimenters who liked my outfit as opposed to it being a costume, not realizing that it was indeed a costume.

Our office held a costume contest (which I decided not to partake, not to mention my team and I were swamped in designing the back to school 2015 collection) and even brought in professional pumpkin carvers.

Well that was just at work, Halloween isn’t over yet, wait to see my costume tomorrow!

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Pumpkin spice and Pencil skirts

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I tossed my make up bag into my tote along with the rest of the overnight items I had packed. My boyfriend was in Manhattan for the week for an interview and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity. NYC is like one of my many second homes and I had a moment of spontaneity. My flight was booked for me to leave right after work. We would meet in Little Italy for dinner and I would return back to Columbus early morning to make it in time for work friday. I even brought out my white wool coat which hadn’t been worn since I had it dry cleaned last year.

throughout the day I had thought to myself as long as I stay focused and worked really hard I would be out in time. But as misfortune would have it today was probably my busiest day this week. We were designing this and we were designing that we were preparing to present this to also present that while also meeting for this and for that.

At 4:30 my phone buzzed with a curious text, only to reveal disappointing news. Flight from Columbus to Newark New Jersey canceled due to traffic control conditions. whatever that meant. it had been about eight months since my last visit but to me eight months felt like decades so the news was rather depressing. Or maybe I was more so bummed out by the fact that this was so spontaneous and that is what made it much more exciting. I frantically tried to search alternative flights. all the New York flights were canceled the next flight into LaGuardia would not get me there until tomorrow Friday morning and the last and final flight available was to JFK however that was to depart at 6:50 and with the way work was looking I was not leaving that office until 6:15.

The reality sank in, I was not going tonight, and I returned my focus to finishing out the day.

We were prepping for our big meeting tomorrow where our team would present the summer design collection to the CEO. Finally 6:15 and the crazy day began to wind down and we would pick it up again tomorrow morning. Boy did I love the crazy world of design but it’s still hard to beat my love for New York. I sulked to my car and made my way to target where I could let my mind wander and not have to think about big decisions. After all my whole day was comprised of quick thinking as well as quick moving. I made my way out of target with pear and Gorgonzola pizza in one hand and pumpkin spice cookie dough in the other hand. While checking out the woman behind me took time to complement and admire my nails while the cashier had commented on my outfit and my bag. It was such a small yet nice way to end my shopping therapy and cracked a smile on my face.

While I missed out on pasta in little Italy with my dearest I ended instead with pizza, Pinot, and pumpkin. And sure, I didn’t make it to New York tonight but I sure dress like I’m there everyday.

So can you….bc who needs NYC to feel or look good, do it anywhere, do it everyday!

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My outfit:
-rampage white wool belted trench
-target black quilted heathered sweater
-black pencil skirt
-gold buckled belt
-nude Steve Madden bag
-black heel booties

-nails courtesy of Pinterest

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Faux Flower Child

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Faux because I’m not exactly a flower child, though it seems as everyone now a days that wears a crown of flowers seems to hashtag their pictures with #flowerchild or the likes. I love the earth but have no right to claim myself as a true tree hugger. I recycle at work bc the bins are there. At home the only thing I recycle are beer bottles so that my boyfriend and I have some for when we brew. I don’t hug trees, but I do have a “money tree” that sits on my desk and gets water on a weekly basis. I also don’t live a simple life, my closet is too full of evidence for that.

Funny thing is I swore myself away from the floral crown trend when it first boomed. All I saw were filtered pics everywhere with girls in flower crowns high waist cut offs and crop tops, throwing up peace signs. And I rolled my eyes at it thinking “what now everyone is suddenly a peace Mother Nature lover? Just bc the crowns are a trend?” Now don’t get me wrong it’s a cute outfit but it was a little redundant and to my point, people were wearing it how they thought it had to be worn instead of wearing it in their own way.

My office was in sample sale mode. I fished it out of a bin, passed up on it, where it later fell into my hands again within ten minutes. I stared at it. The flowers were obnoxiously huge, could I really pull this off? Then decided heck, why not, it’s a penny steal, I could challenge myself to find my own way of wearing it and if not well then it could make for a good centerpiece/Christmas decoration? I let it sit in the bag when I got home, and it stayed there for another few days.

It was a presentation day. My team was going to present their designs to the execs, and so I wanted to wear something a little more striking. I don’t know what it was but I thought about those flowers. They were a pretty loud accessory and couldn’t be easily ignored. But what to balance it? My favorite sheer long black maxi, in place of a long vintage floral one, my Bcbg feather printed v neck, in place of a billowy blouse, and a black belt with sleek gold hardware. I wanted to give the flowers a taste of my style instead of the other way around.

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I pinned my hair so it fell to one side, then wrapped the florals around my head.

It indeed said something. Something enough to generate a small conversation about it during the meeting. Thankfully good things.

So go ahead, try something new, but do it in your own way. This goes for all aspects in life. But you know that already.

Happy hump day!