When I was growing up I wanted to be a fashion designer. I loved drawing fashion illustrations as a kid and fantasizing about all the clothes I would love to have. In 1966 I was accepted into the High School of Art & Design in NYC. I majored in fashion illustration because sewing and making patterns was not a strong point. I did really well and my drawing skills earned me a National Schoolastic art award in 1967.
However, in order to pursue this career one needed skills in advertising layout and mechanicals. Newspapers and printing were not computerized and knowledge of how illustrations were printed was important. This was my demise. My ADHD and learning disabilities made it impossible for me. So I decided to try pursuing positions as a designer sketch artist.
1970’s garment center was not an easy place to work.
I was a scared 18 year old. I didn’t know how to work. I took the first job offered to me sketching for a designer in a well known fashion company. She was paranoid about her designs being stolen so she locked me up all day alone in a room waiting for her to ask me to sketch a design. The boredom and isolation as well as her impending paranoia became unbearable. I quit that.
The next job was with a discount dress firm. I was hired to sketch their designs on figures to present to buyers before the samples were made. I did a number of sketches one day to be shown to a buyer coming in that night. The next day I came in and found all the sketches I did with their heads cut off. I was so upset. The owner came and told me my heads were ugly and the only way he could show the designs to the buyer was to cut the heads off. Needless to say I walked out of that job vowing to never work in the garment center again.