Debbie Does New York!

By Posted in - Fashion & The Clairemont Team on July 5th, 2011

Meet our summer intern Debbie Lambeth. Not only do we love having Debbie around the office, but we love hearing all about her adventures both here in the States and abroad. In her most recent rendezvous, Debbie took a trip to New York City. We’d tell you more about it, but no one can tell it better than…well…Debbie!

Debbie (right) poses with Gigi Karmous-Edwards (center), the founder of Uvo, and other Uvo interns at the Fifth Annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards

This month I had the opportunity to travel to New York City with my other part-time internship, Uvo Luxury. Uvo is a start-up, luxury handbag company created by Gigi Karmous-Edwards. She is a former engineer and North Carolina State University research scientist turned handbag designer who decided to follow her passions and establish Uvo.

For Uvo, I work on brand development and marketing, and but I’m a jack of all trades in a lot of ways. Gigi thinks that in order to be successful in this sector, I have to understand the ins and outs of the business, so she invited me and the other interns to the city for a day to explore the bones of her business, as well as attend the Fifth Annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards ceremony in the evening.

A look inside Libra Leather

The Uvo team left last Tuesday afternoon. A 10-hour drive, 3:00 a.m. arrival to our New Jersey hotel and a restful night’s sleep later, we crossed the tunnel early Wednesday morning to begin the adventure. First, Gigi had a private meeting with a potential handbag manufacturer. I got the opportunity to check out the lay of the land there. Having traveled through China for graduate school (in the NCSU College of Textiles – the same program as former intern Whitney) for a half a year, I know what a manufacturing facility looks like, and this place met every preconceived idea. It was clean with a pleasant atmosphere and from what we heard later, is a reliable and well-respected place.

Another look inside Libra Leather — so many choices!

After a New York pizza lunch with a friend, Gigi and I visited different trim shops in the Garment District for crystals and chains for her handbags. We then ventured over to Gigi’s leather supplier, Libra Leather. As soon as we stepped into their showroom, I was captivated! A vintage, rugged atmosphere with more colored and textured leather than you could have imagined in your wildest dreams. Not only were the people there extremely knowledgeable, but everything was also well-sorted and organized, a virtually flawless facility.

After leaving Gigi to do her magic haggling, the intern team made a trip to the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), where we had a chance to see the “Sporting Life” exhibit, where outfits represented fashionable sport clothing of centuries past and present. The museum is free and allows no photograhy – only designers with their sketchpads to gain inspiration.

A busy New York City day then turned into a busy New York City night as we dressed to impress for the handbag designer awards. Hosted by InStyle and with tons of up and coming designers and already established big names, I was in heaven. After the awards were over and Gigi got the opportunity to chit-chat with the host of the event, the accessories buyer for Saks and a few other musts, we collected our goody bags, took Hollywood-esque photos with the InStyle backdrop and grabbed some food. We headed back to Jersey for some beauty rest before we were Raleigh-bound Thursday morning.

What an awesome, educational and encouraging trip! I feel so lucky to have these kinds of opportunities, and I am so thankful for my internships at Uvo and Clairemont, where my bosses are willing to give me so much hands-on experience and support my passions!

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