It’s a rare thing for me to post without photos, actually in all of the years that I have had a blog not a single post was “photo-free” until now.
Without photos of the people I will write about, I am stripping you of the ability to evaluate them by physical appearance – I understand some that read this will know exactly what these people look like, but that’s okay. It’s okay because they are one of “them”. And while I am not mentioning all of them, my thoughts and feelings toward them are all the same. Admiration, respect and love.
As someone that has always had a passion for fashion, design, art & creativity, I have attended numerous ENK Children’s Club fashion trade shows over the years. I’ve also attended a few in Las Vegas recently and many many moons ago. The atypical scene is usually designers sizing up other designers, the fear of direct duplication, competition, whose booth is filled with buyers and whose isn’t. I have, over the years, been directly interrogated as to which designer was the “best”, who was most “notable”, who “copied” who, along with who actually IS the designer and what are their qualifications. None of these conversations were ever repeated. Most don’t even know that they existed, I’m not nor have I ever been a kiss and tell kinda girl. Instead, I see the worry, the wonder and the constant questioning of their own abilities. There is a quote I found on Pinterest, “the problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence”.
This past Children’s Club show was by far the largest one I have ever been in attendance for. I’m not even certain of how many exhibitors were even there. What I did notice was a completely different attitude. Seasoned designers were actually walking the show, introducing themselves to the new seeds and even offering them extremely knowledgeable advice. They were listening and they were offering support and encouragement. In exchange, the new seeds’ eyes were lighting up, they were sharing social media advice, along with other futuristic apps, and instantly following & liking each other’s photos on Instagram. Not in an effort to replicate or deceive, in a sincere showing of support for the new “friend” they made.
Zack & his lovely partner, Taylor of Baby Beast. Zack, whom I am absolutely adore & am bursting with pride for, is 24 and from Detroit, MI. He started as a sports/music celebrity stylist and quickly developed a passion for designing his own collection. Zack lost his mother at age 12 yet he (with or without knowing it) frequently referred to her in conversations. He opened all doors for us while saying “My mom would be mad if I didn’t”, he led the way through crowded isles- again citing his mom would insist upon it. 24 years old. Seasoned designers were sending down their retailers to check him out and Zack & Taylor in turn were doing the same. An instant game of Retailer Ping Pong ensued and more exhibitors joined in on the fun by dropping other exhibitors names, booth numbers and encouraging retailers to go see them. A first. ever.
Stacey Barneveld of La Miniatura (my master) instantly initiated conversations with all of the booths surrounding hers. An immediate bond was formed with 3 of them directly across the isle. Two of them were relatively new, LaToia of the amazing Dillonger Clothing (New Jersey) and Celsa & Linda of Doodle Do (London) along with my Chicago love for years designer, Stella Blu (Erin & Stacy). Over dinner with LaToia, Celsa & Linda one evening, I discovered that all 3 were avid readers and fans of The Secret. If you know me then you also know The Secret literally saved my life more than once. And for me, this was what made this whole bizarre behavior going on at ENK make sense. The universe was speaking volumes and people were listening. It’s a simple fact that everyone who stood in a booth on their feet mostly for up to 9 hours each day were all there for the same reason. Same goals, Same desires, Same feelings, Same thoughts, = Same Same.
Jeana & David Anderson of Rowen Christian Couture several times served as lookout for the booths located near the back. At ENK if you are an exhibitor your eyes are always directly on what color of lanyard people are wearing. This time it was Red for retailers (the target). Texts were flying across the isles when big name retailers and popular children’s boutiques were spotted. It was a direct reflection of a level of camaraderie that I have never personally witnessed before. To say it was amazing isn’t even enough. David also discovered “the best coffee in nyc” and graciously delivered vanilla lattes to our booth.
Melissa Joan Hart of King of Harts was a regular visitor to our booth along with several others and the extension of support was reciprocated back to hers as well.
Lynn & Harald of Appaman whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for a few years now, were their usual extraordinarily friendly selves. Always asking about Wynn, about our move to LA, they remember my life and where I am and what is going on. True New Yorkers whom I will always adore. Several times I spotted each of them talking to other exhibitors, extending friendship and knowledge.
Some of you may think that this isn’t a big deal. Some may think this was normal behavior for a trade show. All I can tell you is what I have experienced many times in the past and this behavior was in fact far from normal. It was wonderful. The energy felt throughout the entire building was comparable to an electrifying concert. One that has you standing up the whole night. Singing, laughing and experiencing nothing but love and compassion. There is a new criteria for exhibitors of fashion trade shows: only love is welcome there. Lifting people up, watching them succeed without jealousy and enjoying your own success as well since after all what you put out is what you get back. Positive energy promotes positive energy.
So about this Open Letter to ENK Children’s Club, it’s really an open letter to you and my hope that everyone will adopt this “new” way of thinking and the way to really treat people – to extend kindness and refrain from judgement. always.