Thursday, November 26, 2009

30 Floors: UP

Wednesday, November 25, 2009:
The day began like any other at the Michigan Avenue Magazine office. I got in before anyone else arrived to share a "good morning" over the sounds of keyboards and phone calls. I love being the first one at the office. There's something enchanting about walking into a room untouched from the bustling day before. Almost immediately, the stories of the office come alive as I pass layouts to be edited, glossy stacks of current issues and computer screens with email inboxes full of waiting questions. Yes, it was a day like any other, but the conclusion would prove to be much different than the ones before...

It was my last day as an intern at Michigan Avenue Magazine.

As I sat at my desk answering the questions on my screen, the Michigan Avenue team began to arrive. It was the day before Thanksgiving, so it wasn't the full house I've become accustomed to. Editor-in-chief Susanna Negovan arrived and came over to chat with me about our time together. In just two and a half months I have learned so many things about the inner workings of a luxury magazine and many more lessons about myself along the way. Together we laughed and talked about some of the experiences and she shared her thoughts about my performance and my future career aspirations.

The Michigan Avenue Magazine lobby:

Though it was a calm day, there was still plenty to be done (magazines don't write themselves!) I worked with Susanna to complete a project for an upcoming issue, had lunch, took down my "inspiration wall" and it was almost time to go. As I sat at my desk, I recalled the experience that I have had over the course of my internship. In such a short time I have learned so much about myself and have met some of the smartest, most hard working, dedicated and influential people I have ever come across (and they're gorgeous to boot!)

Never a bad view from the conference room:

As I write this now, only an hour after arriving home from Thanksgiving dinner, I realize that I have so much to be thankful for. To the many people I have met along the way who have continued to support me on my journey, I thank you. To my family that has stuck by me when I didn't know who I was or where life was taking me, I thank you. To the many true friends that humble me and keep me laughing through it all, I thank you. To the people I have had the honor of working with at Michigan Avenue, while growing and learning more about myself and the city I love, I thank you.

As I sign off for now, I am left feeling nostalgic about the past, yet optimistic about the journey that begins after graduation. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. My time at Michigan Avenue Magazine may be done for now, but there is so much more ahead.

Watch out "real" world.

Here I come.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Success: The Seminar

Friday, November 20, 2009:
The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago presented the "Student Success Seminar" to further prepare students for their future careers in the fashion industry. The seminar was perfectly guided by the wonderful Mr. Richard Petrizzi. As a professor at ILIA, Mr. P is an inspiring individual with an attitude so positive, he can raise you out of a homework meltdown with just a smile.

The day began with an introduction by Pat Giller and Jill Hinrichs from Career Services offering guidance and assistance in helping us to shape our careers. They were followed by a panel of current students speaking about their internships at some of Chicago's most exciting companies. Sherry Roath spoke about producing fashion shows and handling aspects of marketing at Water Tower Place. Jessica DeGolyer shared her experience with GenArt, a company that strives to give a voice to emerging designers and artists. I spoke about my time at Michigan Avenue Magazine as an intern for the editor-in-chief, working with many other fantastic interns and industry professionals.

The panel was followed by some inspiration from instructors Dan Robison, Shireen Musa and personal mentor of mine, Sandra Henderson-Williams. They shared their insights on the industry and how their careers were shaped. (They also made us laugh quite a bit.) Later, Michael Johnson shared his top tips for staying sharp in the job market and Richard Petrizzi made us think deeper. (He also reminded us of all the fantastic acronyms he uses.)

Mr. P, you're FABE.

Mr. P and his bag of fantastic prizes:

After lunch, a panel of industry professionals joined the seminar to share stories and answer questions. David Ginople (owner of Store B), Troy Parrish (Visual Manager at Gap on Michigan Avenue), Beatrice Moore (sales and visuals for Gap), Kevin Sullivan (owner, Kevin Sullivan Events), Sandra Henderson-Williams (instructor at three of the city's top art colleges, former Senior Buyer for Sears), Lidia Wachowska (ILIA instructor with a background in academia) and Barbara Glass (Image and Wardrobe Consultant, contributing NBC5 reporter and blog writer of

The seminar wrapped up with a clever speech from Mr. P and the students and professionals had some time to network and learn more about each other. I got the chance to meet some some fantastic fellow students and was able to share with them my experiences and successes as I approach graduation. With only one official day left* at Michigan Avenue Magazine and less than four weeks of school, I find myself diving quickly into the unknown.

Which is just fine by me.


*I will may come back to Michigan Avenue Magazine for a day or two a week. :)

Dan Robison schools us on Team Work:

Michael Johnson gets us ready to interview:

Back: Kevin Sullivan, Barbara Glass, Sandra Henderson-Williams,
Lidia Wachowska

Front: Troy Parrish, Beatrice Moore, David Ginople

Two of my very favorite people, looking gorgeous!
Barbara Glass and Sandra Henderson-Williams:

Myself with one of my best buds, Barbara Glass:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jimmy Choo + H&M + Barbara Glass = FREE SHOES.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009:
A contest has been announced on, a Chicago fashion blog kept by the fantastic Barbara Glass. The offering? A chance to win a pair of Jimmy Choo for H&M flats (size 39;)! Luckily, Barbara and I are are like family, so she asked me to pass along the details to all of you!

Have a look at the video and then read on for further instructions. (Unless of course you don't like FREE shoes.) Did I mention that when Jimmy Choo for H&M launched in the Chicago market at the Michigan Avenue location (11.14.09) it sold out in like, 30 seconds?! (Extra credit: It's also the first time Jimmy Choo has offered a women's AND men's clothing line, as well as men's shoes (in addition to the fantastic selection of accessories and women's shoes that the brand is known for.) H&M also has plans for a collaboration with Sonia Rykiel to produce an exclusive collection of lingerie, and, for next spring, a knitwear collection for women, and girls, aged 18 months to 8 years. So even your little nuggets can be chic.)

So, now that you've learned and earned your extra credit, have a look at the video and get moving on winning yourself a pair of Jimmy Choo's!


Barbara pretty much covers the details in the video, but just in case you missed it, I've posted the Contest Rules here:

1) Check at now to find the Jimmy Choo x H&M Giveaway Contest!!!! post and leave a comment under the video.
2) Send an email to (12 sentences MAX) explaining why YOU should win the Jimmy Choo shoes.
3) You MUST become (or already be a fan of) the
Barbara Glass Facebook Fan Page!

**Only the first 50 Facebook fans who both comment and email will be eligible.**

Good luck and thanks for following!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hey Designers! Get Creative.

"The Creative Lounge Chicago hosts the virtual conference Threading the Needle. Fashion Research Institute & Chicago Creative Lounge invites you to attend Threading the Needle: The Future of Fashion Design, the first virtual world-based fashion design conference in history.

Threading the Needle gathers eight fashion industry thought leaders to present their views on a range of topics designed to help a global audience of fashion businesses and fashion designers 'thread their needle' and launch their careers. And as anyone who has ever had hand sewn a hem knows, there is a trick to threading a needle.
Please join us on Thursday, December 3rd from 7 am - 4 pm at this free conference for designers, fashion design students, and fashion related businesses.

The Creative Lounge Chicago, located at the corner of Damen, Milwaukee & North Ave, will project the conference live at their 3rd floor loft. Skype will be set up for participants to interact and ask questions to the guest speakers live. Take part in this free opportunity, gain insight into the fashion industry and interact with successful leaders in the field and your peers. To read more about the conference:

1564 N. Damen Ave, 3rd Floor
Please RSVP or direct questions to:
Include the subject line: Threading the Needle"


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Casey Gorham Photo Shoot: Behind-the-Scenes Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2009:

A few weeks ago, I was asked to help organize a photo shoot for friend and talented photographer, Casey Gorham. We met between classes and shifts at work (Casey is also a co-worker of mine) to discuss the project that she envisioned. She wanted me to assist her with a fashion photo shoot to broaden her body of work and sharpen her skills as an artist and a photographer. I quickly agreed and signed on as Assistant Stylist and Creative Director. Together we discussed the end product she desired, scheduled the time and I got to work finding models and garments.

It took only seconds for me to decide on the perfect talent and I immediately reached out to friends, Chelsey Carter and Christina Mighty. (Not only are these girls gorgeous, talented and intelligent--they also have style for DAYS.) Chelsey is a model and emerging fashion designer of her own line, Alex Carter. Christina is a Chicago model with an eye for styling. Both have attended the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago as my fellow classmates. Needless to say, I was thrilled and eager to work with all these creative women on this project.

Standing-in, as Casey Gorham set the lighting and began test shots:

We went to work setting up the space for the shoot. Casey assembled and placed the lights and I hung the backdrop (which would later be cut out of the photos.) She wanted tight shots, so we were able to use a very small amount of space to achieve her look. The girls brought a stunning array of their personal garments--vintage pieces, original designs, hand-me-downs--plenty to choose from. Together we chose the clothes, make-up, accessories and shoes for each shot and the girls got to work.

The result is a series of fantastic images that Casey will use to produce an art installation and thesis project. Included here are just a few behind-the-scenes photographs from the shoot. Keep an eye out for the final images, posted here, as soon as I get my hands on them! A big thanks to Casey for allowing me the opportunity to help bring her vision to life, and a big thanks to Chelsey and Christina for their positive attitudes, hard work--and gorgeous closets.

Have a look!

The shoot begins:

Models: Christina Mighty (L) and
Chelsey Carter (lookin' smashing in my bowtie!) (R)
with photographer, Casey Gorham:

"Excuse me sir. I'm going to need you to stop right there.":

The "warm" (hot!) color-story:

R.M.B. checks the details:

Chelsey Carter (L) and Christina Mighty (R):

Ms. Mighty:

Jewel tones, anyone?:

Casey Gorham photographs Chelsey Carter:

A collar-ed Christina:

Fringe and sequins, what could be better?:

Christina takes a stance:

Chelsey in vintage fringe:

Remember to check back for the final photos..
As always, thanks for reading TBM!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Susanna's Day Out: FGI Career Day

Friday, November 13, 2009:
I had the honor of accompanying Susanna Negovan, editor-in-chief of Michigan Avenue Magazine, to the Fashion Group International Career Day at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago and the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza. A strong turnout of students from across the country joined together to network, ask questions and learn more about the industries they are passionate about. Ann Higby of Hatch PR and myself facilitated two sessions of talks with Susanna and a packed classroom full of students with a passion for fashion journalism. She spoke of her personal experiences and how her intelligent career choices have allowed her to reach great success. As one of my mentors, it was inspiring to have the opportunity to learn more about her journey. The job of an editor-in-chief is not an easy task, I assure you. Yet, it's a career that Susanna handles with grace and a sense of humor.

I've said it once and I'll say it again. I'm so proud to be a member of the team at Michigan Avenue. As graduation approaches in just less than 5 weeks, it seems I'm learning more than ever..

A bit ironic, isn't it?


p.s. Have a look at some of the students dressed to impress on Chicago's Got Style

Susanna Negovan, Ryan M. Beshel:

Susanna Negovan speaks to students:

Student designer pieces:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago's Honors Achievement Luncheon

The view from the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: The administrators and faculty representatives from the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago held a luncheon to honor students who have successfully maintained a GPA of 3.5/4.0, or higher, for four or more consecutive quarters. I was honored to have been invited to the event, held at Rumba on 351 West Hubbard Street, and was happy to be joined by many of my fellow students. I arrived at the restaurant around noon, checked in and found a swanky seat next to friend and fellow student, Sherry Roath. We were joined at the booth by a couple other stellar students and had coffee and caught up before the lunch began.

Sherry Roath, Ryan M. Beshel:

Leading the ceremony was the Academic Directors, Student Affairs Administrators, the ILIAC Executive Committee and the Vice President of Academic Affairs--all present to recognize the achievements of each and every student at the event. After lunch, we all received a Certificate of Achievement...and an amazing piece of chocolate cake. (Side note: I have no problem being bribed with cake.)

It was truly a wonderful day to reflect on this amazing journey, both as individuals and as a fellow students. As I approach the last weeks of my college career I am excited, terrified, confident, and exhausted (and a million other emotions that race through my head until I slip into sleep). But, after walking out of the restaurant into the cool city air that afternoon, I felt proud. Proud that I have made it this far. Proud of the achievements of friends and fellow students. Proud to represent a school that I respect.

Many thanks go out to everyone responsible for such a winning afternoon and a congratulations to every student who continues to push forward and strive for success.



(Click on the photos for full size view)

The ceremony begins:
Jeffrey S. Allen, Ph.d.
Vice President of Academic Affairs:

Outside Rumba after the luncheon:

Sherry Roath , fellow honor student

The view from the front door of the Illinois Institute of Art:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Obsessions of the Bowtie: Volume 1

Here at The Bowtie Memoirs, I have been completely obsessed with a few things (other than chocolate milk and frozen pizza). What I'm talking about here can't be heated in the oven or poured from a carton. The obsession I speak of is none other than the Alexander McQueen Fall 2009 Menswear Collection. It makes me want to sing from mountain tops (or Willis Tower, I suppose). Now, for any of you who may not be brushed up on your McQueen info, grab a note pad and pen. It's time to take some notes provided by our friends at

Designer: Alexander McQueen
Owned By: Gucci Group
Founded: 1992, London
History: Famous for his decadent runway shows and prodigious mastery of construction (he trained on Savile Row as a teenager and was tapped to design couture for Givenchy at 27), McQueen is variously inspired by the military, morbidity, and any number of far-flung tribes—often in the same collection. McQueen also oversees a successful women's line, as well as the diffusion brand McQ and a sportswear collection for Puma.
The Look: Lately? Savile Row meets Queensbury Rules
(Thank you, GQ)

Have a look at the photos and you'll know why I have made them my screen saver for every computer I sit in front of. Nothing calms me down from a busy morning at the office like falling into the world of McQueen. This collection is calling my name, and when I get my hands on it, I certainly wont be eating frozen pizza.

After all, I wouldn't want tomato sauce on my overcoat.


So, these would cover me for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
(I would wear the third outfit twice--it's just that amazing):

A photograph from the runway show:

To see these walking works of art, grab a cold glass of chocolate milk and simply CLICK HERE.
Your eyes will thank you.

As always, thanks for reading and be sure to check back for many more 'Obsessions of the Bowtie'...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Latino Fashion Week: Chicago Designers and Awards Presentations

The team at Zzazz Productions does it again..

Tonight, I worked backstage at the Latino Fashion Week Chicago Designers Runway Show. Tracey Tarantino and her Dream Team produced the show at V-Live--a huge, energetic venue off Milwaukee Avenue. A variety of collections were brought to life by the beautiful Ford Models, featuring designs from Sonya Galaviz, James De Colon, Elda De La Rosa, Hector Monarrez, Nora Del Busto and Camilo Pard. The MC for the evening was the lovely Sylvia Perez, Anchor at ABC Chicago.

I ran into Alia Rajput, a writer with Second City Style and we finally had a minute to catch up. Good friends and fellow ILIAC students, Paige Ann Peterson and Maureen Refvem, joined myself and the other volunteers that gave their time to work the show. It's exhilarating to work an event where everyone is motivated by a love for fashion, or people or the rush of the show. Whatever the reason, being surrounded by so much passion is inspiring and I had such a great time.

Keep an eye on that Zzazz Team--they're taking over this city..

Enjoy the photographs,
and thanks for following..


(click the image for full size view)

The Zzazz Productions Team:
Abby Zupancic, Tracey Tarantino,
Drew Dallas Deardorff and Xochitl V. Gomez

Models being make-up'ed:

Get your hair did:

Ryan M. Beshel:

Stephanie, Ford model and the fabulous Paige Ann Peterson

The stunning model, Veronica Zepeda:

Backstage, Pre-Show, Matt Gearhart and his pretty ladies:

The beautiful Sylvia Perez:

The show begins!:

That dress? I die.:

Maureen Refvem, looking lovely in tulle:

The finale look glides down the stairs:

Big Finish:

The Final Walk:

Post-Show Performance:

Ryan M. Beshel, with Tracey Tarantino of Zzazz Productions:

A Great Success!