Great Expectations

...And some nights are full of reflection, lit candles, and a symphony of sound...

When I departed from my suburban bubble for college, I expected a world of revolution to greet me at the ivy gates.  The movie, Dead Poets Society had changed my life, and I so longed for a world full of fellow book worms, eager to unpack the meanings behind ancient words. And so on a clear night in Bloomington, my friends and I sprawled out against the quad's green grass. Taking in the stars, everything seemed to glitter with intellect, and us, so young, vivacious, and curious--we wanted to gobble up every bite of the night.

My first day of college classes I waited for someone to shout, "My Captain, My Captain," but instead I was met with girls in Daisy Dukes and boys too hungover from their first alcoholic acquaintance. I felt let down and wondered why movies would have painted such an impossible picture. By the weekend I would join their ranks and begin the acceptance that maybe I just had great expectations. College was an academic amusement park, not a pavilion resounding a scholastic symphony. What once glittered with intellect, was suddenly dulled with monotony.

I feel that now in my mid twenties, the life I had imagined is constantly evolving. My great expectations are altered daily and if I want my expectations met, well I'm the one in charge of that. Much like college, the working world is not like the movies. There is no Michael Scott, Leslie Knope, or Meredith Grey. There are simply real people who try and do the best they can, while trying not to become burnt out.

We, the millennials, grew up thinking that what we did mattered. And while it does matter, it is a humbling experience to acknowledge that it does not matter yet. We are still embarking on the journey of finding ourselves and our true calling in this sea of excel sheets, travel expenses, and happy hours. We're full of great expectations and an even greater optimism.

So while no one ever stood on their desks in college, I can assure you, that though it might be years later in an office...you will see me on mine. For we must continually push ourselves to see life through another view. Whether it's from your window or the sidewalk, one's viewpoint must become flexible through our manifested culture if we are to show the world what we have to offer. We must be agents of change and catalysts for progress.

The night before leaving for college, I watched Dead Poets Society, and I vowed to always remember this quote. For too easily we can lose sight of the end goal, or worse...we can lose hope.

"No matter what any body tells you, words and ideas can change the world."

Dead Poets Society debuted in 1989...and I don't believe in coincidence.

Let's set sail.

My captain, my captain...



Paging Dr. Fashion

Recently I've been getting a lot of emails from readers asking me what I do for a living. 
Well friends, allow me to explain.

You know the movie Devil Wears Prada? People, especially in my industry, could quote that movie backwards and forwards. My favorite line is when Nigel asks if someone ate an onion bagel. I always mutter to myself, while also probably eating one,

Um duh Nigel. There's no Lysol spray for onion bagels. And that person eating the bagel? 
That's me. It's always me.

In the fashion industry, buyers are the group of fashionites who get looked to quite often. Being a buyer myself, I can speak to this with some runway credentials. Buyers are the doctors of fashion. We help designers birth new styles or ideas, and we keep those styles thriving and healthy throughout their lifetime. Don't believe me? Walk into any buying office on a Monday morning. On Monday mornings a buyer's office might as well be an operating room, where we are carefully analyzing what's working, what's not, and identifying what needs to be taken away, or in our world, cancelled. Our scalpel is a pencil and our chart's diagnosis is derived from a calculator. Buying is a form of surgery...and buyers are surgeons of style.

Fixing a bad business for us is like fixing a disease. It takes time and it's trial and error when it comes to presenting solutions. The worst part is that we have to wait and see if our efforts served us well. Often times weeks can go by before we can diagnose wayfarers as an opportunity or the worst idea second to corduroy pants.

When business is good, our schedule is similar to a doctor's without a flu season. It's calm, time allowing, and peaceful. Up until Christmas anyway...then you might as well be in the school nurse's office after a breakout of lice.

Essentially, our jobs are to pick out what is sold in the stores of the company a buyer works for. In the fashion retail industry this can be quite a challenge. The most important part being that you may have fabulous taste and style, but the only appetite that matters is that of our guest. What she/he likes, you now like, and you're off to hunting down the next best thing she/he will love.

The biggest goal of a buyer is to create that pig in the window. The item that turns a window shopper into a shopaholic.  If you do that--your surgery went well. This is the part of the fashion industry that gets my blood pumping. We are entirely reliant on the public and the public changes their mind once every fifteen minutes. This makes for an extremely fast-paced environment. Ever see a girl run in heels or a man sprint in loafers? They're probably buyers. Moving fast is part of our LinkedIn skill set. Go ahead...endorse me.

But the best part about being a buyer? You get to effect change in the world. As a buyer you learn to listen, learn, and react. You learn skills that benefit your real life as much as your life behind the desk. So if you're looking for something new and exciting...think about becoming a buyer.
And maybe take a jog in your pumps.




The Musician: Ryan Dunson

This is the starting line of a new segment from The Life of KB. For the next six weeks I will be interviewing bands, musicians, and artists to see how their individual style has been altered or created by their art.  After all, as much as fans flock to the lyrics and the brush strokes, they look to the person, the author of the art as a way of living--an innovative source to the alternative.

Two weeks ago, I met with Ryan Dunson, the lead singer of Rookie of the Year. For those of you who don't know this band, I personally encourage you to give them a listen. Ryan is ecstatic about the continuation of their sound and can't wait for their new album The Goodnight Moon Part II to drop August 13th. Before getting on the line with Ryan I found myself preemptively starstruck. Like...
What do I say? Are my questions pointless? Am I cool enough to talk with this guy? 

I've listened to Rookie of Year for years- so this interview is near to my heart and the teenaged chapter of my life. The moment Ryan and I started talking though, conversation flowed and we got into the details...what dictates a musician's style?

K: Before you were in a band or rather a well known musician, how would you have described your style?

R: I was actually pretty preppy in High school. I played sports so I always had my hair short. But, going into 11th and 12th grade, I began listening to more punk music and really got into that scene. Inspired by Radiohead, I started growing my hair long in the front and short in the back. When I got into bands like Juliana Theory and Amberlynn I loved how they looked. It's the same as how bands dress these days, but back then it was pretty revolutionary. I would ask bands after shows where they got their clothes from (H&M being a big one) and starting accessorizing with things like skinny ties. I tend to opt for the cheaper options of what's trending, so I shop a lot at TopMan and Forever21.

Also, my girlfriend at the time would always shop at Delia's, and in their shopping bags they would have random ads for online boutiques, so that became a big source of getting trendy clothes while still living in a small town.

K: When Rookie of the Year became popular, did you start to think more about your outward appearance and the image you were projecting?

R: I've always had a weird style, I mean I've had the same hairstyle now for seven years. But, as a band we definitely took the time before a tour to go and get good outfits. Usually we'd allow $2-3K to find some good pieces and try to get outfits at the same time so our look was cohesive.

K: Do you as a band ever discuss style then? Like what's your "look" going to be each night? 

R: Yeah, for example one night we'll be like, ok guys, tonight is ties, black pants or jeans, tucked in, versus not tucked in- we try to get everyone to match. 

K: Do you think your music channels you into looking/appearing a certain way?

R: For me, yes. People sometimes deny that fact and don't care about how they look and that works for them. In this industry it's wishy-washy and depends on what type of music. We're kind of indie pop, so we're going to look the part and look fancy. 

K: How did you get started in the music industry?

R: I was a promoter in my hometown and putting on shows that were getting decent crowds. I kept thinking I should have a band to open my shows, so in high school I got one started. There really wasn't much music-wise going on at home so I moved to Florida. There I joined a few tours, and began meeting more people in the industry. During the weekend I had nothing to do so I started to play acoustic, this is when Dashboard was starting to get big. One night, Brad Fischetti (from LFO) was at a show I was playing and asked if I wanted to sign with Warner Brothers (111), and things took off from there. 

K: What's the big idea behind the new album? What inspired it?

R: Well I went into the studio not knowing what to write about. I had been on and off with a girl for about four years, and we broke up right before I started writing songs for the new album. The record was recorded in Syracuse, NY, and I had no phone service. I wrote eight of the songs on the album there in Syracuse with nothing written before at all. Every song had the same theme and feeling, with the main focus being how you were feeling that day. This went on for 30 days with 2-3 days for each song. The album really captured a month of my life-like a time capsule.

K: Where do you see yourself in five years...dressing the same?

R: I'll probably dress the same way, but I'm pretty diverse. And as far as what I'll be doing...maybe get married. Yeah, get married and start a band with my wife.

I'm already excited for Ryan's album in five years. 
Everyone check out The Goodnight Moon Part II on August 13th!