Introducing Fashion Farmboy Intern Kenzie!

 Old dress forms...

Hey!  My name is Kenzie Amberg and Bjorn Nasett has given me the opportunity to become his intern.  My goal is to learn from everything he teaches me and utilize the experiences I will gain from this internship.  I am very grateful that I have received this great opportunity to learn first hand from someone who has been in the fashion industry for quite a few years already.  Right now I am a student, but the urge to learn hands on in the real world is always crossing my mind.  Books and classrooms can only teach you so much.  I am very excited to see all the things I gain from the internship!  Thanks again Bjorn.

 On Thursday, July 5, 2012 I officially began my internship.  To be honest, I had little idea of what to expect.  All I knew about Bjorn was that he was this successful man who did just about everything related to fashion.  I mean really, he has a floor length list of accomplishments and experiences such as a buyer, seller, blogger, stylist, makeup artist, photographer, and writer.  Not to mention his work has been published in M Magazine.  To me, that was just a tad intimidating.

Dress form close-up... 

As I walked up to his door I regretted not getting a haircut beforehand to hide the split ends.  I was greeted by Bjorn at the door and welcomed in.  We made our way up to the studio where I found Lisa, another intern, who was also a fellow Mount Mary student.  The studio is adorned with clothing, lights, and backdrops.  Right away I was intrigued by some of the techniques used to capture the images.  This little white cube was a perfect setting to shoot smaller objects or detailed close-ups.  I suggest definitely trying this out.  Later that day, I attempted to create my own little white box, only mine turned into a DIY project.  I took a white sheet and stool.  I taped the white fabric around the bottom of the white stool with one side open.  The end result was not perfectly square but it did the trick.  I then took a bright light and shined it through a hole in the white sheet.  Okay, maybe mine is a little too crafty but there was a resemblance to the one I saw in the studio.  This feature really captures more detailing and the light reflects off of the object better. 

After Bjorn finished his photography in the studio we headed to the basement that was filled with racks and racks of clothing.  It wasn’t just any clothing either.  His style is sort of a vintage feel with class.  These were items he had purchased from thrift stores, knowing that they were suitable for a higher price at resale.  My job that day was to go crazy and pick out outfits to dress these incredible vintage mannequins so I could photograph them.  We set the mannequins up against a wooden fence in his backyard.  For a couple of hours I dressed and redressed those mannequins with the unique clothing, trying to capture different angles and details. 

BCBG meet Laundry....

From this experience I learned that color balance truly does matter.  Some things are just not made to go together.  A camera does not lie, so I deleted all the bad combinations.  That is trial and error.  I really enjoy editing pictures so it was fun to go through all of them in the end and give them a vignette or create a warmer tone.  It reminded me of what editors of a magazine must go through after a photo shoot.  This Thursday, the 5th, was just the start of the internship.  After I left his studio that day, I was extremely happy and excited thinking about all the experiences I will gain with his help.

Vintage shirtwaist dress... 

Thursday July 12, 2012.  Today, once again, proved to be a learning experience.  I met Bjorn at a thrift store on the South Side.  Bjorn only shops at stores that benefit the community through charity.  I thought that is an incredibly generous idea.  It’s a win/win.  Bjorn gets the clothes he wants to sell and the stores get the money they need.  I like it!  Now, I have tried in the past myself going to thrift stores and attempting to find clothes thinking I was going to be a smart shopper, only to leave disappointed.  Today a light bulb went off in my head.  I finally understand why I could never find the right stuff.  My old tactics would be to go and look at everything at once.  Not a good idea.  Bjorn gave me some insight on how to actually shop and find good clothing.  First, start with the dress rack or at least that is what he does.  He goes for the dresses first because those are most sellable.  I can understand that.  If I was looking online for some clothes my eye always goes straight to the dresses.  For me, the reasoning is because dresses are so easy.  You just put it on by itself and most of the time it is cute.  If you know your size it is simple to pick out what dress would fit you without trying it on.  I think dresses are one of the most flattering pieces of clothing for a women’s body. 

Via Spiga spectator pumps, Italy....

Once through all the dresses, Bjorn moves his way towards the blouses.  The whole store is color coordinated which helps tremendously.  That is one of the most annoying things I find with Forever 21.  I cannot focus when there are so many different colors and patterns all in the same area.  I like the idea of going through color by color.  I skimmed the clothing along with Bjorn, but it was obvious that I was the amateur of the two.  I would pick one piece up and by the time I put it down he had gone through the entire rack.  This is expected since his career is based on finding clothes.  He is the expert.  Another piece of advice he gave me was to not look at every specific garment.  Look and feel the fabric as you skim over it.  When something looks interesting or well made then you take a look at it a little closer.

Striped knit from the 80's... 

When he found something that looked like good quality or salable he would take it off the hanger and inspect it inside and out.  Some had stains, which could possibly be removed through cleaning while others had rips or tears that were unfixable, so those stayed on the rack.  Luckily, I found at least two good garments to add to my wardrobe!  One was a brand new dress from Francesca’s for six dollars.  You can’t go wrong that!  Once in a while a big name brand would pop up like BCBG or Giorgio Armani.  Those were definite steals, especially since they were in great shape.  Bjorn enjoyed the suit jackets that looked like the Chanel tweed fabric.  He knew that those pieces would sell well. 

Wool jacket from Paris, knife pleat blouse, pleather skirt...

Shopping with Bjorn for the first time was a balance of learning and fun.  What girl doesn’t like to spend time shopping with someone who can help?  I did learn a lot and I can’t wait to try shopping at a charity thrift store close to my home.  The idea is to be a smart shopper and have an organized plan.  I guess you don’t have to start with dresses but start with the same thing every time.  Focus on fabrics and patterns more than every separate piece of clothing.

Fringe dress.....

We then left the thrift store and drove to Bjorn’s screen-printing friend’s business.  Gallery Night is coming up at the end of July and he wanted to have some shirts made with his logo “Fashion Farmboy”.  The guy there reassured us that the shirts would look great with a burlap texture.  Afterwards we went for lunch at Benelux downtown.  We talked about Bjorn’s experiences in the fashion industry and his many journeys to fashion week.  I think I have finally grasped his overall concept.  He said that fashion is not about name brands but more or less ideas!  Ideas and creativity are what run the show.  There is no need to have to conform to a specific designer in order to be fashionable.  You can get looks for less by being smart and finding creative alternatives.  Bjorn is definitely a creative individual who has used it to his advantage.  He has built his career from what he loves and is passionate for.  That is what I hope for myself as well.

All photo's by Kenzie Amberg for Fashion Farmboy.

Kenzie,  FFB Intern

             

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