It’s the biggest meeting of the season. Over the past three months last year’s line has been ripped apart and pulled back together again; a phoenix reborn in women’s clothing. New colors and prints set the tone for best-sellers to shine once again and for new designs, a sheath dress here and a boyfriend pant there, to have their day in the court of Ann Taylor. At noon, the CEO will arrive, clad with a notebook and a cup of coffee, expecting to see a perfectly manicured line of clothing for Fall 2019. Until then, the 7th floor is a mass of chaos: racks of clothes wheeled by frantic merchants fly through the halls like trains at Penn Station, and non-merchandising associates sit hunched and furiously typing at their desks, crunching last-minute numbers as if it were April 15th. Noon quickly approaches.
My role in all of this is simple. Snacks.
I arrive to the brand room, the runway to today’s fashion show, at 11:15, hands filled with bags from Duane Reade and Culture Espresso. The showroom, which, on an average day, is a cluttered mess of fabric swatches, size 2 samples, clothes hangers, and papers, is now in perfect order; an oasis of peace amidst the noise and pandemonium just outside. Large black foam boards line both lengths of the room, while at the far end, four mannequins stand at the ready, epitomizing the complete look for Fall.
Walking around the room, decorating the meeting tables with plates of Doritos, M&Ms, Starburst candies, and cookies, I take in the splendor created by the team I support. I allow myself the pleasure of running my hands along the boards. My fingers dance on the polka dots of orange and burgundy that will be featured in zone one, and my cheeks bathe in the warmth of the teal-colored fabric that will adorn the women who purchase from zone four. Fall 2019 will be colorfully comfy.
Setting down the last plate of cookies, I look around the showroom with a feeling of pride. Moments like this remind me just how lucky I am to work with such talented people. It is now 11:45. The rack-rolling and furious typing has quieted down outside, and as Marsha, head of design, walks in and spritzes the room with a fragrance that smells of apple pie, I smile.
We are truly ready for Fall. Line Review can begin.