Fashion is a Waiting Game. For Some, It’s Worth the Wait.
Addison Bugg, a 22 year-old college graduate better known as Addy, sits on her unmade twin bed at 5 p.m. on a Monday night in early Sept., in the middle of New York Fashion Week. The walls are white and the room small. Bugg’s apartment building sits at the end of a long line of townhouses on a quiet, residential street in Crown Heights. Outside her room’s double hung window, rain droplets tripped down from low-hanging clouds that colored the world beyond the pane a steel gray.
“Fashion is just so competitive. I mean, so many girls are all trying to apply for the same positions that I am... I applied to a job that 1,300 other people applied for. I mean, I don’t even know why I applied at that point,” Bugg laughed. “It’s so competitive, it’s wild.”
After graduating from The King’s College in May 2018 with a Bachelor's in Media, Culture, and the Arts, Bugg flew home to Tulsa, Okla., for the summer. She boarded her flight home with the hope that she would soon return to New York with a job at Blanc Magazine, an indie publication that Bugg interned for her senior year.
For many young people who migrate to New York City in search of securing that dream job, including alumni from The King’s College, even the first job or internship can be elusive in such a restless city.
“On the first day, she [the Editor-in-Chief of Blanc Magazine] told me that she wanted to hire me,” Bugg said. “So, I guess it kind of started from then. I don’t even remember what I was doing, she just asked me ‘When do you graduate?’ and said, ‘What are you doing after? I would want you to come work for me.’”
Bugg’s internship at Blanc Magazine began in Oct. of 2017, during the fall semester of her senior year at The King’s College. Bugg had a hand in producing both Blanc’s spring and summer Magazine issues.
Blanc’s summer issue—which came out in June 2018—is an issue that stood out to Bugg. The magazine featured Miss Fame from RuPaul’s Drag Race. The drag queen came in and told them about her childhood in California on a chicken farm. That history became the inspiration for that photoshoot.
From then on, Bugg searched for designers creating looks with a “rustic aesthetic” and a photo shoot location. She found the designers and booked a chicken farm in Connecticut for the shoot. When the day finally arrived, Bugg steamed clothes, ordered food, and worked with the stylists to ensure everything went smoothly for the cover shoot.
The day of the cover shoot fell on the same day as Bugg’s senior year Spring Formal. Bugg left Manhattan at 6 a.m. in Adidas sweatpants, converse, a sweatshirt and a bag holding the dress for her last school dance. Piled in a Connecticut-bound van with the Blanc crew, Bugg watched the city rapidly fading into the distance silently promising herself that she would greet that same skyline before the clock struck 11 p.m.
The photoshoot ran long and by the time Bugg arrived back in the city, there was only a little over an hour left of the Spring Formal. Both Bugg and Miss Fame had committed to events after the shoot, so as the driver whipped through the streets of Manhattan, Bugg dressed the drag queen.
“I remember being in the back of a van [...] dressing Miss Fame, dressing a drag queen in the back of a van coming into New York!” Bugg laughed, shaking her head in disbelief. “I just will never forget that moment!”
After dropping off Miss Fame, Bugg booked it to Chelsea. Arriving at Studio 450—the venue of the Spring Formal—with 45 minutes left to dance, Bugg bounded onto the dance floor with a smile as dazzling as the Empire State Building just outside the window. She had made it! In sweat pants and a messy bun, Bugg danced with her friends at her final college formal.
Not all of Bugg’s days at Blanc looked like this though. On a normal day, Bugg would make mood boards of the model options, research designers’ looks, and scout the city for photoshoot locations that would fit Blanc’s aesthetic.
“The work that I was doing was that of a creative director and… that has always been my dream job.”
However, a job opening for Bugg at Blanc Magazine always hinged on the question of money.
“In March or April, she [the Editor-in-Chief of Blanc Magazine] talked about money,” Bugg said. “That was always the conversation, just kind of off-hand. She would want to hire me, but she needed the funds.”
One moment, Bugg claimed, her boss would be talking about funding issues and the next, she would be talking about potential sponsorships with Gucci and other “big brand names.”
“It kind of seemed like, oh, this could happen. It was a possibility,” Bugg said.
Before Bugg left for the summer, her boss asked her to dinner. “She had said, ‘I want to get dinner. Let’s talk. Let’s have a serious conversation,’” Bugg said. However, when her boss cancelled the dinner last minute, Bugg boarded the plane home with a suitcase full of clothes and her future at Blanc riding on the ambiguous promise of a “serious conversation.”
In August, Bugg returned to the city and found the promise empty.
For the two months since her return, Bugg has been applying for jobs left and right.
“What do your days look like right now?” I asked.
“Oh, girl,” Bugg sighed, a tired smile spread across her face and her shoulders slumped from exhaustion. “I’ve applied to I think over 50 jobs. At this point I’m doing anything and everything. I’ve applied to executive assistant positions to PR firms. But, everything in fashion moves so slow. It’s so slow.”
But Bugg also said her days are constantly changing.
“Like today, I woke up, ate a gluten-free pop tart because those are really fun. I facetimed my mom for two hours and we worked together on some of the e-design and then on Instagram [for Bugg’s mother’s interior design company, which Bugg does freelance work for]. Then, I applied for five jobs today. Hannah [Gulledge] came over and we have been hanging out. That was just today. I mean, for Fashion Week, for the past four days I’ve been getting up at 6 or 7 and running to shows and then, yeah, standing in line most of the day.”
Hannah Gulledge, Bugg’s best friend and former roommate says Bugg has always wanted to work in fashion. “Her exact words would be, ‘the Creative Director of Vogue.’ She said that a lot freshman year,” said Gulledge, sitting on the gray sofa of her office building in Dumbo looking out at Manhattan across the East River.
“She’s driven. She doesn’t let a lot of things distract her because the things that she works on are things that she’s really passionate about,” Gulledge said. “And, she puts in the hours too. For every internship she’s had she’s always put in above and beyond—weekends, nights, early mornings, you name it.”
Many job applications, interviews, and false leads later, Bugg received an email in her inbox from Bergdorf Goodman. Bugg was surprised at the company’s quick reply after applying for the Assistant Stylist position at Bergdorf Goodman on Oct. 5. After the preliminary interview with Bergdorf Goodman’s Human Resources Department, Bugg went in for her official interview with the Department Head on Oct. 6.
“Fashion is just so competitive. I mean, so many girls are all trying to apply for the same positions that I am... I applied to a job that 1,300 other people applied for.”
Bugg arrived at 58th and 5th Avenue at 1:30 p.m. in a floral, cobalt blue Stella McCartney dress and thigh-high combat boots, her long strawberry strands of hair swept into a high ponytail. Stepping out of the seventy-degree weather, Bugg walked through Bergdorf Goodman’s double doors and into the high-end department store known for its fantastic window displays.
She took the elevator to the 4th floor.
“It was an hour long interview, they totally grilled me,” Bugg said. That interview, she said, was the hardest she’s ever been through.
They asked her questions about why she chose King’s, her prior internships, and her career aspirations. Twenty minutes after the interview, her phone rang. It was Bergdorf Goodman.
“I did not expect to hear back from them that day and I actually went to the Trader Joe’s Wine Store to get some wine,” Bugg laughed. “And, I had just stepped out of the subway to walk over and got the call from HR. So, it was literally that subway ride from like 59th to 14th, yeah. That’s all they needed to deliberate.”
Bugg had 24-hours to accept the position.
If Bugg accepted the position as a Styling Assistant in Bergdorf Goodman’s Personal Shopping Department, she would go to work with celebrity stylists, VIP clients, and television productions teams.
Two hours later, she accepted the position.
Bugg began working for Bergdorf Goodman in the Personal Shopping Department as a Styling Assistant on Oct. 24.
“It’s really fun. I get to hear a lot of the inside scoop of what’s happening. Like, for this TV show ‘Power’, I already know the plot of the next episodes that they’re currently filming because we need to know ‘Ok, this is a party scene’ or ‘These things are happening, these are the looks that we need,’” Bugg smiled, amazed at a world where brands like Chanel and Prada are at her fingertips. “It’s been fun to kind of see all different sides of the industry which is why I love this job so much.”
Now, Bugg goes to work to pull looks for Zendaya, Kelly Ripa and for TV shows like ‘The Bold Type’ and ‘Power’. Though Bugg’s days are long and the job she thought she would have after college didn’t pan out, her life is a dream and for her, the fashion industry was well worth the wait.