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Oh, Muse: How I Found my Artistic Soulmates in NYC

   My 26th birthday is right around the corner and right in line with my third anniversary of living in New York City.

   I arrived in New York as Hurricane Irene hit Manhattan. The first year was downhill from there. I was in graduate school for fashion photography at the School of Visual Arts and worked full-time as a waitress. It was a rude awakening: I didn’t have a team, I didn’t have relationships or contacts in the fashion industry, and I didn’t know my way around the city. At twenty-two, I walked into a room full of twelve older, more experienced photographers that already knew the nuances of the city that I had just began to call home.

I listened and I wrote things down:
I became a sponge.

   So for a year, the work I created was shit. There is no other word for it. I created the worst work of my career. I did what I could do at that time. I listened and I wrote things down: I became a sponge. I was broken down to my core and stripped of all arrogance and preconceived ideas of the fashion world and myself. Madeleine L’ engle says it best:

   “I think all artists, regardless of degree of talent, are a painful paradoxical combination of certainty and uncertainty, of arrogance and humility, constantly in need of reassurance and yet with a strong sense of faith in their own validity, no matter what.”

   In this industry, networking has a backwards domino effect. One contact leads to three, three leads to six, and so on. You just need one domino to start the ripple effect. All of a sudden you have this mass of contacts. You find yourself invited to fashion events, fashion previews, and finally the créme de la créme: New York Fashion Week.

   New York Fashion Week SS14 was the light at the end of one tunnel leading into a much larger one. That light was Faustina Rose: my now stylist, friend, and teammate. Faustina and I began collaborating in December. She was the first piece to this amazing puzzle that we are now forming together. We challenge each other in ways that allow us to create passionate work without compromise.

   With the imagination of Tim Walker mixed with that of Tim Burton, we knew we could not stop this journey with each other. Faustina and I needed a third piece to complete our puzzle. An original, imaginative, inventive set designer would truly make our dreams and visions come to life.

   Once again, fashion week does not disappoint. I met our latest addition, Sarah Hein, in the tents during New York Fashion Week AW15. We exchanged contacts and went on to separate shows. I didn’t really think much more about it. We kept in touch via Facebook and eventually, something clicked. Sarah posted a background set that she made of paper flowers. I knew then that we needed to work together, but I was not yet sure to what extent.

   We will let you be the judge with this September issue. The paper doll editorial and Asian doll beauty story are our first trio collaborations. I don’t want to speak too soon but I think we found fashion wife number three.

by Audrey Froggatt