In Partnership With
From design to business our ongoing studio visit series with Brand Assembly has proven to be resourceful in more ways than one. In the case of today’s visit with showroom founder Emily Ruane of Magazine, we’re shifting our focus on Emily’s endeavors in sales and publicity – two areas that are highly sought after professions in the fashion industry. Speaking more to that idea, they are also both integral to the success of emerging and contemporary designers which is why we were thrilled to meet with Emily (despite her busy fashion week schedule!) to chat more about her professional story, her thoughts on infusing creativity in business and how she’s learned to look at fashion as being both product-driven and wearable art. Discover more in our conversation below and visit The Assemblist to see more of the space.
My name is Emily Ann
Ruane, and I honestly don’t know if I am 32 or 33. I think I am going to be 33 in December. I was born in ’83, someone help me with the math! I grew up in Philadelphia and Washington, DC and I have strong (probably overly sentimental) ties to both places. I enjoy reading, writing, history, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, recreational eating, organizing objects and being outside.
How would you say your relationship to fashion has evolved and how has running a business re-inspired it?
I have always been obsessed with clothing and outfits and how certain articles of clothing make me feel. I remember a specific long-sleeved dress that I had in Kindergarten, which had a heart embroidered on the chest, or the first time I ever wore a pair of jeans (which was also during my first trip to New York City with my aunt, who was a buyer at Burlington Coat Factory). When I embarked on the showroom, I was just so excited to be working with my fashion-and jewelry-designing friends. I wanted to create something similar to what they did, but I knew that I lacked the training and the patience to be a designer, so I inserted myself where I thought I could be useful, in sales and publicity.
At the beginning, I thought a lot about the beauty and emotional value of an object or a garment, but not quite as much about its viability on the market. Now — and I don’t know if this a good thing or a bad thing — I think more about how an object functions as a product; something that gets made and sold. I am much more aware of fashion as a commodity. Also, hilariously, my style is the suckiest it’s ever been in my life. In high school and college, I would spend a king’s ransom at the thrift store and wear sick outfits every day. Now I wear the same thing every day, because I don’t have the time or headspace to put anything together. Dressing cool again is on my bucket list.
Why do you think working on a venture like Magazine makes sense in NYC and do you ever find yourself wanting to expand the business in other cities? If so, where would we find you?
For me, the order of operations was: move to New York, figure out life. And I would not have been part of this industry if I didn’t live here. I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a regional showroom in a place like Chicago or somewhere in Texas, but I really like living in New York more than anything. I guess the obvious next step would be Los Angeles, the most magical place in the world.
Do you/Magazine have a position on the conversation surrounding sustainability and longevity in the fashion industry? If so, what it is it and generally what are your thoughts on the direction the industry is moving towards?
I am really hesitant to declare any sort of political or policy-oriented stance on, like, “topics”; because I feel that if I am not 100% informed on the issue, I have no place to speak on it. And I feel like I am maybe… 30% to 60% informed on most sustainability-related matters? But from where I stand, fast fashion is like, 3% percent okay (because pretty much anyone can have access to “cool” clothes at any price point) and 97% percent completely evil (because of the environmental ruin and endless cycle of pointless, wasteful consumerism it engenders). I guess this is hypocritical of me because I am also contributing to consumerism, but the designers I work with are artists, goddamn it!
How do you think creativity can contribute to some of the world’s bigger conversations and what role is Magazine playing in this shift in thinking?
I am constantly stressing about this. I think I spend too much time emailing people and not enough time thinking about the big picture, and brainstorming actual cool and compelling ideas for increasing the showroom’s (or more accurately, our brands’) presence in print, digital, and social media; so that I don’t have to spend so much time emailing people. I think that creativity and ideas can lessen the burden of constantly pounding the pavement, because if you have good, cool ideas, people are naturally attracted to you and/or what you’re doing, and word of your inherent coolness will spread.