How Hannah Orenstein Created A Fictional Version Of The Fashion Industry In ‘Meant To Be Mine’

It all started with sweatpants. They were grey, shapeless, two sizes too big for him, and had the company logo printed on his left hip. This is a gift that was handed out at his 2019 holiday party. I couldn’t resist sinking into their cozy warmth every chance I got. After three months of fun at weekend bodegarans, they became a more permanent part of my wardrobe when the pandemic hit. I could not do it. Sleek leather pants and cool vintage Levis reminded us that life as we knew it was over.

In the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t a problem. I was healthy, my family was safe, and I could easily work from home. It was a privilege to have enough time and energy to simply think about clothes. But by April 1st, 20 days after quarantine, I felt like I was sweating forever.

I’m a novelist and at that point I had 60 pages into writing a murder mystery. I abandoned the project and found it too depressing. Tired of the aforementioned sweatpants, I wanted to dive into the glamorous world.I imagined my new protagonist would be a fashion stylist. There was a chapter set in Miami.More than anything, I wanted to hug my grandparents and I dreamed of being a great matriarch.Two years later, the book hit stores.It’s called Meet to Be Mineis about a woman who knows the exact day she will meet the love of her life, thanks to a prophecy from her eccentric grandmother.

One of my favorite parts of writing this book was building a fictionalized version of the New York fashion industry. I had years of internships with fashion magazines and women’s clothing designers, and had covered her fashion week, so I knew the subject pretty well. I have spent my entire career as a writer and editor for city lifestyle publications. So, while not a fashion industry insider, I’m pretty adjacent.

To flesh out the world of stylist Edie Meyer, we first called Manhattan-based stylist Audree Kate López to get the scoop on what her career looks like behind the scenes. We crossed paths early in our careers when Seventeen and she red bookI have been a fan of her work ever since. She has a knack for styling vibrant, fresh, and very New York looks that embody the energy I want my readers to feel while reading my book.

She told me of one time she styled a pop star with nails so long and unwieldy that she couldn’t wear her own underwear. Off-camera, Lopez groaned as he watched lobster juice drip all over the expensive pants he was wearing. I couldn’t resist putting both stories in the book. She also went over my character description and recommended brands to wear (Eddie herself paired vintage Versace and Valentino from her grandmother’s closet with chunky Lulu’s Frost jewelry). I did.)

I also used my own experience with magazines as inspiration. Prior to 2020, I went to a lot of press previews and thought it was a quirky element of the industry. It was usually someone who held my same position in other publications. I could have expected to have copious amounts of wine and cheese. I’ve also always been tickled by the rare perks that publicists offer to welcome busy writers and editors at the door. (I received everything from Rockets-led dance classes to Beyoncé tickets.)

of means mine, Edie goes to press previews and talks about guests she knows, fashion editors, Bachelor Contestant-turned-influencer-turned-influencer Frank, and “despite not working in the fashion industry (or appearing not to work at all), somehow has appeared at more industry parties than any of us.” (Do we all know Frank?) She enjoys the brand’s signature cocktail, looks at the clothes, and then listens to “a fireside chat with a famous career coach.” .

Fashion is often perceived as a cliche and novel world, but the industry is evolving, and many stylists and editors I know owed their success to their bosses for giving them the opportunity to change their lives. Instead, they’re giving back by helping young people get into the business. That’s why it was important to show Edie’s chain of mentorship. She has been inspired and trained by stylists who have climbed several steps up her career ladder.

Throughout the book, Eddie contemplates outfits for photo shoots, but also works with a variety of clients, primarily Kiara Walker, an up-and-coming politician running for Congress. I wanted to use her character to highlight the impossible pressures women in the limelight, especially women of color, face. For example, in February 2020, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was criticized for wearing a $580 dress for a television appearance. as a result, Meet to Be MineEdie goes to Zara to find “a sleek top-handle bag in faux-leather that looks chic without sacrificing a fortune that would inevitably piss off right-wing morning show talking heads.”

I wanted the fashion elements of the book to feel realistic in some ways, like Kiara’s wardrobe making headlines if she’s wearing the “wrong” thing. I came up with a fictional womenswear brand called Annabel Crosby. This is her label, an indie owned by a black woman, and it won a grant from the CFDA so it can create a line that includes full sizes of well-cut, colorful suits. In 2020, many of us doubled down on the importance of supporting small businesses that want to succeed. With that philosophy in mind, Eddie often dresses Kiara, a black plus-size woman dressed in Annabelle’s clothes.

while writing Meet to Be Minehad no idea what the world would look like when the book was finally published in 2022. actual suit. Now we’ve clearly reached the halfway point. I don’t know where fashion will go from here, but I hope small, all-encompassing businesses like Crosby’s thrive and thrive…those sleek tailored suits. The fashion industry may not look exactly like it did pre-pandemic, but that could be a good thing.

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