“The Apparel Girl” Lena Piskorowski

Lena Piskorowski

28 years old

Shelby Township, MI resident

Owner, personal styling company, DRESS

I liken ‘my path’ to a quote from Steve Job’s Stanford University commencement speech: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”

To know what you are truly best at, you must stop and think about your experiences.

My grandmother is a talented and respected dressmaker. She ran her home-based business, so I got to see how things were made, why certain styles looked better than others and how customer service should be (especially with brides!). I grew up around custom clothes–something I took for granted at times. In school, I excelled in writing and talking. I graduated with a degree in journalism and communication from Michigan State University and began working in corporate branding, learning the business side of apparel, decorating and private labeling. I saw what the buyers and their demographics wanted in clothing. I quickly became known as The Apparel Girl, implementing and curating uniform programs, company stores and promotional merchandise for big brands. Understanding the mass production side was an extremely valuable complement to the world of custom clothes I already understood and loved.

I can’t draw or sketch (although, I’m a damn fine colorer!) and I have little patience for sewing. Alterations and simple patterns I can handle, but I don’t love doing it. Maybe if I didn’t use a Singer circa 1947, it would be less tedious!

Most people equate careers in fashion with being a designer so because of this, I never thought of myself as being in the fashion industry. Everyone who sets out on her own will tell you that it starts with an itch. It’s an antsy, insatiable feeling that consumes your thoughts. I wanted to start something that reached individual people on a personal basis. I enjoyed outfitting Fortune 100 companies, but I knew people wanted a custom experience. The world is so fast-paced and centered on convenience, yet I saw that the ‘uniqueness’ feature was becoming more coveted than ever. I wanted to offer people the chance for personalized service and custom clothing–give others what I grew up with. After doing research, I found that my original idea, which I thought was so clever, was already being done online. (Have you ever had a brilliant idea and then saw that someone else had it, too? It’s a deflating feeling, but don’t let that stop you. Do it better or keep digging and see where the new direction takes you.)

One night, I overhead two women talking, in a bookstore. They were saying how amazing it would be to have a professional come to their house, go through their closets and put outfits together so once-and-for-all they would know what looked good on them and why. (Instead of relying on the opinion of a spouse or friend.) One woman said she couldn’t wear a certain style–and by looking at her, I knew she could pull it off with some tweaking. That was my lightbulb moment, when I was so filled with energy and knowing, I could hardly contain it! Thoughts raced through my head and I thought, “This is it! It makes total sense! Why didn’t I think of this before?”  I realized not everyone knew not to wear a hip-length jacket if you carry weight in your thighs! Or that a crease down the center of each pant leg does instantly make you look slimmer. What one person takes for granted as obvious may just lead uncovering to their passion.

I’m all about making people smile. I know that sounds cheesy and even I gagged a bit while typing it, but it’s true. My passion comes from personally styling a client’s wardrobe and helping them feel confident, creating a custom piece of clothing where one can be unique and entertaining through my writing. I try to use the things I’m good at to make others happy.  I’m constantly creating collages with magazine tear-sheets and travel photos. I love travel, I love fashion, I love style – the best thing about finding your passion is when you are able to make it your living.

© 2011 Copyright   Allison Stuart Kaplan  www.Askinyourface.com LLC

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