The last time I contributed to the ATBF newsletter, I had just completed my Bachelor of Fine Art’s degree in Fashion Marketing and had embarked on an adventure to New York City for the first time since sustaining a spinal cord injury in 2002. My article detailed the trials and tribulations of traveling as a quadriplegic from Los Angeles to New York City while also sharing my experience of navigating the city in a wheelchair.
From the age of fifteen to nineteen I had traveled to New York numerous times to visit my brother and had always wanted to live here. After sustaining a spinal cord injury at the age of nineteen, I didn’t think that living in New York would be possible. I never had concrete evidence to substantiate this idea and for some reason, I had made this irrational decision and never confronted these thoughts. In 2009, I finally decided to answer the questions I had pondered from time to time: Would I be able to navigate the city in a wheelchair if the opportunity arose? Or, was it just a pipe dream? After experiencing the city for the first time in a chair these questions were put to rest. Feeling the magnetic energy of the city once again, I knew living in New York would be possible. It would have its challenges, but it would also have its rewards.
In August 2010, I was accepted into the new Master of Arts Fashion Studies program at Parsons The New School for Design and moved to New York City. It took me roughly three months of studying every street, avenue and curb-cut within fifteen blocks of my apartment before I felt comfortable navigating the city on my own. The more I explored the city, the more accessible it became. After a while it became second nature to walk (or push) twenty to thirty blocks uptown or across town if the weather permitted. During my graduate studies I explored and conducted research on fashion and its relationship with sexuality. My Master’s thesis looked at the relationship between the deregulation of the pornography industry and how that has paved the way for the mainstreaming of sexualized imagery in fashion advertising and its impact on contemporary culture. In addition, to conducting my own research, I worked as a teaching assistant and interned for a designer. As a teaching assistant, I led weekly discussions to a class of twenty-five undergraduate students in tandem with the Professor’s lecture class. As an intern, I was introduced to the interworking of the fashion world.
During the course of my internship, I worked closely with the designer in a dynamic role as she re-launched her brand. My responsibilities were multifaceted, which gave me the opportunity to dabble in every facet of the brand from marketing to PR to graphic design. In addition to my duties as an intern, I also worked with The Connective NYC as a Creative Direction Consultant producing her fashion week presentation this past September during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. I have recently ended my internship and am now looking for other opportunities in art/creative direction within the fashion industry. In the meantime I’m taking classes at Parsons The New School for design for a certificate in graphic and digital design to hone my skills as a designer.
Christine Mace lives and interns in New York City. She is a perfect example that if you can navigate the city, you can navigate through any difficulties that lay ahead, while achieving and setting goals along the way.