Gallery & Events

Posted 10 Dec 2015

Whitehouse catches up with 2012 Creative Direction and Styling Graduate, Sam Woolf

, Bachelor of Design

ALUMNI INTERVIEW AND STORY: SAM WOOLF

Meet Sam Woolf. Sam graduated from our Bachelor of Design in Creative Direction & Styling back in 2012 and now works as Executive Creative Assistant to Fern Mallis, the woman largely credited for creating and establishing New York Fashion Week!

Tell us about yourself and your journey so far!

I was born and raised in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. I finished high school in 2007 at Reddam House, did some travelling and a few short courses and then I undertook my Bachelor of Design in 2010 at Whitehouse.

Moving to New York had always been a dream of mine ever since I was teenager and it became more and more prominent as I was studying at Whitehouse. I completed my degree at the end of 2012 and thought to myself if I don’t do this now I’ll never do it. I always envisioned my career on a global scale and working with the best of the best and New York is the place that offers that. It also helped that one of my best friends Rebecca Gordon was planning on moving at the beginning of 2013 and we could do it together. I quickly investigated visa options and then booked a one-way ticket for the 2nd of February 2013.

When I first arrived in New York I pursued every option, emailed every contact and took every unpaid internship that I could get my hands on. By the end of the year I had built a lot of experience and my resume was receiving more positive traction. It was in fact Rebecca’s boss who knew a successful PR woman in the fashion industry who previously worked at American Vogue who was willing to meet with me.  Our meeting was a success and she promised to put me in touch with some of her contacts. A few days later I received a call from Fern’s office to come in for an interview and a week later I started working. The rest is history.

How is it working with Fern, being the Fashion Icon that she is?

At first it was very daunting and intimidating but after a while you become immune to your boss being an icon in New York, it becomes your regular day to day.

Since I’ve been working with Fern for a while now, most of the time I tend to forget how much of an icon she really is and what she has done to revolutionize the American fashion industry. I’m reminded when young kids run up to her and ask for a photo. This happens a lot during Fashion Week, or even just walking into a café seeing people stare at us and whispering ‘that’s Fern Mallis’.

It definitely hit home when celebrities came running up to Fern to say hi. My first New York fashion week, Fern and I walked into the Juan Carlos Obando show at this beautiful townhouse on the UES and Kelly Rowland, Yes KELLY ROWLAND came running up to Fern and gave her a huge hug. I was like huh? How does a pop star know Fern? I later found out they worked on a TV show together called ‘The Fashion Show’ with Isaac Mizrahi.

And the best yet was the public feud between Fern and Kanye, from the page 6 articles, Kanye’s twitter rant, the NY Post, and every single news channel calling our office trying to get Fern in on national TV to express her thoughts on the situation and Kanye’s adidas collection.

You must have bumped shoulders with some pretty amazing and influential personalities?

Working with Fern I have been really fortunate and blessed to have met some of the most powerful and influential people in fashion in the world. Most recently I worked with Victoria Beckham and her team, and Mr Valentino himself, which can only be described as a dream.

One of the most surreal moments in my career was meeting Tom Ford last September during Fashion Week and Karl Lagerfeld with Fern at the opening of his new Fendi store on Madison Ave back in February this year.

What was New York Fashion Week like for you this year?

Fashion Week is definitely our busiest time of the year; everyone wants a piece of Fern, this is my fourth season with her so I have got the hang of it now and am used to the craziness. We normally go to 8-12 shows a day and then there are always events and parties on in the evening. This season Carine Roitfeld’s BAZAAR Icons event at The Plaza and The Givenchy after party in an abandoned car park in the Lower East Side were definitely a highlight.

Our schedule is so packed because Fern really loves to support her old friends in the industry; the young new hot talent and then some emerging designers. Since I work with Fern I am able to see some of the best shows in New York, from Altuzarra, to Michael Kors, Jason Wu, DVF, Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa and Alexander Wang.

The magnitude of the shows here is just unbelievable, these designers build sets that would take days and days and you just don’t see that in Sydney.  The runways are filled with the top models – Karlie Kloss, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Joan Smalls, Lindsey Wixson, Binx Walton and so on. The seats are filled with every major editor, stylist, retailor, bloggers, and celebrities. From Anna Wintour, and Grace Coddington to Carine Roitfeld, and Anna dello Russo, to Chiara Ferragni and BryanBoy.