The longer that I live here in “The City”, the more I realize that my hardcore education did not really begin until the moment I stepped off the plane to this new chapter of my life. Whether it has been the fast pace of the people on the streets, the grit and rawness of almost everything, or the realization that you really do have to make it here on your own the lesson to be learned from it all is not cliche -- if you can survive here then you really can thrive anywhere. New York, as a mentor of mine has explained, is a kinetic city. It gives you right back what you put in, and you never know what seemingly random interaction might open the door to your greatness. I have been blessed to be in the right circles around the right people to educate myself on things that others may not have otherwise had the opportunity to experience, but as the good Book says, "Ask and you shall receive." I have done just that and that request has lead me here.
As soon as I arrived in New York my mentor told me I had to stop by the Alan Flusser Shop on 5th Avenue. As I walked passed Rockerfeller Center and Bloomingdales on this historic avenue I expected something a bit more grand than what I found. When I arrived at the address there was a nondescript buzzer on an unassuming building that many pass on a daily basis without a second thought. It was only after I got off on the elevator and entered what could only be described as a university of decorum, refinement, social interaction, and sartorial arts that I understood New York, a city often noted for its exportation of the grandiose, is a place where the great ones learn and teach of being understated and demure. There is an art to this.
If you aren’t familiar with my dean let me enlighten you. He is the author of several books on dressing and style including: Clothes and the Man, and Style and the Man, and most recently Dressing the Man. As a designer his accolades include receiving the Coty Award for top men’s designer, and being a costume designer for the move Wall Street. He remains a leading authority on men’s style and matters of taste. But the man himself is quietly reserved, confident, and mild in manner. His style, however, hints to something more engaging. Sonething that seemingly promotes conversation, and the guy seems to have a interesting story about a lot of things that you could listen to hours to. The rest of the professors have been in the retail industry for twenty plus years but beyond their knowledge of analytical operations, the offer lessons in color theory, sartorial textiles and origins, fit 101, and the psychology of clientele interaction. As my dean Alan Flusser has stated “This shop is a university of sorts teaching not only matters of sartorial knowledge, but social interaction and hospitality.”
While I am truly grateful for my matriculation and degree, I believe that it was all just preparation for the real education of life. As Oscar Wilde once said “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”