Krystal Ptacek (@krystalptacek) is a receptionist at Art+Science West Loop and a fashion business student at Columbia College.
What are some of the most important lessons you’re learning in your fashion business courses?
Apparel Evaluation has definitely been the most useful course I’ve taken. As a financially independent college student, the majority of my wardrobe comes from secondhand stores. I now know what qualities to look for in a garment in order to justify my purchases. Some of my best and most favorite pieces have been purchased from a secondhand store for under ten dollars.
What makes a fashion enterprise successful?
I feel like success is based off of the raw emotion behind the work being produced. Sometimes it seems like success is unattainable in the fashion industry and it is a cutthroat field to work in. You just have to be willing and able to face failure from the beginning without losing sight of the reason you’re doing it all in the first place: because you really love it. If you keep doing what you love, success will come naturally.
Where do you get informed in your field?
Some of my favorite magazines are i-D, Bon, Dazed and Paper (online and print). One of the perks of being a student is that I have the ability to access WGSN and Women’s Wear Daily as well in order to stay current and get more of an inside look at the industry. I also follow these lovely Instagrams: @c0neja, @gelbsy, @sitabellan, @bureaubetak and @pinamarlene.
What kind of job do you intend to have? How are you getting started in your profession?
I feel like today people are being forced to know exactly what they want to do and keep creating and releasing content. It seems like it’s more about quantity than quality. It works right now for some artists because people just want more and more stimulation but it has me wondering if it will still be relevant in five years. I don’t really know what the future holds for me and I’m more than okay with that. I’m just chilling. I am focusing on graduating school while exploring my talents and interests more deeply so I have a better understanding of where I am going to thrive the most.
Why did you become interested in the business side of fashion?
I initially did not want to go to college, I wanted to take a gap year because I had no idea what I wanted to pursue. I felt a lot of pressure to go to college so at the last minute I decided to go to school for fashion in Chicago, which shocked my family. I’ve always had a love for clothes and decided if I was going to have to endure four years of post-secondary education, I might as well be studying something I enjoy. Plus I work a lot better with numbers and organization rather than sketches and a sewing machine.
How would you describe your style? Who and what inspires you?
I would describe my style as very eclectic. My main inspiration is my grandmother—I can spend all day just looking through her closet, jewelry boxes and shoes. She has the best style out of anybody I know and is the main reason I am going to school for fashion. I also take a lot of my inspiration from my mood and whatever kind of music I’m listening to in the morning. It’s a lot easier to express myself through what I’m wearing and how I present myself. Right now I am really into the oversized look, the color gold and sparkles.
Where do you have your hair cut? Why did you choose this hairstyle?
I get my hair cut and colored at Art+Science in the West Loop. Ever since I started working there my hair has gotten shorter and blonder. I like to get my hair cut from all the different stylists to see their interpretations of what looks best and they never disappoint. In this photo, the barber, Nicky, cut my hair. I get it colored by Gabrielle who has always done a stunning job. Next week I’m coloring it pink for my twenty-first birthday, which I’ll be spending in Miami.
—Interview and photograph by Isa Giallorenzo
Author: Isa Giallorenzo
Journalist Isa Giallorenzo was born in São Paulo, Brazil and has elected Chicago as her beloved home since 2009. She runs the street-style blog Chicago Looks and wants to see this town become one of the fashion capitals of the world.