So often well... most of the time... My articles focus on designers, collections or merchandise of one sort or another so today let’s focus on a genuine consumer of fashion. By consumer, my intention is to introduce you to Tracy Johnson who is an agent of fashion. The definition of agent here is that Ms. Johnson is retained by an international clientele who entrust her to fulfill all their needs and desires ranging from clothing to home décor to fine jewelry. One might say she is a one woman department store of sorts or an on call sartorialist. She acts as the eyes, ears and proxy for those who seek the incredible, the unusual as well as the commonplace.
Besides the reason for her employ, Ms. Johnson stands out in the crowd as she is a constant seeker of what’s new, what’s old and what is to come. She is constantly in the field whether that’s the flea markets in Williamsburg or London or scoping out the vintage and second hand stores in Paris and Brooklyn or just trolling the retail emporia of New York. In other words she is ready to take on almost any task or assignment that might be requested. To say that she believes in being prepared is like saying Leopard is just another dot pattern! What comes to mind is that one can never be overly educated or overly informed or overly prepared when it comes to fashion!!
So now its time to meet the woman on a mission….
1-can you speak about what you do for your clients and tell us how you arrived at this moment... at lack of a better word... service or profession? Background?
Well, my business is evolving these days.
I started out basically shopping for private clients. Now, many of my clients are asking me to find buyers for items they own. I've also become a liaison between clients and business owners, designers, artists, collectors, etc., that I find to be interesting and that I know my clients will enjoy.
I've been styling and finding things for people since I was in Jr. High School, but only started getting paid for it 2 years ago. Lol.
I've always been an INCREDIBLY curious person, which serves me extremely well in my business. I have a dear friend who gave me the idea to do this as a profession. He was in NYC for a visit, and as is his custom, he'd call me up and say, "LET'S GO SHOPPING SWEETS!" So at the end of our "cleaning-out Bergdorf's session", he says, "Honey... why don't you do this for a living????! You're SO GOOD at it!"
"Hmmm… I never thought about it before, I'd need to find clients I guess".
"I'LL BE YOUR 1ST CLIENT!" He exclaimed as he grabbed and shook me. He's been my client ever since, and through him I have found others.
2-do you have any pre-requisites for accepting new clients and if so please explain? Financial considerations or location? Needs?
I get my clients through recommendations. I have a VERY exclusive client base. My clients are primarily based in The Middle East & the UAE. I also have a few clients throughout Europe.
3-you scour flea markets and so many unusual areas to accommodate your clients, what are your favorites and why? You don’t have to give away any trade secrets …
I ADORE flea markets and junk stores! I'm a MADWOMAN. I love a great adventure. A warehouse in the middle of Jersey, for example? I have found INSANE things in the most UNLIKELY places.
4-do you have any go to designers and why? Any designers that you stay away from and reasons why?
I have VERY particular tastes. I don't follow anyone. I like what I like. I DON'T like anything conventional, conservative, beige... actually I like beige. Let's just say you'll never catch me at MACY'S.
5-when working with a client, do you accompany them or do you shop for them and which and why do you prefer?
I mostly shop on my own because my clients live abroad. They also sometimes fly me out to their location. Once in a while, someone will come here to shop. Then I get to drag them all over the place. I take them to all of my favorite places. They go BANANAS! They love it!! Lol.
Either way it is fun for me, just as long as they can keep up!
6-from what can be gathered, you do a lot or mostly retail shopping, do you indulge your clients with wholesale or made to measure? Genuine haute couture?
Ooooooh no. I shop for all sorts of craziness. THAT'S what makes what I do so much fun! My clients call on me for MANY an interesting thing. Once, my apartment was FULL of medieval armor and weaponry, and various large mammal antlers, feathers, medieval bows and arrows. It was MADNESS! Everything had to come to my house, and then be shipped to Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, I had to fly to Paris for a job. DHL arrived an hour before the car was to come and whisk me off to catch my flight! INSANITY.
I specialize in high-end/haute couture vintage, rare, hard to find, and unusual, interesting items. That's what I am sought for.
7-do you go to shows and do you see any advantage in attending and why?
No. If I want to see a show, I'll watch it on my computer. I prefer to go out and discover things myself.
8-are you or your clients open to dealing with lesser known labels meaning not the usual run of the mill marquee brands? Do your clients prefer only request well-known collections or is a more general request?
ABSOLUTELY!!! I'm a HUGE promoter of new/local talent! My clients enjoy discovering new and different things. That's why they hire me. They know I'm always on the lookout for dope finds. New talent like Public School, David Julian, Rad Hourani, Rachel Comey,and Coperni Femme, who I discovered in Paris while attending a gallery opening with my mentor Laurent Marie Affre. (I ADORE Coperni Femme).
Yes, they also like the well-known brands, but even THEN, they aren't the conventional brands. Brands like Maison Martin Margiela, Rick Owens, Céline, and Jil Sander.
9-if you could wardrobe anyone, who would you select and why and what would you do differently from the way they present themselves now?
Tilda Swinton! I would do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING different with her wardrobe! I would just want to be around her. (swoon)
10-okay, you can invite 5 people to dinner... any 5 from any time era... who and why?
Diana Vreeland, Peggy Guggenheim, Josephine Baker, Charles & Ray Eames. All people I've loved and who have influenced me since childhood. All free spirits just like me.
11-can you make a statement about the current state of fashion and explain to us why you feel this way? Any suggestions for improvement?
I don't really follow trends. I like people who are doing their own thing. I suggest they keep doing it.