Julia Rubin

Racked Features Editor

Jaymie is, was, will always be the person who made it all click for me. I was her 20-year-old intern when we met at Yves Saint Laurent, where she worked in visual merchandising. She was just a few years older, but seemingly decades wiser when it came to what was truly cool.

I always knew fashion was a thing I cared about. I was deeply interested in putting together "full looks," for lack of a better term, throughout elementary school, started subscribing to Vogue at age 12, and spent countless suburban teen hours trying to find things nobody else had at the mall.

But for as much as I thought about clothes and What It All Meant for the first 20 years of my life, my perception of the industry was decidedly myopic. To me, fashion was super luxe and hyperfeminine (thank you, Vogue), two things I was not. And then I met Jaymie.

Working in visuals meant spending our days in the YSL flagship on 57th Street and its much-beloved (and now closed) Madison Avenue counterpart, installing window displays and making floor moves. While the rest of the corporate employees teetered around in outrageously platformed Tribute sandals and tight pencil skirts, Jaymie wore black jeans and lace-up brogues.

This was the first step in my reeducation, a summer of learning that fashion could be smart and weird, not just girly and expensive.

It was partly out of necessity—one of the bigger shocks of my internship was just how physical the work was—but also because that’s what she liked to wear. Heels were dumb, oxfords were cool, and as for those jeans, it was Yves himself who praised their "expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity—all I hope for in my clothes."

The look was the anti-Vogue, not particularly feminine and certainly not luxe, but by no means a rejection of fashion. I copied it immediately.

This was the first step in my reeducation, a summer of learning that fashion could be smart and weird, not just girly and expensive. In a pre-September Issue world, Jaymie taught me that Grace Coddington, she of frizzy hair and clunky shoes, was the real force behind my precious Vogue. In a pre-Instagram world, Jaymie introduced me to Linda Fargo, the woman responsible for the Bergdorf windows we worshipped across Fifth Avenue. At that time, they were somewhat unsung heroes, and who wanted to be perfectly coiffed Anna when you could be the person actually making cool stuff behind the scenes?

On off hours, we’d head downtown to look at spectacularly odd pieces at Marni and even stranger ones at Comme des Garçons. She took me to Supreme for the very first time, and then Nom de Guerre, an underground men’s store that was literally underground. It blew my mind. We even took a weekend trip to Philly—where we both went to college—to visit friends, as well as sneakerhead shrine Ubiq and Antwerp Six–filled Joan Shepp.

It’s hard to underscore just how much I learned from Jaymie. She opened up a world within a world that I never knew existed and got me so damn excited. Fashion has always gone far beyond glossy magazines, but that was a hard thing to realize as a kid in the Midwest during the dial-up days. I needed a living, breathing Fashion Gateway Drug to make me really get it, and I’m forever grateful that Jaymie was just that.

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