Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bottomless Closet Workshop Hosted by Celebrity Stylist Derek Warburton

Fashion Bloggers with Celebrity Stylist Derek Warburton

I had the honor of being part of the Bottomless Closet Workshop hosted by celebrity stylist and international media personality, Derek Warburton. The workshop was held at Bottomless Closet inside the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York. The purpose of the evening was to meet and style an inspirational group of women who are overcoming the most extreme hardships in their lives.

The mission of Bottomless Closet is to help disadvantaged New York City women become self-sufficient through a comprehensive program that begins with professional attire and interview preparation and continues with professional development, financial management and personal enrichment. Using the model of women helping women and their network of dedicated volunteers, Bottomless Closet enhances their clients’ self-esteem and self-confidence in order for them to enter and succeed in the workforce and improve their quality of life. 

I went to the workshop with a good friend of mine and fellow blogger, Martha from We took the elevator down to the B level of the Pennsylvania Hotel where Bottomless Closet is located.

Upon arrival we were greeted by Dana Prigge from Dana had invited us both a day prior to take part in the workshop.

Bottomless Closet was very true to its name as the rooms were filled with donated designer clothes and accessories. 

The workshop began with an inspirational speech from Derek. Since 2009 Derek has been working with Bottomless Closet where he helps women dress for the career they want and build their self esteem along with their self image.

Derek’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Marie Claire, In Touch, Life & Style,The UK’s Evening Standard and more. His clients include Victoria's Secret models, music superstars, and A-list Actors.

It wasn't all glitz and glamour for Derek, who as a child had to endure a homeless lifestyle in the mountains of New Hampshire. Despite his circumstances, Derek had always strived to fulfill his dreams in fashion. After graduating High School, Derek went off to my alma mater the Fashion Institute of Technology where he started to pave his career in fashion.
Derek Warburton and me

After his speech, Derek asked everyone to go around the room and tell their own story. The stories from the women of Bottomless Closet ranged from domestic abuse, homelessness and extreme poverty. It was hard to fathom how anyone could make it through such horrible circumstances but these women have done so with such resilience and vigor. I was both inspired and humbled to hear their stories. 

Then it came my turn to tell my own story. I was hesitant to reveal that growing up as an immigrant child from Ukraine I had to live in extreme poverty. It’s never been something that I've openly shared until now. After a quick thought I decided to tell my story in hopes of inspiring someone else to keep fighting for their dreams and the life that they've always wanted. To give you a brief synopsis; I came to America from Odessa, Ukraine when I was 8, not knowing a word of English. The children at school mercilessly made fun of my threadbare clothing. In fact, I’ve never owned a piece of designer clothing until I started my career in fashion. Despite my unfortunate circumstances I never gave up. My fashion dreams started to come true when I was accepted into the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology. You can read more about my career in fashion in my bio:

After everyone finished telling their stories we had the opportunity to dress the women of Bottomless Closet. Along with my friend Martha I helped to style an amazing woman named Jennifer. Together we picked out a black blazer with a fun print wrap dress. The look is perfect to wear to a job interview or for a special occasion sans blazer.

I was so inspired by the Bottomless Closet workshop and hearing the women's stories of hope and courage through unbelievably hard times. It was a phenomenal experience helping to dress these incredible women for their next job interview. 

To learn more about Bottomless Closet or to donate money or clothing visit

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