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Hannah Bibb couldn’t decide between medicine and fashion.
In the end, the stilettos trumped the stethoscope; it’s been a “crazy and exhilarating journey” ever since.
She’s now the assistant fashion director at Barneys New York and a mentor to one of Bermuda’s budding designers, Courtney Clay.
The 20-year-old’s clothing collection, Grace, will feature in the Bermuda Fashion Festival’s Local Designer Show in July.
“From our first Skype session Courtney and I meshed really well,” Ms Bibb said.
“I have given her feedback and she has really reciprocated it through her designs. I met her and her mother in New York City when they came to source fabric and it was so amazing to see her in person.”
The Bermudian designer’s collection has really transformed since she enrolled at Central Saint Martins, a prestigious design school in London, UK, Ms Bibb said.
She’s also seen her mature into her own as an artist.
The Los Angeles native didn’t get serious about the fashion industry until college.
“When I finally warmed up to the idea of having a career in fashion, I was interested in being a fashion curator at a museum,” she said. “My first internship was at the FIDM Museum and Galleries in Los Angeles, and once I completed that course of the internship I thought more deeply about editorial. I had several internships at magazines in New York and met [Bermudian fashion consultant] Shiona Turini during my time at Teen Vogue. She became my mentor and has really guided me through my career.”
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Her job at Barneys allows her to be a “curator of clothing” as well as an editor.
“It’s a perfect mix of roles that combines my past experiences and it is definitely keeping me interested,” she said.
At the moment her plan is to learn as much as she can at Barneys, a chain of luxury department stores in the US.
“I can’t really tell you what’s after that. It’s almost so big I can’t really wrap my mind around it,” Ms Bibb said.
“I think it’s important to always have a list of short-term goals and to fulfil each one.
“Also, never do anything for money or decline because of a lack of money. You truly have to do everything out of love and passion; then money and success will come.”
The “self-diagnosed workaholic” is hoping to find the right balance between work and life.
In the meantime, her dedication and passion for fashion has served her well.
“At the end of the day, fashion is a business,” she said. “It’s an industry that is creative and demanding, and if your heart is not set in it, it will be hard to delve into it.
“There are thousands of young girls and boys who wish to be in this industry, but it’s important to realise it is not just about the clothes and glamour.
“It’s about knowing who is who, researching designers, editors, photographers and models. It’s about educating yourself with this knowledge and maintaining your passion.”
She’s excited to visit the Island for the Fashion Festival this summer. Part of her interest was sparked by Ms Turini who shared pictures and stories of her home.
Ms Bibb said she wears a necklace with a Bermuda sand-filled charm her mentor gave her, every day.
“I am really looking forward to seeing all the designers’ collections and experiencing the final show. I also cannot wait to meet Shiona’s family and to explore the Island, which I know will be absolutely breathtaking. Finally, I am looking forward to seeing the Gombey dancers, which is such a strong influence for Courtney’s collection.”
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