Tell us your name and job title, and a little about what you do:
Emily Burns Perryman, eMarketing Communications Specialist, Freed Maxick CPAs. I am a digital strategist, PR, and communications manager for a top 100 regional accounting firm. I also oversee community relations and manage the firm’s web initiatives.
Where are you from and where did you go to school?
Grew up in Getzville, NY, a suburb of Buffalo, and attended the SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC for Fashion Design and Advertising and Marketing Communications.
What made you decide to get into the fashion industry?
I have always loved all things related to fashion and truly appreciate it as an amazing and creative form of art and expression. Fashion influences our culture and our culture influences fashion. It’s an amazing business. I wanted to get into the industry because it interested and intrigued me so much. I wanted to learn all facets of fashion… not only the craft and skill of design, but also how advertising, branding and marketing come into play within the business.
Tell us about some of your highlights of your professional career in the industry:
Some career highlights include:
- Meeting Giorgio Armani during my internship with the menswear sales team during college
- Working for the Christian Dior Couture PR team and assisting top stylist Phillip Bloch on an apparel pull for celebrities attending the Grammy awards
- Helping style and shoot the Lauren by Ralph Lauren ad campaign in the early 2000’s
- Overseeing fashion and accessories editor’s appointments and events for various brands including Nine West, Jones New York, Anne Klein, and Givenchy
- Helping launch the Derek Jeter men’s fragrance for Avon and meeting him at the official launch party
- Staffing the mark cosmetic line booth at the celebrity gifting suite at the MTV Video Music awards at Radio City Music Hall
- Attending various fashion shows, events and parties during Fashion Week in New York
What made you decide to leave NYC and move away from the fashion industry?
After a long time in fashion, my career path took me to a communications position in NY with a large digital media agency. I quickly learned about emerging media platforms, advertising and marketing, and really enjoyed the change of pace and opportunity to learn new things. In many ways advertising can often be as glamorous and exciting as fashion!
That position in particular set me up with the experience necessary to get a job in Buffalo, when I decided to relocate back in 2008. Moving away from NY was a lifestyle choice rather than a career choice, as I was tired of the big city living, a cramped apartment, tight budget, and ready for an easier way of life.
Since then I have “redesigned” my career, learned even more, and am attempting to carve out my unique place here in Buffalo everyday. I feel I have done a great job learning an entirely new industry (accounting), and have blazed a trail in my own way, with my fashion blog for national trade publication Accounting Today. I also love getting involved in cool local start up companies like You and Who, and dabbling in fashion-related activities and opportunities as much as possible.
How would you describe your sense of style?
When I lived and worked in NY I was much more trendy and wild…especially when I went out! I was also younger and more willing to take fashion “risks.” Since then I feel I have refined my style. I know what fits me well and what silhouettes, colors and shapes work best for me, and I make purchases not only based on the current fashion trends, but the timelessness factor. If I can buy classic pieces that will be in my wardrobe for years to come, that’s better than items that have too brief a shelf life. This is often the type of advice I give readers of my Accounting Today fashion blog “Fashion & Finance,” as the accounting profession is notoriously a very conservative environment when it comes to dress codes.
My favorite designers and labels are Chanel, Lilly Pulitzer, Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, Milly, DVF, Emilio Pucci, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrara, and so many more. I also love vintage clothes and accessories and have a collection of vintage dresses I try to find occasions to wear as often as possible. I have also been using the show “Mad Men” as my style inspiration for several years. Most often you’ll see me in a sleeveless shift dress and I love bold colors and patterns. I would have loved dressing in the 60’s!
What advice would you give someone just starting out looking to get into the fashion industry?
The fashion industry is a very tough business. It’s competitive, challenging and unlike other industries, appearances really do matter in this biz. That said, if you love it, live it and breathe it, you can find a way to do what you love. I did, from right here in Buffalo, and can still stay connected to the fashion world through the web, which allows me the chance to not miss a beat, and by participating in other local projects.
I suggest starting with your studies and choose a program that will train and educate you well, and offer you great internship opportunities outside of the classroom. There are amazing schools and programs all across the country and the world, and studying at one to get your foot in the door is a great start.
What did you miss most when you were away from Buffalo?
My family, the laid back way of life, inexpensive rent and cheap vintage clothes!
Where are some of your favorite places to shop?
Bloomingdales 59th St and their Soho location are two of my all time favorites, as well as Henri Bendel in NY. There are also a ton of amazing small specialty boutiques in Brooklyn that I love. Online, I love Nordstrom and ShopStyle.com, as well as Last Call by Neiman Marcus. Holt Renfrew in Toronto and the Leslieville neighborhood boutiques in the southeast corner of the city are cool, as well as all of the amazing vintage shops in Kensington Market, just above Chinatown. Here in Buffalo I shop at the mall and like Lord and Taylor, Ann Taylor and JCrew. I also like exploring the local consignment, used clothing and vintage shops, and have had some luck at Ritzy Rags finding cool vintage dresses and accessories.
Follow our blog to get all the updates on Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week, including when we speak with Buffalo native Beauty Queen next week.