SHAY JOHNSON

SHAY JOHNSON

How did you get to where you are today?

I was born in Texas, raised in Atlanta. I went to a small college in South Georgia and my major was psychology. I think I knew all along I was a creative person but I think that growing up in the south you don’t have a lot of creativity around you so I just picked psychology. My senior year in college I was like, “Alright I’m going to follow my dream, do what I want to do” so I moved home with my mom. Saved money for a year and a half, moved to New York and then started interning at Opening Ceremony. I did a styling and production internship and I just worked my way up. Now I’m a studio coordinator/producer there.

 

How would you describe the company culture?

I feel like OC’s culture is very family oriented. The culture there is more like you’re part of a family as opposed to, these are just your coworkers. To be completely honest some of my coworkers are some of the best friends that I have in life, not just at work. We hang out outside of work, we text all day on the weekends and on vacations, we’re still texting.

A lot of our employees are in their 20’s-mid 30’s which is a young company. So we party together, we work together and yes, that’s pretty much OC’s company culture. We do a pretty good job of balancing, having fun, creating shit, working hard and putting blood, sweat, and tears into it.

 

So what’s your role there?

I produce our ecomm, content, and editorial shoots. We just launched our collab with Issey Miyake that was shot in Mexico. Which came out cute! I work really closely with our Photo Director, VP, Art, and Ecomm Director. Which is really cool because I have learned so much from them!!

 

Can you go into more detail on that?

At Opening Ceremony obviously we have our own brand but then we also carry so many other cool/interesting brands that have to be shot for our e-comm site. We are shooting everyday of the week. To flats, on-figure, and content.

That means that day to day I’m booking photographers, stylist, hair and makeup, models, and assistants. Making sure all samples that need to be shot that day are in the studio. I'll be in the back reviewing images with our photo director or photographer. Even though I’m a producer I like to think I am sometimes a photo editor, stylist, photographer not technically but our team is a team of 4. We all do a lot of things and help out where we can. Recently I have been shooting all of our casting photos. Ill sometimes model and hand model for us too! My fingers are really long, haha

 

So how did you land that job?

I did a styling and production internship at OC and when it was finished they did not have any positions open on the  production team but they did have a position for office manager. So I took it knowing that my plan was to move back over to production. I helped the studio/production team out as much as I could to stay involved. I worked my way up from there. My current position did not exsist before but as the needs of the company grew and things within our team changed and the role was created for me. I saw what needed to be done on our team, so I made it happen and that is how I am where I am today.

 

What have you learned from OC?

I will forever be grateful to OC for giving me a chance and that’s just fucking real. I did not study fashion. I had no internships, no experience, no nothing and they took a chance on me.

I think that if you work your ass off for a company, especially a smaller company your potential for growth is there … I’m just going to put it like this, when you work at a bigger company if you are a merchandiser, you are just doing merchandising but at Opening Ceremony, you have your position but since we’re such a small team, you pick up other roles within your title and are constantly learning and growing. So a lot of it is, if you ask for it, they will give you a chance if there is an opportunity or need. Which is amazing because it makes you super well-rounded.  

 

How do you make sure that the content that’s produced in OC is in line with the vision?

Our studio team works closely with Humberto, Art Director, and buyers. Before shooting, we sit down to brainstorm and talk about what we want to do and make sure Humberto has the sign off. I think it is amazing that he is super involved with everything that we produce and that we can reach out to him for answers. We do a lot of collaborations with brands that have their own aesthetic for example Coach, however when you see the editorial images there is an OC spin.

 

How has OC influenced it’s time? That’s definitely putting you on the spot…

Hahaha, yes you are! I think as a company Opening Ceremony is not scared to push the limits and take risks. It is very all or nothing. I think you see that in our fashion shows each season. The play at the Metropolitan Opera was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. The space is BEAUTIFUL! Also, by being one of the 1st to stock and support young emerging designers who have been LVMH Prize winners or finalist can speak for itself in how we are an influence within the industry lol.