The moniker "cool girl" is handed out like water in NYC and often feels cliche, but after leaving Gia Seo's Bushwick apartment all I could think was "this chick is cool!" Gia's vibe is not formulated from superficial things like her boutique of a closet, or that her face is featured in Milk Cosmetic's current campaign, and not because she's styled for Opening Ceremony, Jeffrey New York and several magazines. Gia's aura is extremely relaxing, she's well-versed in an array of topics, and equally strategic just as she is creative. SORELLE spent a rainy Saturday afternoon with Gia and discovered her world, including what keeps her grounded, the two things she can't live without, and the rewarding aspects of her current role as an assistant buyer with luxury boutique The Webster. Our conversation with Gia reminded us that though live in "glamorous" NYC, we are all deeper than our titles and designer gear.
What were your first six months like in NYC?
I came here for university so it was very much typical college life. I hate to admit this but I went out 7 days a week! I'd go to school full-time while also interning full-time. Everyone in New York was going out at that pace back then. Now I find I don't go out at all anymore. However, going out constantly is how I made all of my connections.
It was hard adapting to this environment because I come from Alaska followed by a small boarding school in the Bay area before moving to the city.
I'm sure not going out now creates lots of space for "me time." What's the perfect date with yourself?
I'm literally the definition of Netflix and Chill -- literally meaning watching Netflix all day and eating a lot of food.
Career wise, you've modeled, styled, and now you're an assistant buyer at the Webster. I'm sure your brain isn't fashion centered 24/7, though. What are you into aside from fashion?
Sports. I'm a huge basketball fanatic and I'm a part of an ESPN fantasy basketball league. Also, growing up I was sponsored to do dirt bike and motocross competitions!
Does that influence your style? Your style has a hint of tomboy chic.
It's hard for me to say I have a style. It's constantly adapting depending on if I make a new friend or if someone comes back into my life because I'm heavily influenced by what's around me. Growing up in Alaska in a Native American community definitely influences me as well because there I had no idea what "fashion" was. Everything was about wearability versus style.
What's your favorite song at the moment?
I am not relevant when it comes to music. Everything I know comes from my roommate Devon. I will say I've been a major Eminem fan since I was 10! I've been to so many concerts and have met him many times with so many shirts and posters signed. I can sing you every Eminem song from every album before 2001.
What's your most sacred possession in your home? One that'd you'd go neurotic if lost or stolen?
Not to sound like a brat but If I lost my phone or laptop I'd go completely insane. It's the only way for me to get in contact with my parents who I call and Skype every day.
Ooooh, what shows are you binging on?
Medium and Property Brothers! If I'm not Netflixing I also like to read. Right now I'm reading a series of George Saunders short stories which my boyfriend James introduced me to. I'm also reading The Act of Fielding and it's about baseball. I love anything sports related because early American literature has a lot of sports influence being that it's such a big thing here.
Any Youtube guilty pleasures?
BMX competitions, honestly! D.I.Y Japanese videos also. The latest one I've seen is a woman creating a cardboard bib for eating noodles. I'd like to think that one day I'll have enough time to make these things for myself!
Circling back to what you said about losing your phone or laptop, how important is family to you?
I have my parents and two sisters who are eight years older than me. I'm incredibly close with my family! If I'm making a decision about my career or any big factor I call my dad because I value his perspective. He's a big influence in my life as he and my mom immigrated to America when they were 23, without speaking English, and with $8 in their pockets. He worked 14-hour days every day to put three kids through school. Growing up like that is not something you forget. In terms of "making it," if my dad could do it then I feel everything in our generation is much easier. It keeps me grounded especially when I have days like, "Oh the train is late! I hate my life!" I remember what my parents went through. It motivates me to work harder at things I'm passionate about. It's never about how much money can I make but more about how can I do something I love and not only make money but also show honor to my mom and dad. I love my parents and respect them so much and I'd never want to disappoint them.
When I grew older, my family told me more about our history especially concerning the Korean War and its made me respect myself so much more as well. I am so proud to be Korean and I love my heritage!
That's amazing. Now that you are a buying assistant at The Webster, what is the most challenging and rewarding aspect of your job?
The most challenging aspect is understanding the consumer market in different regions. The Webster is based in Miami and Houston but will also be available in other cities in the future. Buying is not solely based on what I think is cool but its understanding numbers: how people are spending money right now, what are they spending it on, who's shopping at The Webster, and also curating our selection for multiple personalities but still maintaining a focus. The most rewarding part is picking two looks from a runway of 32-46 looks and seeing it sell the next season. It means not only did I do my job right but that I also made a customer very happy. Also, it's rewarding when my boss is happy with my work. She's very young and incredibly smart but will never throw it in our face or brag.
What have you absorbed from being around her?
The biggest thing I've learned is how to speak to people, verbiage wise. Having multiple languages across multiple personalities to create understanding is so important. For example, the way I'd communicate with a client from a traditional house like Givenchy or Valentino is completely different from how I'd speak to someone from Adam Selman or CDG. My boss is incredible in how she speaks to people outside of work and at work.