Karen Giberson is president of The Accessories Council - a not-for-profit organization that raises awareness and demand for accessory products in the fashion world. We obviously love the mission behind this organization, which now includes the top global brand names in the accessories industry, with Giberson at its helm. Giberson has a kind of accessory of her own - a stuffed Scotty dog named Rusty that belonged to her Father when he was a boy. We sat down with Giberson to capture the story behind this possession obsession, both through photographs and personal anecdotes...
1. What is your possession obsession? Tell us how you came to own this precious object. Was it something you grew up with? If so, did you appreciate it then as you do now?
My favorite and most treasured possession is Rusty, my dad's stuffed Scotty dog, whom he had since he was a little boy. I became the custodian of Rusty after my dad passed away in 2006. Rusty was a well loved toy for many years. He is all black, about 10" long and has an articulated neck, so his head can move. He used to be soft, but over the years he has gotten a little crunchy and is bald in many spots, where the fur has worn off from too many hugs. For me, Rusty is special because he reminds me of visiting my Scottish grandmother in Michigan, who has now been gone for many years. It was fun to visit her, eat the pink iced windmill cookies she always had on hand and of course get to play with Rusty. Every time I look at Rusty, I remember my grandmother listening to her bagpipe music, my father and many happy times.
2. How do you live with your possession obsession? Is it somewhere you can enjoy it everyday?
I keep Rusty safely in my dresser, on a shelf, where he peeks out at me every day. I haven't shown him to many people, but it makes me happy every time I open his drawer. I wish I could let my kids play with him, but I don't think he would survive much more handling. I should probably investigate ways to have him preserved.
3. Who in your life has most influenced your personal style and taste?
Wow - that is a tough question as there have been so many influences over the years. I have had a number of AHA fashion moments. After graduating from a high school in rural Pennsylvania, where jeans, sweatshirt jackets and t-shirts were the uniform, going to college was a major awakening. I noticed mainly that I had no style and made an immediate commitment to updating my wardrobe. Of course, that was the 80's and I have since destroyed most of the evidence. I do still have some great fashion jewelry from that time. Graduating from college and starting work for Macy's was another big moment, as I transitioned from being a student to working for a fashion company. I started out dressing quite conservatively, but after twenty five years of working in the fashion industry, I have evolved to find my own style. Working for the Accessories Council, I am surrounded by amazingly fashionable women. I have a thing for shoes and probably have too many pairs. I am dying for a color block Brian Atwood pump I borrowed for a photo shoot recently. I wouldn't mind borrowing a thing or two from a few of our members personal closets...I am constantly inspired!
4. Fill in the blank: Whenever I look at________, I can't help but smile.
My family - I have a wonderful partner Nick, a daughter Katie, a son Luken - and Nick comes with Neo, who is a real joy to have around. I am very fortunate.
5. What's the best part of your day?
I love my mornings. If I am in NYC, I look forward to starting things off with a FlyWheel class and heading to the office for an early start. Or at home, getting my son off to school, listening to music and having a gigantic dark cup of coffee before I start working.
6. What was the most memorable gift you've ever given or received?
Last year, Nick took time off while I was in NYC for a few days and totally re-landscaped the front of my house. I pulled in the driveway to beautiful new shrubs and flowers, a cleaned house and a surprise birthday party with my closest friends. I was shocked that he pulled it off and I had no idea.
7. What was your last purchase that you believe (or hope) will mean something to you 10 years from now?
My most significant investment right now is my daughter's education. She is a freshman at Philadelphia University studying Fashion Marketing. My hope is that ten years from now, she will be happily established in a career. Who knows - maybe I will even get to work with her someday?