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K R I S T I N A - M A R I E


Editor’s Note: What do store owners do when they go on vacation? They go to stores. I guess that is called a busman’s holiday. So there I was in Edinburgh, Scotland, waiting for a flight, when I happened upon a Hugo Boss Shop in the airport. It is there that I met Kristina-Marie Ross, salesperson, photographer, and fashion blogger (http://retiredartstudent. I asked Kristina to share some of her thoughts on working retail in an international airport. ~Ken


It’s not always easy for retired art students. We’re very much used to projects which have endings — handing in papers on Fridays — and when we begin to feel artistically drained, it’s okay, because we know that next month we’ll be working on a completely different work of art. So when I left art school to pursue a career as a freelance photographer, there was a little bit of a shock. I should have known there wouldn’t be a queue of people at my door, throwing money at me in exchange for photos. So what do retired students of the artistic career path do while waiting for their big break? The answer is simple. We work, sometimes at less than glamorous jobs, sometimes at jobs that are actually quite fun. Whatever the case, we work to fuel the hopes and dreams the hipsters inside us desire. When I’m not being a tortured artist, I’m working at Edinburgh Airport’s Hugo Boss store, in Scotland. Any of you lovely Americans passing through our painfully cold country between the hours of 5am and 9pm are more than welcome to see if I’m there. (The girl on the caffeine drip, by the way.) Despite the fact I am only there so many days a week, every shift brings a different experience. Perhaps it’s a suave journalist talking about that one time he and Phil Collins had breakfast on the beach, or just a flustered family shyly asking for a carrier bag after their toddler spilled his juice box all over their carry-on. All in all, I find people endearing. It’s why I love photography. I thrive on catching moments of people, between people, with people. People are strange. Despite how much two men in tailored suits can physically resemble each other, the layers beneath them are so very intricate. I’m one of those people that likes to dig up what I can about a person, because they will always have something to teach you that you didn’t know before — and that is a lifelong, ongoing experience.  One particular incident (names have been changed, of course) showed me the many layers a man can have, and just how fast they can fall off when he’s come face to face with his woman. I met Mr Hennessey on a Tuesday morning, it was sometime between 5am and wanting to die. I’m not sure what his real name was, but he looked like a Hennessey. A simple but physically strong man, he strode in with confusion painted across his face, eyes scanning the table laid perfectly with denims, mouth hanging slightly open through concentration. I approached him with caution, (As a Brit, approaching strangers is the root of all fear.) “Are you finding everything okay there, Sir?” I asked in the happiest tone one could pretend at this forsaken hour. Mr Hennessey looked up with slight relief. “Actually, I’m looking for some jeans,” he stated simply. I had to tilt my head backwards to take in his 6’4” stance. He was probably in his mid-thirties with dirty



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blonde hair and an Australian accent. His testosterone levels were through the roof. “Okay! Well, let me help you with that.” I whipped out five pairs of jeans from beneath the table, rambling about the differences between them all. We bounced back and forth with questions and answers such as “Is this the sort of cut you were looking for?”, “No way! These are tax free?”, and “Wow, that wash of denim really brings out your personality.” By this point he had tried on seven pairs of Boss denims. Mr Hennessey was a mixture of good looks, well traveled sense, and good old banter. It’s not every day in retail that you find a customer with whom you truly have chemistry, with whom your conversations are not fueled purely by etiquette, but actual social skills. “Y’know what? I’m not gonna take those,”he said, his muscular (yes, muscular) hand clutching two pairs of comfort fit denims, “But I’m definitely going to buy these.” The other hand dropping his ragged hold all onto the floor, as he pointed to the five pairs in my arms. Five. So many jeans that I have to use my physical arms to carry them. Five pairs of jeans over the price of £100 each. Five. Pairs. Of jeans. I tried to hide my excitement, and the strain my skinny arms felt holding so much denim. I clicked my little black heels from the fitting room and gracefully dropped the denims onto the cash desk, creating a cute mound of expensiveness. I was thrilled. It had been such a quiet morning. It was Tuesday, for crying out loud! If Sunday was a day of rest, then Tuesday was a day of death.

Wow, that wash of denim really brings out your personality. My fingers tapped anxiously on the keyboard as I waited for the computer to load. Mr Hennessey stood before the cash desk as we smiled our way through a conversation about Scotland — how much he had enjoyed his time here and how beautiful my country was. Mr Hennessey’s face had come so far since we had met twenty-seven minutes ago. Confusion was gone, he was now a man of hope and pride. This man was no longer just a man, he was a wielder of five pairs of designer jeans and would never have to venture into a Levis store again. All because I, Kristina-Marie Ross, showed him the power of Hugo Boss casual wear. I was there to unveil the truth behind what looks great with a shirt and what looks great with another shirt. I took full responsibility