College for Creative Studies: Photography
Meredith Fleischer’s experiences have taught her that a strong background in photography can open the doors to a variety of rewarding career paths—from working alongside the biggest names in the fashion industry to promoting her family’s local business through her inspiring photography.
After graduating from CCS, Fleischer began her career as a freelance photographer shooting various work for several publications in the Detroit area. She decided to focus more on fine art/fashion photography and enrolled in the MFA program at Cranbrook.
During her last few months of graduate school, Fleischer started a vintage t-shirt company, Vintage Rescue. Her one-of-a-kind designs were created from vintage t-shirts that were cut up and then hand stitched back together. She created a Web site to promote her company which landed her national/international distribution to 35 boutiques in major cities worldwide. Her first celebrity client was Britney Spears, who appeared in US Weekly wearing one the vintage shirts. The fashion world took notice, and Fleischer’s line soon popped up in Nylon magazine and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” among other media outlets.
“I wanted to be closer to the fashion industry, so I moved to New York,” explained Fleischer. “As I immersed myself in this world, I soon discovered opportunities that I never knew existed.”
Over the years, Fleischer gained experience in a fashion showroom shooting archives of vintage clothing, doing research/editorial work for Men’s Journal magazine and assisting with marketing and portfolios at a boutique agency for photographers.
“In this industry, everyone is expected to put in their dues,” said Fleischer. “For two years, I worked seven days a week. I knew that these internships were critical to my career, but I had bills to pay. So, I worked retail jobs on the weekend. I have to admit, it was a hustle!”
“I quickly discovered that in addition to what you know, it also matters who you know. And in the end, it all paid off. I had my ‘in’ into the fashion world. My internship/assisting positions taught me how to determine estimates, create marketing pieces, present portfolios and help photographers get advertising jobs. Then I landed my dream job—becoming the Art Director at Marek and Associates.”
As an Art Director, Fleischer managed portfolios of the artists and photographers she wrote papers about a few years earlier in school. She also assisted with Web development and helped maintain national/international relations between the agency and those in the fashion industry.
“I got to work with some extremely creative people,” said Fleischer. “Not just photographers, but stylists, set/prop designers and hair/makeup artists as well. I found it both exciting and challenging to strategize the best way to present their work to the world. What an amazing experience!”
Fleischer’s career led her in a new direction when her father purchased Plutonium Paint (a premium aerosol paint company based in Southfield), formerly known as Plutonium G. She returned to Detroit to help launch this one-of-a-kind product.
“In less than a year, we re-branded the product with a new logo, designed a new can, developed a website and broadened our distribution while supporting Detroit and an American made, eco-friendly product,” she said. "It was an interesting turn of events, and I must say that immersing myself in the world of aerosol paint was a bit challenging. However, I see it as a great source for artists—not just graffiti artists and mixed media/industrial artists, but those who work with home improvements and furniture as well.”
What Fleischer enjoys most about her involvement with Plutonium Paint is the opportunity to document the work of artists using the company’s product. She recently self published a book called “Straight Back from the Future” that highlights street art in Detroit through a collection of her photographic work. http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2847218 ;
“Photography continues to be at the heart of what I do, whether it’s fashion in New York or promoting a new line of paint internationally."
“For now, I’m enjoying the opportunity to travel the world and document artists using our products. It’s also rewarding to be able to come home and support the city.”