As a graduate of S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a background in advertising, media, corporate law and the creative arts, Caren Menahem launched FOODNFASHIONFORALIVIN. It brings stylish designs to restaurant and hospitality industry clothing collections made for loyal customers, as well as chef aprons, mugs, napkins, coasters and more.
Here, Menahem discusses her fashionable brand, exciting Glamping in Southampton Blu Mar and 75 Main Designer Collection with Zach Erdem, and more.
Caren Menahem Talks FOODNFASHIONFORALIVIN
How was FOODNFASHIONFORALIVIN born?
I am a media personality and producer, creator of my own IGTV show, It’s Rough Out There, which is a show I created and produced based on my interviews with restaurant staff, fashion consultants and specialists. My Instagram account (@foodnfashionfriendtm), my passion and my experience in advertising, design and media collided with my love of great food and fashion. It was just the natural, seamless next step to form my own corporation and design my own digital website where I manage my digital shop, and the rest is history.
What inspired the idea to design for restaurants and hotels?
I have a passion for corporate businesses’ commercial growth, creating and designing. My goal is to go worldwide, designing for the best hotels and restaurants globally — dressing them all! I am not just your average clothing brand and designer. I created my corporation to service a special sector that I felt was left out. I serve specifically commercial clients: restaurants, hotels, spas, fundraisers and corporations growing and marketing their businesses and brands.
Of course, my clothing collections are also designed for customers, friends and staff. When customers get tired of the same generic brands, why not wear an outfit featuring your favorite restaurant to bring you back to that special place, time and memory?
I have the ability and creativity to design unique, original designs for companies worldwide — for amazing chefs, waiters, waitresses and servers. I want to dress up the Michelin and five-star hotels, big and small.
Talk about your design launch for 75 Main and Blu Mar.
75 Main has special memories for me, as I went there in my 20s on some weekends during my study breaks. At that time, I could not afford to summer in the Hamptons, so my girlfriends and I would make a drive from Great Neck to have dinner at 75 Main and return back to our reality of studying and a budget.
I created my clothing brand where I trademark my special collections and sell them online: Candy Girl, Candy Boy, Rainbow Sprinkles and my special Tennis Heart logo are just some. It was my dream to have Zach as one of my restaurant clients. I told him I had a great idea to dress up his two restaurants, and he was very excited!
He said, “Show them to me!” All winter, I started designing for him around the clock. I finally sent him my finalized creation, and he loved it! I was so excited! On a very rainy Sunday in early spring, I drove in the storm determined not to wait and brought him my samples. I could see it on his face, his smile said he loved it. I was so relieved! I was so happy I came through to meet his expectations.
He does have great taste! And this is how the collection for Zach Erdem’s 75 Main and Blu Mar was born.
This spring and summer has been such an absolute blast selling the collection I created for his businesses, even during the reality show (Serving the Hamptons) filming. Zach is amazing and his staff and customers are so amazing! I was just thrilled and determined to make the launch successful. Zach and I thought it was a great idea to be there in person at the restaurant hands-on selling my designs to the customers, where we have our collection displayed on the counter. He and I have that in common — he is very in touch, hands-on with his business, as am I!
What moments do you consider the highlights of your career?
One day I was notified by Dan’s Papers that I was selected as a Power Woman of the East End! This was one of the most unbelievable moments at a professional level. I have worked so hard to receive so many professional licenses and this was just an amazing feeling, especially because I started my business from scratch with ambition, experience, drive and I had no celebrity connections in the fashion industry or banking markets.
My second most amazing moment in this industry was bumping into Foodgod at 75 Main one morning when I was checking and preparing the shop for the day with Zach at 75 Main. I was lifting a bunch of the collection from my car — I think with high heels on — while Foodgod was sitting and having lunch with Zach at one of Zach’s VIP front tables.
Zach asked me to come sit down and chat with Foodgod and him. I went to high school with Foodgod; he and I were good friends.
A week later, Foodgod returned to tape an episode of the reality show that was being filmed at 75 Main. The cast chefs for the reality show were wearing the aprons that I designed for Zach’s restaurant! I had to sit on a barstool, as I had to take a moment; I couldn’t believe what I had accomplished. I could not sit at a regular table, as I was not there as a customer, I was there selling my clothing line designing for Zach Erdem.
Later the next day on social media, I saw pictures of Foodgod with the actors wearing my chef aprons. It was at that point I knew I was on the map as a restaurant designer. With hard work, ambition, vision, experience, drive and determination, anything can be accomplished even if you don’t have banking investors or a celebrity!
What collection is in the works?
I am already in production for Zach Erdem’s 75 Main and Blu Mar 2023 spring/summer collection for his chefs, waiters, waitresses and servers. Our collection can be purchased on my online shop, foodnfashionforalivin.com, where you can purchase the exact size and color for direct shipment, and in person at 75 Main and Blu Mar.
If you own a restaurant, café, hotel or spa and would like a unique collection, make your next RES with FOODNFASHIONFORALIVIN to collaborate and create your unique collection for both staff and customers.
I am already in production for Zach Erdem’s 75 Main and Blu Mar 2023 spring/summer collection for his chefs, waiters, waitresses and servers.
Our collection can be purchased on my online shop, foodnfashionforalivin.com, where you can purchase the exact size and color for direct shipment, and in person at 75 Main. You can also contact my office at 973-908-3426 or email me at [email protected] directly. I can expedite your exact size, and we’ll have it shipped to you ASAP!