This was the first item I ever made when I decided I wasn’t going to be like anyone else. I wasn’t going to go through books to find ‘references’ (poor Margiela really if you think how much university professors tout him as Jesus to fashion), I wasn’t going to make just ‘concepts’ - I wasn’t going to be likeable.
Whilst I was being encouraged to 'build a good mood board and concept' and go through same old boring archives of Margiela and Helmut Lang, I decided to binge watch The Nanny and build a textile collection solely inspired by the eventual Mrs Sheffield. Simply because it was loud and crass enough - and because I could. Luckily, this experiment served me a life lesson in creativity which opened doors, instilled confidence, defied the expected. And I revelled in it. For a short time.
Fast forward to right now; where my loud, brash imagination has been sculpted into a neat box. My confidence dialled down to a respectable volume and imagination to the tune of a commercial value. Life is such - it inevitably shows you the naivety of what you thought was ‘your way’.
You see, everyone forgets that following the path you choose doesn’t inherently mean eventual success. This is not the American Dream™, where we all blindly follow our ‘vision’ and we end up making millions. No. Choosing your own way means navigating between loving what you do and ultimately surviving. There was hardship along my own road; but I don’t call it as such anymore - it was just another format of a life lesson.
My first blingy job in London - fired abruptly as I simply wasn’t (good) enough. It took me years to pick myself up from that mental hole. Another job where I boldly took on more and more - only for it to eat away at my health like a hungry lion.
A third job where I refused to look at abuse and call it as such. Quiet, because I should be untouchable in this industry, right? No words should hurt me if I want to build a career. And then finally - a breather. Where my body had to crash in order to recover.
And after all this - the inability to find work for months on end which was almost my undoing. Hilariously, I remember people telling me that London eats you and spits you out - but I never imagined it was meant this literally.
And here we are, quite some time later - life is finally sorting itself into a semblance of normalcy, settling down. And I find myself staring at the prospect of safety - not truly believing my life is capable of it. Is nothing going to go wrong? Will I blink and it will all be gone? Maybe jinx it? Who knows? Who can predict predictability?
But this isn’t a sad story. Now if I’m damned, it’s not. I foolishly remain persistent in the face of fear and in the words of a good friend, I keep keeping on. More failures are bound to be in my way; and I shall fall over them merrily if it means I can go my own way.
So if anyone out there is wondering which path to take, how to decide - here’s a piece of advice. Find your way and carve it out with the dents of your failures. Forget what people say; burn the bridges. You won’t need them.