Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Machinist

Being at degree level in Fashion, it's easy to allow the purpose of your creative journey escape you. I've just read the work/life article on Lisa Comfort (the owner of Clapham sewing café, Sew Over It) in my local London Stylist and as she talks of her values in textiles and upcycling, I began to consider all the reasons I have gotten into the industry as well. Her life appears some-what glamorous to say the least, and not like any normal designer either. While she reflects a calmness about her lifestyle, the points she makes on fast-fashion being 'made so cheaply' and that 'they don't last' are good ones.

Some people are lucky enough to know what they want to be 'when they're older' from a very young age, and others take years to figure it out. As envious as some of you may be, I was actually one of those lucky few, deciding I wanted to be a Fashion Designer at just 5. Having grown up with a grandmother that loved to sew, make basic clothes for her children and also army uniforms during the war; the infatuation started young. My mother was always more academic, finding peace with Geography, English and Maths. She failed to see the purpose and even a point to Fashion and design; as her life rule goes 'if your trade is needed in an apocalyptic world then it's worth doing' which would mean something like medicine. So as a young child I rotated between the options of becoming a Lawyer, a Scientist, an Archeologist and an Architect, but my creativity would always over power my academia.

However, finally at the age of 11 and flourishing at year 7 Textiles, my mother listened to my teacher and decided that perhaps in an apocalyptic world people might eventually need clothes being designed and made for them and maybe they won't be roaming around naked. She decided that if I could at least do a degree in the subject, then she would accept my pursuing it, which I clearly did. Therefore me, being a devote life planner, at the age of 11 decided all the work needed to be done to get onto the GCSEs I wanted, the grades I then needed for A-Levels (and what A-Levels I would be taking) and then finally what degree I will be studying and which universities I will be applying for. Scary, I know, for just an 11 year old. But lo and behold I somehow did it and I finished my plan so far. However I didn't just work at my career because I got mum's go ahead. I value the impact of Fashion on the world such a great deal and my extensive awareness of life around it give me something different from the rest. My love of science never ceases to baffle and interest me, which is why I care about up-cycling and good old home sewn fashions so much. I guess what my 5 year old mind hadn't realised yet is that I didn't just want to become a stereotypical designer, working in a corporation and religiously relying on trend forecasts. I do want to make as much a difference as I can to the Textiles industry and how it impacts the rest of us, whether anyone notices my efforts or not.

(P.S. Do read the article I'm referencing in the Stylist magazine in London. Issue: 183, P.17)
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