The Fashion Industry is not for the faint-hearted. One day you’re in, the next day you’re out. Heidi Klum was not kidding.
It is not for those who can’t stomach the constant state of stress, pressure and daily drama. Not for those who can’t be calm when it is mad, who can’t stay cool when the heat is up, who can’t be silent when it is unforgivingly loud. Welcome to the glamorous Mad House.
In the the cruel world of business, the fashion business is the bitch of all bitches. Who cares about yesterday when all we think about is 6 months ahead? Who cares about rest when everybody is moving ahead at breakneck speed? Who needs a house when you are working endless nights at travelling endless journeys? Who needs clothes when you can’t afford the time buy some?
Glamour, fantasy, escape. The 3 things we all look to the Fashion World to provide. Yes, not how to wear our clothes, because we do know how to put on clothes, thank you very much. We need to escape from the mundanity of the office, of wearing black/white blouse and pencil skirt, of meeting people whose lives revolve round the mundane, the ordinary, the boring. Look at those Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi catwalks. Don’t the models look amazing, stunning, but also skinny and tired and looking like they can’t afford a burger. But damn, aren’t they a sight to behold! Why is fashion so glamorous? So fantastical? So achingly beautiful? Why oh why, do we love it and hate just same time?
For every existing beautiful thing, someone toils away. For every effortless look, some people take hours, days, months to prepare and perfect. For every garment on a catwalk, thousands have poured in their heart and soul, not to mention time and energy. For one garment, factories exist, people learn their craft, businesses go bankrupt. Nobody sees them. Nobody cares much. They work tirelessly, for years, for that 30 minutes of catwalk glory, 1 week of window display, 1 fashion spread on Vogue, 1 picture on Facebook, 1 garment on the back of someone’s shoulder, one payment at the cashier.
It is an industry of heartbreaking miseries and glorious victories, happening in flashes of light.
In the 20 weeks that have passed, my fashionista course mates and I have completed 8 assignments, including 4 group reports including shooting and producing a 30-sec commercial, 2 exams, 5 presentations and 1 mood board, in between no less than a more than 20 trips to visit factories, distribution centres, schools, fashion hubs, fashion trend forecasting headquarters, fashion designers, retailers, entrepreneurs. Let’s now count the number of white nights when nobody got much sleep, moving from one assignment to the next, from one bus to the next, from one trip to planning for the next. It never stops.
The fashion world is intense, tough, and relentlessly moving forward. And so should we, the newly recruits. This is the world of high stakes, higher prices and costs and therefore high drama.
Along the way, some people figured this is not for them. Some left, some stayed, some loathe the pressure but love the beauty, some hate the pressure and the pain, some love the travelling, some hate the bus rides. Few love it all.
But this is just the beginning. The initiation. The moment of arrival and awe that will come and pass. The life beyond these gold gilded doors is anything but smooth as silk. But for those who love the toil and the pleasure, who revel in the beauty and glory of fashion, who understand its purpose and its soul, this is worth fighting for.
Milan, London, Scottish Borders, Edinburgh, Livingston, Glasgow, Singapore, Vietnam, Hongkong, China. Thank God it’s just beginning!
Thank you for reading. Have a great weekend!
One of my favourite factory visits to Aero Leather. The amazing folks behind the ethical and sustainable horse-leather jackets worn by Daniel Craig in real life and the James Bond series, Johnny Depp and many other male celebrities.
Jacket: With thanks to Aero Leather (borrowed)
Top: Zara (£12 on sale)
Skirt: Vintage Venus Versace (£15) @ Armstrong
Shoes: New Look (sale £5)
Highlight of the course must be volunteer at this event. Fashion conferences are always so much more fun.
Highlight of my fashion career so far: Meeting Anna FreeMantle-Zee, Director of Edinburgh International Fashion Festival. A veteran model who walks for Chanel and calls Karl Lagerfeld her friend but also like me, calls Edinburgh home.
Find out more about Edinburgh International Fashion Festival:
July 17-25 2015
The brief was dress to impress. After all, we were going to meet the Design Director (Couture) of Ermenegildo Zegna at their flagship store in Milan. Bravo.
Top: Banana Republic (red tunic)
Top: H&M (crop top)
Skirt: Hobbs Vintage
Necklace: Jubilant Jewellery
Versace on the sidewalk. Of course we are in Milan.
Not my first time in Venezia. But it is just as beautiful as I remembered it. Only now, I hope I matched Venice in style!
Top and Skirt: Primark (sale £5 each)
Leather Jacket: Vera Pelle
From Milan to London. Canary Wharf sure got me interest piqued. This shot really sums up my attitude about London; I’m always just as sad to leave as I am relieved to know I do not have to live here.
Scarf: Edinburgh Cashmere with thanks to Macdonald Sporrans
One of the things I love to do in my free time is to wander around Edinburgh. Juggling a small business, hours at Gap, and my masters degree really doesn’t give me much free time. So this one, to visit the National Museum of Scotland was special. I bumped into Siemens’ press event for the launch of their Curiosity model at Edinburgh Science Festival.
With Thanks to the Scottish photographer who took this as an apology for asking me to leave the above frame for his official Siemens marketing promo shot. He didn’t know how to use an Iphone (0.o) but this picture was stunning!
Top: Primark (£8)
Bottom: ASOS (sale £4)
Coat: ASOS (sale £38)
Hat: Accessorize (£10)
Scarf: unknown, gifted