My first paid Job was with a 2 story wedding superstore when I was 14. Being around beautiful gowns and assisting the bride-to-be find their perfect wedding dress gave me scope into an extraordinary world of fantasy. It was simple to me but it was magical and I couldn't get enough of how you can be totally transformed and taken into any time and place through creativity. That's what I had hoped to give every time I used an image as a tool of communication.
Growing up has given me the second insight: my first Vogue was one with Stella Tennant on the cover page by Tim Walker in 2005/ 06... I remember being in the Asda I still go to today, with my cousin who in all seriousness bought me a copy to 'teach me something about fashion'. I was captivated, who is this Galliano? What in the world are culottes? Give me a culotte! They have law in Haute Couture. It was a slippery slope from there I spent my pennies on heaps of issues that I've kept to this day. I love print and I love great design, I haven't thrown a copy away. I pretty much knew which path I was heading to from there.
It's a rarer occasion nowadays; those aesthetic wonders in design and awe inspiring moments of finding or making something brilliant. So I've been trying to figure out how to make it 'work' without vacating any passion and purpose in it. You know what I mean right, deadlines, requirements, what other people say... at the end of the day, I will treat work as work and if I love it, what a blessing, but if not, I find time to work on things I do enjoy.
Here is my experience and lessons so far:
It's (really) ok to say no: All the way. This is probably my least favourite advice, 'say yes to everything' 5 years ago this seemed pretty logical, you'd want to gain as much experience as possible, see as much as you can and bottom line, get a load of internships on your CV. I have, some really have taken me a milestone from learning somebody's craft, giving me valuable insight into the professional world and teaching me to learn and apply in ways that finally evolved beyond school and education. But some only taught me nothing but to know that I didn't want to do that job again. I wish I knew to ask for a job spec (it might be surprising to read that you don't really get a proper one but in fashion, interns can be disposable and easily replaceable so little work is involved in the hiring process) - but if I had, I'd known that if the role is unclear, you'd likely be doing a whole lot of nothing but at the same time, just about everything. Let's be a little less/ more serious, it's time you will never get back, use it wisely.
You will never find your dream job: this valuable advice/ opinion was from one of the security I used to always see at the door at my old job. It's actually so eye opening and has helped me plenty in keeping my head up and be present in what I do, I've had difficulty finding what my dream job is so I don't look anymore. If one day I land a dream job, it will be a bonus but until I know what it is, I will just concentrate on finding things I do enjoy wherever I am.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes: Out of all advice I have ever received, this wins the popular category. My old colleague kept pointing out that I was still young and felt passionately about this: the older you get, the less room there is for flexibility, you are likely going to be aiming to climb further up rather than jump across - do this as many times as it will be good for you, explore while you can - leave no regrets.
Find the silver lining: The toughest but inevitable part of any type of job is having to face rejection, not sometimes, not just when you put yourself out there on a limb, but just simply, everyday. It comes in all forms, when pitching ideas, writing or photographing, being turned down, someone else taking the credit for your work, harsh comments, and you just have to learn to take a second to ponder what you still believe at that point and what you can take from the experience and try again or move on. Over the years I see that half the time rejection isn't negative and 99% of the time it's not personal, it's a fast pace industry so people are just honest. I can say I'm a sensitive person but if I have nothing else to thank crit weeks in uni for than preparing me a thick skin and equally a type of professionalism, I'll take it.
Just do it: and on that point, try things for yourself, it's different to stand from a point of view 10 years from now after you've lived it and arrived through informed decisions than just never having quite known. Chase your dreams, don't dismiss your passions.