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CELEBRATE WITH CONFETTI #7
About falling OUT of love with being a fashion designer and INTO love with creating again.
IN THIS BLOG:
- Why I fell out of love with being a fashion designer
- The importance of showing my kids (and the internet!) the process
- Making the space and time to create
So at my new desk in the living room I did a whole lot of reflecting and researching and scrooooling through cool Instagram feeds, but no more procrastinating - it was time for me to start to create! I started making things inspired by my girls. At that time I was very inspired by two books: Made to Play by Joel Henriques, and The Best of Making Things by Anne Wiseman. They had cool crafts for kids in them. I started making stamps for them to play with, to add some fun to their clothes. And of course as a fashion designer, I really enjoyed making clothes for my girls.
It was in a conversation with my then six year-old daughter that made me realize I no longer wanted to be part of the fashion industry. She asked me why I didn't like my job that much. I was a fashion designer, wasn't that the coolest job in the world? But for me, the magic was gone. As a commercial fashion designer for big companies, I was told all the time that I had to design what our competition was selling well. I didn't understand, did they have no pride? Didn't they want to do something different to the rest. It was already out there, what would you need me for? But in those companies that are only driven by numbers and profit margins, the ‘bosses’ could care less about creativity, being original, and design. They just had to keep the board happy with growing numbers. I remember I had to design a certain pair of jeans with a coating. Every high street fashion store had them and they were on trend, so the company I worked for wanted to have them as well. In the factory we learned that it was a very random process, so random that every pair of jeans would look different and this was something ‘the customer wouldn't like,’ they told me. So they would make double the amount of jeans, pick the most general looking ones and destroy the uneven ones. (They had to fully make the jeans before they could apply the coating). Then there was a minimum order quantity - a quantity the company I worked for at the time knew they wouldn’t sell. They ordered them anyway, already calculating that they would only sell 30% at full price, 30% in discount and 40% would be considered waste and end up in landfills. They knew this already and didn’t care. So here I was designing things nobody really wanted, let alone needed. Also, when I was pregnant I couldn't stop thinking about the women making the clothes I designed. I knew they wouldn't be blessed with pregnancy leave, with good pay, with five weeks of holiday every year. And I couldn't stop thinking about it. The ultimate combination of watching the documentary The True Cost, and my sensitive girl with all her questions made me realize all of this. Being a fashion designer for these companies (and sadly enough there are hardly any exceptions), was not the coolest job in the world. For me, it felt more like the saddest.
I figured a good way to make sure our closets were filled with clothes that were free of slavery and polution was making them myself. So that’s what I did. I set myself a challenge for the year. I would be my girl’s High Street - their Zara and H&M, I would make their clothes and show them the process, and where possible, involve them. I truly believe that when you see things actually being made, you will cherish them more. So that’s how I started, by creating them a fair wardrobe and later realizing it was also the beginning of Bobbinhood.
Tip of the week: Make time to create
I have to admit, this is one I am still struggling with daily! Although creating is what I love the most, it’s also the scariest thing. My mind is always playing tricks on me and convincing me that there are other, more important things to do. I started this business because of my love for creating and I know how good it makes me feel, but still it is a daily struggle to actually make time for it.
I know creating things is my fuel. My husband knows me so well, he can see it when I am so caught up in things that I have no time left to create. I have less energy and maybe I’m even missing the ‘creative glow,’ who knows? I am now slowly learning that creating is the most important thing and that I have to make the extra effort to make time for it.
So my tip is to try and make time to create regularly. I personally believe in creating every day - 20 minutes, an hour, whatever you can manage. Try to do it at a time that is convenient to your life. Are you a morning person? Maybe you can find time for it then. For me, it really helps to create a habit by setting goals and tracking them (as you might know by now haha). I have learned over the years though that it’s important to set goals that are doable, that fit your life. If you’re a morning person, see if you can plan your ‘make-time’ in the morning. If I want to create a new habit (like ‘make every day,’ or ‘exercise more’), I prefer to do it daily or every other day. I’ve found that once a week just doesn't work for me. Now it’s my goal to make every (week) day for at least an hour. If I do it first thing, then I don't have the tendency to do something else first and then forget about it all together, only to realize at the end of the day that I didn't do what I wanted to do, leaving me frustrated.
Invitation to Play
I found what really works well for me is what I call my ‘Invitation to Play.' At the end of the day I decide what I want to work on the next morning. Then I set it all out on the table so that it is the first thing I see in the morning, as if inviting me to play! Then when I come in, all I want to do is make. My computer remains off until I did my hour of making!
This is what works for me and it took me some time to figure that out. Maybe you would rather have one ‘making-morning’ a week, or just create on the weekends. There is no right or wrong, just try to find a way that works for you and makes it easy for you to achieve!
By ‘creating things,’ I mean: trying things, writing, sketching, shaping whatever your hands and brain feel like doing. You don’t have to choose (just yet). You will see that creating leads to wanting to create more!
Creating things can be hard, it definitely ain’t always fun. Sometimes nothing seems to work, nothing you have in mind is actually coming out of your mind. That's ok. It’s all part of the process. Try to keep going and most importantly, try to make things without expectations and let it gooooooooo! (I know I have made that sound so easy when it’s actually a hard thing, but I also know that while practise doesn't necessarily make perfect, practise definitely does help :))
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