About going to fashion school, being an intern at H&M and my biggest loss in life.
IN THIS BLOG:
- Going to fashion school (and almost getting kicked out).
- Interning at H&M and big hardship
- Graduating and job hopping (and hopping.. and hopping…)
- Being more than what you study (the possibility of working beyond what you are labeled)
I grew up in a little village thinking I wanted to be a lawyer. The problem was I couldn’t really sit still and was always making things instead. My mother, at some point, told me that there was such a thing as a fashion school (I had no idea that it was a real job or a proper education!). So we went to check it out thinking it might be nice and sure enough, I enrolled.
It wasn’t easy finishing that school (it might have helped to know that I had AD(h)D). They kept kicking me out for always being late, forgetting to hand in assignments etc. But I kept convincing them to take me back. In my final year, I went to intern for H&M in Stockholm. I loved it. I was actually good at this! They offered me a job but just after my internship, my mother passed away suddenly and my world turned upside down. I did what I was good at in moments of big grief – I hyper focussed on my graduation. I was lucky to have a new teacher assigned to me. A teacher who had no idea of my struggles at school (and misbehaviours ;)), from the first four years. We just clicked; this fresh start gave us the opportunity to get to learn from each other without predisposition, and my collection ‘PUNKLORE,’ saw me graduate with honors.
After graduating, I did my Masters degree and went on to work for many companies – job hopping like a madwoman. Every year I had another job as a designer. I had a great time everywhere colleague wise, but the job itself always bored me after two seasons. The ‘been there done that,’ feeling was real! As I’ve talked about in this blog, I started my own company, and although it didn’t work out that time and left me broke (both my heart and my bank account), it sure was a good learning curve (a bit too expensive of a learning curve though if you ask me!). After my burnout, I worked at one of the biggest companies in the Netherlands as the head of design. I liked it for quite a while, two years (which was my record at this point haha!), and learned a lot by talking to my production colleague. Asking her all the questions, and always paying attention when we were travelling. But when I was pregnant with my youngest, I thought it was best to move on. This was when I had the ‘I wish there was a boss who would like my idea brain’ conversation with my husband – when he carefully suggested that maybe I was that boss. That’s when I started researching, Googeling, reading Instagram for Dummies, and learning how to draw my own pattern size sets.
I don’t believe you have to become what you studied, and am very thankful we live in a time where you can be more than your resume. Girl band singers can become fashion designers, architects can become developers – there was a time when this was not a possibility. But now it is, so let’s take advantage of that! Maybe you studied history and want to be an artist – that’s awesome. Or maybe you wanted to go to art school but you were told you had to learn a ‘real profession’ instead. Well good news! Being an artist is a real profession! Yay! Jacques Brell said ‘It’s 1% talent, and 99% sweat.’ I believe that to be true. Sure it’s fun to have a talent, but without practice and devotion it’s worth nothing.
All education is good, but do educate yourself. Some things I learned in school (designing), but I also learned to really see, watch, and look from my parents. It’s important to stay active in your learning. Visit museums, read books, watch YouTube videos, engage on Instagram – education is all around us!
Tip of the Week: Educate yourself
Aaaalways. Just do it – no ifs and buts – just do it. YouTube is a great place to start, Google too. Research who your role models are right now. It can be anybody from a relative to an Instagram account, or a multinational. Ask yourself what newsletters or blogs you like to read.
I admire some artists for their style or for how they develop themselves. Maybe it’s not necessarily their style that appeals to me, but the fact that they’re always trying new things.
Also, these role models can change over the years (as you change too!). You’ll find new ones. For example, I loooooved Wool And The Gang at first, but I felt the things I loved about them – the feeling of community and making the world better together, faded over the years. Some artists I love now are Betsy Petersen, Axelle Roos Zwartjes, Lynn Cosyn, Anna Kovecses, Lisa Congdon, Katja Mustaniemi and soooo many more!. On Instagram, I really like @GKStories (David Frenkiel, Founder of Green Kitchen Stories’ Instagram account), his feed and stories really inspire me from a business perspective. He organizes cook-alongs on Instagram and a lot of other fun things that just make you want to cook awesome meals. I also like Austin Kleon, a writer of some very awesome books for creatives. Hanne Luyten, a Belgian writer. I love how her stories follow up: so honest, funny, casual and smart (in Dutch though!). Susan Bijl, a Rotterdam based bag designer (I have at least 6 of them!). Vormlust, a Rotterdam based design studio…. I could go on and on.
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