I’ve got a passion for fashion but… help! | Lifestyle.INQ

I’ve got a passion for fashion but… help!

Dear Dolls,

It’s always been my dream to be in fashion. I really want to be a stylist, and have been reading a lot of magazines and style blogs. I’ve been doing some test shoots with friends, and have been thinking about applying for an internship. But sometimes I feel my work isn’t good enough. I’m not sure why I’m writing, but I hope you can give me some tips.

–Mar, 17

Dear Mar,

If there’s one thing I want you (and everybody else reading this) to know and understand, it’s that in the beginning—no matter what field or industry you want to get into—generally speaking, your work isn’t going to be phenomenal. We’re human beings, after all, not robots programmed to perform with precision from day one.

Quality comes with experience.

We just wrapped up Philippine Fashion Week (PFW), so maybe I can use that as an example. There were 101 designers showing at PFW this season, and Vicky and I had to interview every single one of them.

Some are new to the industry, presenting a collection for the first time. Others are veterans, credible designers who have been participating in PFW for years. Many of them used to have the same fear as you: “What if my work just isn’t good enough?”

Some designers had to make big decisions—leaving their careers as nurses and bankers—all to pursue their love for fashion. At the beginning, they weren’t the fabulous artisans we know today. But they had the courage to make that decision, and from then on, committed to learning and absorbing, and getting better with time.

My heart whispers, my head yells. That could just be me, but in the event that it’s true for you, too, you’ve got to listen.

My heart has always known what it wants. I say this, because for as long as I can remember, I’ve been recording mock-radio shows on cassette tapes, and stapling together paper-writing “books” and designing the front cover.

Somewhere along the way, my head started telling me (very loudly!) I should do other things. I learned it the hard way; although I thought my heart had stopped speaking to me, it was only whispering, and I had to settle down quietly (in meditation, reflection, or prayer) to hear it, amid the din of my overzealous brain.

Moral of the story—do not get in your own way.

Apply for the internship. Keep doing test shoots. Learn.

That’s how EVERY SINGLE EXPERT started.

Love,

~S

Dear Mar,

Good job in taking the initiative to learn about the industry. A lot of people who are interested in fashion usually don’t put in the extra homework to research and read. Understanding the job is part of doing the job. You need to know the requirements of the job in order to do them correctly. Updating your knowledge is a great way to start.

I’m glad to hear you’ve been doing a lot of test shoots. Some people think that the word “test shoot,” wherein a team comes together to test out creative ideas, doesn’t count. But the truth is, everything counts!

Every step is a necessary one to the goal. Every chance you take to improve your skills is important to the overall picture,  so don’t assume just because it’s not published by a magazine or newspaper that it doesn’t count. I’ve known of plenty of people who were practicing their skills through test shoots, only to have it published because an editor spotted undiscovered talent.

Prepare constantly, even if you do not see anything on the horizon, because chances are, when the opportunity shows up, you can grab it because you are confident about your skills. Read more, test more, go out and find ways to enhance your skill sets.

Don’t be discouraged if you think nothing is happening. I’ve been in situations where I feel like I’m waiting forever for something to happen. Then you could get the very call that same day and be relieved you were ready for it. There’s nothing more frustrating than having opportunities knock and saying, “Wait, I can’t do it yet.”

Visualize and act as if you already are a professional. The first day of working at PFW, I turned to my assistant and said, “I don’t want you to act like my assistant; just act like a producer because that’s what you want to be anyway. Run this show like it’s yours.” In turn, she stepped up to the challenge of the job and passed with flying colors. She really acted like a TV producer!

And guess what? I’ve been recommending her to industry professionals since. I just realized then that when you act as if you are already in the position, you will automatically do the things that professionals do.

Believe you are great. We all need to hear this every now and then. It’s a little confidence booster from those around us. But what’s also important is telling yourself you are awesome.

Yes, you are starting, and yes, you will mess up along the way. It’s okay. Keep your head up. I believe that if you always seek to learn from the road bumps and you stick to being a good person through it all, you will succeed.

Good luck! And when you do become that awesome fashion stylist, I hope Sarah and I get to work with you.

~V