Tips on finding your fashion footing

All pics taken at a park in Brussels Belgium

My fashion journey, while exciting, has been complicated by slow muddled progress. The waters have been murky and I have had a hard time seeing ahead clearly which has made the journey uncertain and longer than originally hoped for. In the process, I have learnt a few lessons that I’d like to share with you in the hopes that this will shorten similar journeys you might be on. Here goes!

Clarify what you want to design: The fashion apparel industry is a vast one and there are so many specializations within it that one could narrow down to. Terms such as design, apparel or clothing are just generic words that encompass thousands upon thousands of wearables, homeware and accessories. Clarify if you want to start with clothing or homeware, fashion accessories or just accessories in general. You could focus on footwear, handbags, jewellery, the possibilities are endless, but this is the big picture you will start with. Throw everything to the wall and see what sticks, what rings true, what feels genuine to your interests. I’ve grappled with the prospect of wearable fashion for a long time, but more and more I find my heart leading me to homeware interiors and men’s fashion comme point de départ.

Find a clear vision: Try to further clarify your vision of what type of fashion you want to design because there are thousands of niches and even more niches within those niches. I initially thought deciding to focus on sustainable fashion would suffice as a clarification but soon enough I saw the folly of this when one day sitting quietly I said out loud ‘focusing on sustainable fashion is just the foundation, go deeper. I was startled at how clear that thought came into my head. Shortly thereafter, I started researching beyond homeware and interiors, and my selection process has so far led me to narrow down to launching with the bedroom set.

Keep abreast on trends and styles: Keep an eye on style and fashion wherever you are, travelling, working, etc. Keep your eye on interiors and what’s evolving in that field. Watch what bags people are carrying onto your flights, make every place you are a laboratory for testing fashion apparel, interiors, etcetera. Visit shops that sell what you’re interested in, see what’s in demand. Follow the right Instagram pages to inspire you. Visit fabric shops and try out different feels of various fabrics. For instance, my research keeps leading me to linen fabrics. This from everything I found myself reaching for and buying this summer, and from what I notice other people using. Coincidentally it fits perfectly with the sustainable industry I am keen to promote.

Use your imagination: It’s important to not copy what is already in the market as we each need a differentiator to set us apart from what is already out there. It’s true there is no new thing under the sun, generally everything we do now has been done before somehow. Still it’s important to not copy but instead to seek to be inspired by. While copying or infringing in someone else’s design or creation is widely practiced in fashion apparel since designs generally can’t be patented, it’s still the wrong thing to do. Instead, seek to use your imagination to bring your own interpretation to each piece you create. Put your own twist to the design and find and stamp your signature style to it too while at it. I intend to use my imagination to craft my signature style as I progress through the stages of design.

Be creative everyday: My son gave me this simple yet generous tip: sketch every day mama. I saw it as clear as daylight when he said it. Of course! How could I hope to come up with designs I wasn’t even putting on paper?! Seeing something or conceiving of something then simply committing it to memory won’t do. Why? Because you will need cumulative ideas in order for your own signature idea to emerge. We only remember things for so long, we only hold images in our minds for so long before they are a fuzzy distant memory that we can no longer recall with clarity. Practice every day. Sketch every day. Write every day. Design every day. Be creative every day. I have my most precious tip from my most precious source of inspiration -to sketch every day.

Be curious: Be inquisitive about everything and everybody. Ask yourself questions to keep your mind sharp. Question everything to stay plugged in and in the know. Be observant and notice things. Ask yourself ‘why’. Attempt to answer that ‘why’. Play with words. Make notes. Write stories, make them up and see if they flow. Take pictures when you can. Keep records as much as you can because again, memory can only take you so far. Try new things. Find new places to go. Meet new people with different perspectives. Listen to podcasts and hear other people’s views. Stay open and learn. I listen to as many podcast as I can on the subject of business management, the fashion apparel industry, sustainable fashion, mindful living, etcetera.

Express yourself: Find an outlet. Don’t sit with your thoughts in your head. Write them out, journal. Meet other people and share your opinion. Run your ideas by them. No one will steal your ideas; execution is harder than you think. Ideas are a dime a dozen, everyone has them; it’s executing them that counts. Join a Facebook community, an Instagram pod, a Twitter group. Find a space for you to write down your ideas and preferably share them. Being vulnerable can be scary, but everyone is usually just relieved to hear everyone else is struggling too. After all, misery loves company, and we’re all just trying to figure it out, we might as well all do it together. I’m glad for this little corner of mine on this blog. I come here to pour out my thoughts and free my mind to go on to the next thought, craft the next idea. Occasionally, I get feedback on my writing which helps me know I’m on the right track or that I need to self-correct. So take a chance and express yourself to others, you just might be surprised that you find your tribe that way.

Have fun: Nothing is super serious in this life we live. Save for doctors where mistakes can lead to loss of life, we all can afford to lighten up and have fun as we create. Too often we take ourselves way too seriously, killing all the fun in the process. Everything we do in life is worth enjoying, and if that aspect of it is missing then we’re doing it the wrong way. It’s okay to stop and smell the roses on our way to the garden. It’s fine that we should dance, especially in the rain. Step back when it gets too hard, when you get too stuck. Creativity cannot be forced, and if you find it’s not flowing, it very well might be time for you to pull back and lighten up some, at least for a while. I travel, I blog, I visit friends, I make YouTube videos, I design the interior spaces in my house -all things that afford me immense enjoyment on my journey to creating the life I want.

I hope you got something from these tips on your journey to becoming more of you, finding what you love and giving it a good go. Would love to hear what your tips are below. Cheers, Grey ღ

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