Early in the morning and after class in the evening I go to the most peaceful place. It is an all white 400 square foot room dotted with Mannequins and sewing machines. It is a free space where I explore my ideas. It is my little fashion temple.
The lab at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) where I study Fashion is a special place. Every day, I show up with all of the normal stress of the modern world and I check it at the door. With my phone off and my mind calm, I feel lucky and proud to be studying and doing what I love so much.
For the past 2 weeks, I have spent a lot of time at the lab designing and sewing my dress for my friend’s upcoming wedding. For years I have designed for other people, but making this dress for myself has been exhilarating and frustrating. I have sewn, unpicked, re-sewn, and started all over again. The frustration that comes with designing and sewing a dress, however, is a challenge to overcome. It is a process that allows you to learn a lot about yourself and how you work and about your own body too.
In the past, I would design from the comfort of my home studio. One which entirely consisted of a long white table in a room with my Brother sewing machine next to it. Being at home, I could easily try on my design and test my changes. In the lab, I am constantly shuffling from the bathroom to change and back again. Fellow students will smile at me as they pass by the window and find me sewing away like a mad woman. I will smile back and try not to worry about what I look like. Designing this dress for myself I have learned to embrace my body instead of being frustrated with it.
As in any other aspect of life, frustration during design is normal. Rarely will your design end up exactly as you imagined it to be. Design talks to you. It is a conversation that organically takes shape. Ultimately, it is what feels right in the design process that makes a piece beautiful. You have to communicate with yourself and with your design. You have to try over and over to get it right and you have to get beyond the small bumps. At the end, what is left is art and there is nothing in the world that is better than seeing your work come to life! This is the first look into my range and I am excited to keep designing my world. Come find me next week with a whole new inspiration for my second look. Happy summer and happy wedding season!