Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs

Unfortunately there’s a time in your life where answering, “A princess” to the question, “So what do you want to be when you’re as old as mummy and daddy?” isn’t acceptable.

Whilst I was at sixth form, at the age of 17, I had to decide on what I wanted to study at University and where I was going to pursue it. Coincidentally, at this age I also had absolutely no idea of what career path I wanted to follow. And what was worse, it seemed that everyone else around me had already decided where they were going and what they were doing.

Obviously not everyone wanted to go to University, I mean some people were happy with a job in Topshop for the rest of their life, but where’s the dream in that? For me, University has always been a plan. I felt, and still feel, that 18 was too young to end full time education, but also too young to start full time work. I mean, who wants to be working 9-5 when there’s jäger bombs out there that need drinking?

But what was I going to study at University? 3 years is a long time to stay motivated on just one subject and £9,000 is a huge amount to go in-debt to, to something that you’re unsure about. So I listened to my teachers and my family, who both suggested that as I was uncertain of the career path I wanted to follow, I should take a degree on something I enjoyed and was good at, as it would help me to stay motivated and achieve a high grade. So that’s why I took Fashion Studies.

Of course I’ve had my days, normally once I’ve handed in a deadline, where I’ve absolutely loved it and have wanted to spend the rest of my life working in the Fashion industry. But I’ve had a lot more days where, although I’ve been enjoying what I’m doing and am working hard, I just know I wouldn’t be happy doing it forever.

And about a week ago, a light bulb switched on in my brain, a bulb that had flickered similar thoughts many years ago. I’d decided, well re-decided, that I wanted to be a primary school teacher. I love children, helping others and I’m a little bossy. The hours are perfect, the pay is good and the holidays are very generous. I don’t know what it was that made me suddenly decide or what it was that really put a full stop to any more ideas, but I’m so glad it happened.

Once I’ve finished my third year in Lincoln, I plan to pursue a Postgraduate Certificate in Education Primary Level (PGCE), at the UEA, in September 2014. It is an 8.30am-5.30pm course, 5 days a week, which lasts 38 weeks and includes at least 120 days work based in schools.

After a little research, I discovered that if I continue to get the grades I’ve been getting, (I got a 2:1 for second year, yay), I should still have a chance to get on the course. My degree is just as beneficial for the course as one would be in any other subject, so I have absolutely no regrets. I know that if I were to have done a more academic degree, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much, therefore would not have been as motivated.

Life is too hard to do something because it’s the ‘easy option’, and I know this is the perfect job for me. There’s no problem with a well-dressed teacher. I mean, just as Oscar Wilde stated, “You can never be too overdressed or overeducated”.

And I can breathe again

 

“What course do you study at University?”, “Fashion Studies”, “Oh, so you spend 3 years colouring in?”. Fantastic.

I chose to pursue a degree in Fashion studies because I’ve always preferred working practically over academically, have a creative flare and a passion for fashion. Surprisingly enough it isn’t because it was the only course my grades allowed me to study and that they offer a £50 Topshop giftcard to whoever passes. In fact I left High school and Sixth form with 12 A-C GCSE’s and 1 A and 2 B’s at A Level resulting in enough UCAS points to have got on most of the courses at this University.

As a course, BA Fashion studies students are given freedom to work and no limits within what they design, whether it be a simple cotton shift dress, or a clowns outfit made from cellotape and pencil sharpening’s.  But if I want to walk away with at least a pass, there is absolutely no freedom within the amount of work needed to complete.

It grinds my gears when people say that Fashion is a cop out and University is just 3 years of drinking and sleeping. I’m not one to determine what other courses are like, but for me the last 2 years have been the hardest years of my life, and I have never put so much effort into something.

After a large number of all-nighters, tears and tantrums I’ve just ended my second year by handing in 20 sketchbooks/portfolios, over 10,000 words of essays and 4 final garments. And over this summer, I will have all of my Norfolk incestuous toes and fingers crossed, hoping that my hard work pays off when I receive my results, and that I can put to rest the upsetting myth, that us fashionista’s are brainless.

I hope that you’ll have yours crossed too

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Honey, What happened to the kids?

When I was in Primary School wearing pink would make me a “Townie”, all boys smelt and I never ever wanted to grow boobs. Today I’m walking down the aisle’s in supermarkets seeing padded bras for age 6+, scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed to see 15 year olds flaunting their baby scans and teenage girls wearing more makeup that your average Geordie on a night out.

Call me traditional, but I want my daughter to be dressed in cute, pretty clothing, appropriate for the weather, occasion, and more importantly, their age. But maybe I’m wrong in thinking that will be easy in the world we live in today.

“It’s funny how a man only thinks about the… You got a real big heart, but I’m looking at your… You got real big brains, but I’m looking at your… Girl, there ain’t no pain in me looking at your…”

These degrading, provocative lyrics were teamed with raunchy dance moves, a lack of clothing and a far from natural amount of make-up on the Pussy Cat dolls track, Beep. But as a single that reached 2nd in the UK chart and was part of the track list on two of the most popular CD’s sold to teenage girls, ‘Pop Party’ and ‘Now that’s what I call music 63’, was there any way of getting away from it with technology dependent generation?

Nicole Shirt-slinger, the lead singer of the Pussycat dolls, is just one of too many wrongly idolized women. The extent of editing and makeup that is pursued on her appearance, and most other female celebrities in the spot light, is so idealized that most girls can’t attain it. And call me crazy, but I feel Nicole looks so much better without make up on. Why is it that I had to go out of my way to find a picture of her ‘au’naturale’, but her fictitious face is flaunted everywhere I look.

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In the past month I’ve seen 3 girls on my Facebook, younger than 18, uploading photographs of their “modeling shoot”. These weren’t the kind of photo’s you’d frame and give to your grandparents to display on their mantle-piece. They were the kind you’d see in those top-shelf magazines, that would please the lovely gentleman you see, that drive the white vans.

Young girls shouldn’t be posed up against poles, enhancing their pre-pubescent chests, caked in collection 2000 makeup, wearing revealing garments which display deceitful slogans. But if it’s available and publicized everywhere, how do we stop it?

The problem with the fashion available for young girls today is that it’s allowing them to advertise themselves without even realising it. Promoting the idea that women and girls are being viewed, treated, portrayed and groomed as sexual objects.

I’ve seen t-shirts for girls aged 4+ bearing the slogan “Future WAG” and 3.5 inch high heels being sold in New Look, starting at size one- the size of an average 8 year old. Not only is this dressing young girls like sexually available women, it isn’t ideal for growing feet.

In addition I noticed that the shorts were getting shorter, the shirts were getting tighter and the slogans were getting more suggestive. It seems that today’s young girl doesn’t want to own a plastic Barbie doll, instead she wants to be one.

So in a generation where teenage girls are hidden behind a mask of make up, an armor of Paul’s Boutique and are the mother to a child instead of a furby, is there any chance of getting our little angels back?

Let me leave you with this genuine photograph of just one of the 100,000 American children, under the age of 12, which take part in U.S child beauty patents.

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Putting the original into Aboriginal

Personally I have always felt that ending my education after sixth form, at the young age of 17 was never an option. Although I knew where my passions lied, I was still unsure of the paths I wanted to take in the future. Yet I knew 100% that I did not want to go straight into a 9 till 5 job. My mum has always said to me, “University were the best years of my life”, and my dad always told me that he regretted never going.. And who better to look up to that your parents, right?
So I took the leap, and began my life at the University of Lincoln in September 2011 and hand on my heart it was the best decision I have ever made. Not only have I become independent and strong willed,  I’ve learnt who my true friends are, how to manage a student loan and more importantly how to get up for a 9am lecture after rolling in 5 hours prior.
But more than anything else, I have climbed mountains on my Fashion Studies course. Before starting my degree I’d never had any experience with Fashion, which I found really set me back at the start as there were students on my course who were doing similar repeats of a Fashion course, or had been doing Fashion at college for numerous years. But now looking back at the 2 years, I have already filled 9 sketchbooks with detailed illustrations, designs and working drawings to a set theme, designed and manufactured 3 dresses and 1 shirt and knitted 1 jumper and 1 dress. I have also been fortunate to take part in many competitions including one designing for George at ASDA, learnt how to use illustrator and photoshop towards my designs and exerted a number of presentations of a room of 40+ individuals and lecturers. In addition to this I have written 14,000 words worth of fashion related essays, and have already handed in my dissertation proposal.
Two of my favourite garments are from my aboriginal collection. First shows my dress, created from both cotton silk and coated cotton satin which I printed my own design onto. For this design I decided to create my own pattern block, rather than using a template, as this allowed me to create a very unique garment. I used the swirls from the aboriginal image to emphasise certain areas of the female body in my design. The image here shows my garment before completion, in addition I added length to the dress and an arm with a flared, peplum sleeve. I will post an image once my garment has been returned from marking.
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My second garment is a knitted jumper. In addition to pursuing my aboriginal theme we were asked to add ideas from sportswear into our final design. I looked into the traditional argyle print, commonly used in golf, and by using the accustomed circle from aboriginal art, I created an argyle print of my own which I then incorporated into my punch card. Alternatively changing the second yarn after every 12 rows, created the tricolour fabric. The bottom of my garment was created through hand stitched cable holes, which took me days and days of patience and bacon sandwiches, but has created a very detailed and delicate lace effect. My jumper was finished off with ribs created on the dubiet machine, using my very own secret method. I hope you like my garments, and I’m looking forward to finishing more so that I can share them with you. Take care x
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