It was around the fall of 1984, fresh from a year in Montreal, when I started picking up mags, analyzing outfits, wishing I could look as nice as the girls in the photos.
I tried to draw. I didn’t like the results. Two things I wish I knew back then:
1.the crippling effects of perfectionism
2.the art of drawing can be taught and most often is taught
I did well enough in high school, algebra was my favourite subject. University was in the future but I couldn’t see combining my interest in clothing with a post-secondary education. If I dig deep, deep, deep into my subconscious, I remember something about a school in the states, Texas maybe. The $25,000 tuition seemed unrealistic.
I didn’t really know what to do, so in Grade 12, I decided to take off to France instead. Procrastinate the decision (sooo typical of a perfectionist).
France came and went. Reality hit. It was time to register for University. It took me 8 semesters and a virtual gun to my head to decide I better go to Business school, it seemed logical, a practical thing to do.
Thankfully I got a job once I graduated. Fast forward to 2001. Basically with 8 years of telecommunications experience under my belt, I found myself unemployed. Not to mention I was a new single Mom in the midst of a divorce. My life was completely upside down, haltingly. Now what was I supposed to do? Someone told me I should think about what would make me happy? Happy? What a concept, it was almost laughable. I realized I had just missed enrollment at Helen Lefeaux. Maybe I should just stay in my comfort zone. If I had known then that learning how to design clothes was not going to leave me alone… I would have done it right then but hindsight is a unique form of mental abuse so I tell myself instead that I had to stray from my path to find my path.
Fast forward to the universe presenting me with another opportunity to go to design school in 2008. Brittanie (my daughter) will tell you I cried tears of joy when I found out I was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
I learned how to mix paint, colour value, how balance makes for great design, how to make patterns, create a collection and how to avoid wedding cake dresses with too many elements (thanks to Mr. Zwiatec). Suze Zarate, forever my hero, taught me to draw. (The drawing on the side was for one of her classes at FIDM). I had amazing teachers and will forever be in their debt. It was a blessing to get my Design degree, I hope everyone has that sense of peace, whatever path they had to take to get there.