Sewing a passion for fashion

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“I am going to be going on a white party yacht, and the dress code is fancy, formal but fun, you know what I mean. Could you help me out?” asked my very first customer at Reitmans.

I was a recent high school graduate on my second shift at my first retail job. The most I knew about everyday fashion was the clothing that the “popular” kids wore at my high school. Basically, when it came to styling, I was an expert at matching hoodies with jeans and sweatpants.

Today, I could give you a plethora of approaches to finding your own personal style. Although I am still learning, fashion has become one of my favourite areas of study that I am constantly exploring. Fashion has become a place in my mind where I feel peace, embraced, and adventurous.

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Here are some examples of events that helped me develop my passion for fashion!

Working in fashion retail

Fashion retail varies from secondhand clothing stores (i.e., For You Consignment, Filthy Rebena Vintage, Good Value, Talize) to highend boutiques (Saffron Road, Ryce Fashion Design, Michael Kors) and of course, everything in between.

Being employed with companies that associate with the fashion industry will likely expose you to customers, co-workers and employers that are very enthusiastic about style.

At my first retail job, Reitmans, a few of my managers were graduates of fashion design programs from Fanshawe College and La Salle College. During moments of sheer panic when customers asked for help with styling them, they were the experts and go-to people.

Working alongside my managers, I observed their keen eye and vision for an outfit for every customer that stepped foot in our store. It was an incredible experience that significantly improved my skills in styling others and myself.

Learning about fashion

After witnessing my mangers’ skills in styling, I was inspired. I wanted to be as creative and inventive as them. Thus, I researched several fashion programs offered not only in Ont., but around the world. After examining the various programs offered and their course outlines, I noted the several disciplines of fashion.

While I decided against having fashion as my primary industry of profession, I valued it more as a hobby. Reading, watching, and learning about anything fashion related was my getaway. From fashion history to forecasting fashion trends to fashion documentaries and biographies, the varieties in this field are endless.

Furthermore, fashion can branch into other topics like medicine, economics, politics, and more. Personally, I feel that there is something for everyone.

Mental health, self- expression and self-image

A few years after completing highschool, I continued to struggle with anxiety. I did a lot of research to find my triggers and coping mechanisms. I realized that one of my triggers occurred when I had to instantly communicate or socialize in public settings. My thoughts during these moments were feelings of unworthiness and a desire to hide.

I recognized that visibly avoiding people is uncivil and I did not want people I cared about to feel disrespected. I wanted to be perceived as confident and friendly.

Later, I began to incorporate more vibrant colours and patterns into my wardrobe. This helped boost my confidence and forced me to face anyone instead of shying away.

I chose vibrant colours and patterns in clothing because they were my fun but casual outfits that I wore at parties to feel more outgoing.

I encourage everyone to discover and deeply think about textures, colours and designs of clothing that improve their confidence. In addition, being able to establish your personal style will greatly help with your outlook in life.

Fashion is a place that is open for discovery and free from judgement. I encourage and challenge anyone that is intimidated by the subject to delve into it. It may also be your area of calm, love, and excitement.