Everyone has their own definition of success. For me, success means results. I want to feel fulfilled and that is through the impact I can make by helping fashion designers.
I think we're headed to a place where people are enjoying more and more what they do. People are understanding that there aren't just certain career paths, certain molds that you have to pursue, you can actually create your job and do anything. What I do like about this generation is, creatively, there does seem to have been a bit of a return to the handmade. Even hand drawn illustrations being popular on Instagram is crazy because Instagram was created as a platform in which to share photos, not illustrations. It's quite nice because I think handmade is quite distinct, you can't copy and paste because we all have different hands.
Where do you think this generation is headed?
I think it's hard to say because it depends on what's happening in the world and how things are developing globally. It’s an exciting time because I feel like younger generations are starting to have more of a voice and more of an opinion about the current state of the world. It’s almost like a resurge of the 70s, which is exciting and challenging our notions of freedom, standing up for something, free speech, love and respect of each other and our environment.
One thing that I actually do struggle with is the sense of entitlement that some of the new people coming up can sometimes have. When I first started I worked so long for free, I mean so so long and I always put in my all no matter what job it was. I don’t necessarily think working for free is right or morally correct in this industry but that’s a whole other story. A lot of the new assistants and interns will sign on for a shoot and then refuse to do certain tasks. It’s difficult for me to find interns or assistants who offer the willingness I gave for so many years.
That's so sad, though. The people you work with should want to put their best foot forward.
Agreed. Also if you're an intern, you definitely need to be working with somebody who appreciates the fact that you're working for free and that you're giving up your time. You both need to get something out of it. I’ll do everything in my power to make it worth their while if they’re willing to work as hard as I will alongside them.
I’ve had instances where someone helping has another job come up where it is paid, and I of course let them do that. If you won't pay, and you won't let somebody else pay him or her that’s just unnecessary and mean. But I've worked with interns before that will say, "Sorry, I've got to go now” because they have personal plans and want to leave the job early.
Yes, it's awful. It makes me feel like a fool in a way, seeing as I would have always been up for anything at work in the past. It makes me question if I was wrong to put up with the work, with some of the stuff I’ve dealt with, but then I also think, maybe I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
It’s definitely challenging, though. I’m all for paying your dues, but I also think that the whole unpaid thing creates an unlevel playing field which puts kids who come from money at the top, as those are the ones who can afford to work for free.
I struggle with that as well but I think that the people who don’t come from money still get there; it just takes a bit longer.
Then again everything's an unlevel playing field; some people are just born with a ridiculous amount of creative talent.
Yeah, totally, 100%.
We’re a pretty confused generation, with the world changing so rapidly, often really surprisingly and dramatically. But I also think that we’re all far more connected in a way I never imagined when I started studying design. I never thought I would be waking up to comments left on Instagram from Japan or Brazil or be receiving internship application emails from students in the States and across Europe. I think this engagement and dialogue has the potential to create great, powerful and beautiful things. That’s what I hope!
I’ll be thirty soon; I feel like there’s a huge gap between my generation and the one after. My generation, we all worked our asses off assisting for years. It was almost like a hierarchy, and you had to work your way up. I feel like because of Instagram; it’s easier just to do something and get it out there and be discovered. You don’t have to work for years to earn respect as you can just put work out and automatically have an audience.
I think it’s interesting how you’re on the cusp of the millennial generation. Do you think growing up with less technology had an effect on who you are today?
We didn’t have so many distractions, for starters. We didn’t have Facebook until college. Because we didn’t have the distraction, I think we were a lot more insular. Now I feel a lot of work is just made for Instagram. People flipping through Instagram or Tumblr overlook how a fashion story is put together, how a photographer communicates a narrative. The whole skill of putting together a fashion story from start to finish is so hard. You’ve got to keep the same feeling, the same character going for 12, 14 pages rather than just a single image that you see on Instagram.
I think this generation has such a strong belief that anything is possible and I love that, with technology developing as fast as it is I’m excited so see what will be developed next.
I think it's good, and it's the future generation. It's exciting and it's cool.
I feel like you only start to get noticed when your 30 though but right now are the interesting years, when you’re in your 20’s and you’re just so excited to be here and to give. So I think it’s just really important that we give ourselves as much exposure as possible.
I’m a bit worried because a lot of kids are just straight up copying images that they’ve seen before without even knowing where the original has come from and also not attempting to do it in their own way. They don’t go to the library or do any real research, they just Google things.
It’s super important to go to the library because when you just use Google you’re only finding what you’re searching for whereas when you’re at the library, you might pull out a random book and be like "Oh my God this is amazing! I would have never found this on the internet," because by using the Internet, you give up the chance to stumble upon something that you wouldn't have thought of.
I just feel like the Internet makes people lazy and it over-exposes everything. People constantly want more and more imagery and information and stuff, and it’s too much. They need to take a step back and spend more time creating interesting, high-quality content instead of just copying what’s been done before.
First of all, I think that people have boxed this generation, millennials, as these kids that have huge ideas but don't know how to go about fulfilling them. We have a lot of big ideas, but we're really creative as well. What I've learned is that we also love doing good and seeing positive change. Because of these attributes, I believe our generation is going to produce so many entrepreneurs that are truly going to change the world. I’m excited for our futures.
We’re very connected and everyone has a platform, a voice. That's something that no other generation has experienced. I think this will really change the way that we approach our careers.
The gatekeepers are gone.
Yeah. The gatekeepers are gone. I think that the hierarchy of the fashion industry is going to fade and we're going to probably have a more collaborative ecosystem coming our way. I think that our industry is going to be incredibly important to reinventing that ecosystem with these new connective technologies.
Honestly, I'm not in love with it. I think it's become pretty superficial in the sense that people care more about becoming famous or who they're friends with than actually creating art. That goes hand-in- hand with that lifestyle aspect, which I think is great, but I think there shouldn't be a loss of a sense of art, which is actually what it is. It's amazing art. It's like painting. I feel like it's become this world of... look at it with the models. It's all Instagram- famous girls. Or who their parents are, how much money they have to have to buy their contract at the Society, IMG, or Elite for example. It’s become that. In that sense the industry has lost some of its authenticity and integrity. It just makes me really sad. Designers too become... like Kanye. Because it's Kanye, people are going to buy his way over-priced sneakers, over a gorgeously designed hand sewed dress for example. Basically it seems that if you are famous, no matter what industry, you can have a successful fashion line. It’s become more commercial and digital, just shallow in that sense. Not about the art or talent anymore.
Preceding generations take a rather fatalistic approach to depicting us, using odd paradoxes in which we are both lazy but also overqualified. I pay it little mind. Every generation has its brilliant minds and its ignorant minds. Generally speaking, though, I find people of my/our age to be inquisitive and open-minded – we have a lot of responsibility and I think many of us are hardworking and recognize the weight of the future, be that climate change or social relations, or anything else.
Where are we headed?
Overpopulation and severe weather patterns! And probably Mars!
I think we get a bad rap. I think there are annoying people in every generation and there are good people in every generation—and writing about annoying people gets clicks. It’s very easy to be scared in the midst of great change. Maybe it’s better to think, “How can I optimize for this? How can I work to move things forward instead of trying to sustain something that’s not working.” You have to evolve quicker these days. But what do I know? I’m in my 20s!
I feel optimistic about where our generation is headed. As a young woman born in 1993, I feel really lucky that there is this group of women not much older than us who have paved their own paths and have become role models after, historically, professional women didn’t have much to look up to for so long. The creative people in the Lena Dunham orbit for example, like Audrey Gelman and the illustrator Joana Avillez, have become this example of how to be hardworking and creatively prolific. They maintain a connection to fashion while writing for The New Yorker and working in politics.
There are so many innovative ideas that are coming to life due to this generation. I think we have the benefit of being in a generation that can appreciate both the valued of before and after the tech boom and we can use this knowledge to our benefit.
Why is it helpful to see the before and after of technology as opposed to the generation below us?
The younger generations grew up with iPhones and instant gratification at its maximum, while we had a period of time where we didn’t. We can reflect on both the past and the future of the media industry and become more grounded in whatever we field we choose.
I am really excited to see a little bit of rebellion from the designers, especially Raf Simons leaving Dior. I think that was a big step for designers because the pressure of the industry to produce and to produce is insane. There is going to be a tipping point very soon and I hope there is, and I hope that we go back to doing fewer seasons because we are losing the novelty of beautifully constructive clothes, beautifully conceptualized clothes. Raf talked about how designers cannot think anymore because all they are doing is making, making, making, there is no time to sit and decide to change ideas or to make things differently. I think if we give designers more time we are going to see fashion progress like we used to, but it has been so similar lately because you do not have the luxury of time anymore. Yves Saint Laurent used to go on three-month vacations and come back with his ideas that really shook up fashion. I think if we give people the time to be inspired by the world and to explore that they will come back with things that we would not have ever thought of. In my ideal world we just go back to two seasons. I would love to see fall/winter, spring/summer and that is what people do. We value excess and we value the now and I think our generation is going to want to go to this minimal living where you have these beautiful things. You see the hand, you see the craft in them and you are willing to buy that one dress that you wear most of the spring rather than buying 20 of them that were 20 dollars each. I think that it changes the way you see your own lifestyle and maybe will put some other things in priority rather than the new.
I'm always amazed by how many educated, well-rounded, down to earth, hard working people are in the fashion industry.
I also think it's a lot of fun for this generation because we can really choose. I think it's because of the crisis. People lost their jobs, but the result of that is that a lot of young people are now doing stuff on their own. They're freelancing and working on all of these amazing projects. So that's really a new opportunity for young people.
I could never freelance because I really need a boss to tell me you have to be at the office at this time but for people who don’t need that, they can just be architects of their own career now. It's not like you have to get a job and you stay there for so many years. It's really about what do I want to do? What can I contribute? Which project can I do? It’s also a challenge because we don’t have that security like we used to but especially for the creative industry it’s a time of opportunities.