Lately I have been questioning my wisdom at twenty. Mostly how it relates to how in the world I ended up where I am now.
I don't know how well the life of a designer translates for most people, because when I have glimpsed the fashion world from the "outside" it seems very linear and almost harsh. It's marketing and it's an industry so I know there is an element of ick to it that people pick up on, and there is definitely an Us vs. Them feeling. Much of the time the fashion industry becomes all about keeping up with the Jonses of the It Bag world, (which is a ridiculous pastime,) and the focus is in all the wrong places.
The thing is, that when you are immersed in that world... I mean when that is your day to day, and your peer group, not just subscriptions to all the major fashion mags... it's about something different. Something completely different.
For one, fashion is an art form. I know, everyone knows that right? Not really. Not really really. Very few people are in the industry with the intent of getting rich and famous. Mostly because it is near impossible. It is an industry where percentage-wise, very few have reached celeb status,. And that is one of the first things you learn, because the fashion industry is harsh! It's aggressive, it's cut-throat, and it's completely unfair. When a girl who is used to being the It girl in her hometown walks into a modelling agency, she is no longer special. And this is true for every aspect. In truth, if you don't find your coping mechanism, you will get burned out really quickly. So what keeps everyone going?
They are not living in the real world!
The thing that keeps the fashion wheel spinning is that those in the center are completely and utterly removed from normal reality. Their way of being literally revolves around beauty as a way of life. Their talent, whatever it is, is dependent on somebody, or many somebodies, creating a reality out of the furthest reaches of their imagination. It is the closest thing to literal dream interpretation in the world of vocations. And there are teams of people whose role it is to keep that momentum flowing... absolutely nothing is impossible. Eventually you forget that your world is kind of, well... made up. When you go to your office party during the Christmas holidays, you probably dress nicely, have a few drinks and live a little. When you go to a label launch, fashion week, or "thank god that show's over" bash, it's not uncommon to have a plethora of ridiculously beautiful and half naked people with golden wings on their backs pouring you drinks. Or, say, a swimming pool with large air mattresses to float on. At the very least there should be a tea leaf reader. And whereas you might find wearing a tiara to be "a little much" for a night on the town, you would feel out of place if you don't have MUCH sparkle at a fashion soiree. Do you see where I am going with this? When this sort of thing is commonplace, you forget what else there is. And it needs to be your reality, because you need to continue to be a dreamer or you lose your muse. Fashion is an art that uses the human form as a canvas, and fabric, beading, steel rods and pretty much anything else conceivable as the medium. There is a dangerous side effect to the part where the lines of reality get blurred, but that is another post. What I am talking about is the part where one exchanges one "reality" for another.
Right. So cut to modern day. I only just recently came to the realization that I have a basis for my lack of reasonable thinking. That's how out of touch I am. Not only do I not function well in the real world, but I don't even know that I don't function well in the real world. When I left the city for the mountains, I immediately found myself a group of belly dancers and circus people to surround myself with. They are amazing people, and they make a way of life out of incorporating what they love doing into a living. But I am not a performer. I tried for awhile to organize them and PR them and be their business mind, but herding artists is very similar to herding cats. Possibly more difficult. I put on shows, I honed various art skills... I tried my hand at "normal" reality, managing financial institutions and working at a law office, somehow ending up in the role of Mom. My kids do their best to keep me in line as I have the attention span of a two year old on speed... my four year old regularly has to take my face in his hands to be sure I'm listening... While I'm certain they are having a good time, I'm not so sure that I've mastered the ability to impart a sense of... uhhh... responsibility so much.
If anyone has tread this path in the past and has something of useful advice regarding "fitting in"... please share. Until I come up with a replacement reality, however, I see no reason not to continue to believe in hoola hoops, feathered headpieces, outrageous garden parties and fortune cookies.