Just Do It

I’ve been reading “The Teen Vogue Handbook” for a few days now since I received it in the mail.

Don't hate.

Side rant: People need to stop clowning me about reading teen vogue. Just because it’s geared towards a younger population doesn’t mean that it’s not filled with sources of inspiration. In a society that is suffering from economic and social depression, I’m not ashamed to say that I look towards more light-hearted activities for comfort and relief. Even though I’m glad not be burdened with issues of teen angst anymore, I do feel the younger you are, the more acceptable it is to be interested in things “appropriate” for your age like Hello Kitty, neon colors and stuffed animals.

While reading the book, I realized that women usually start their careers in fashion when they’re super young, like 12, 13 years old. So it makes sense that a teen vogue handbook even exists. Obviously, that ship sailed awhile ago and I’m way past my prime for a career in fashion –by conventional means.

For starters, I’ve never wanted to work for a glossy fashion magazine. I’ve been handling business for myself since I was a child. I remember teaching lesson plans to my stuffed animals and dolls when I was 6; writing novels since I was 13 and constructing makeshift fashion magazines out of printer paper since I was 11 (I’m such a zine whore). If I were to do any work in fashion, I would definitely have to be my own boss. That’s pretty much how I feel about anything I do.

Oddly enough, I got that mentality from my dad. He completed a couple years at community college, had a family and began working in the labor industry, leaving no time or resources to pursue hobbies and interests. Only until we got older and more self-sufficient did he start exploring realms of music, photography and the stock market. But he was always a self-starter. He did everything on his own. I never realized that influence it had on me and it’s really empowering.

This may sound completely arrogant and condescending, but as I work my way through my career, I’m not in the business of working for people. I’ll take the classes and soak up the education to set the foundation, but afterwards, I expect to fly on my own. Or fly with others. But never for others. I’ve been down that road time and time again and never with pretty results. So I’ve made up my mind to take the reins on any career venture I pursue.

I took a fashion course this past spring. Some parts were boring, but the creative portions really stuck with me. Obviously, that’s why a lot of people get into the fashion biz. But after spending a shitload of money that I don’t have on graduate school, I’m pretty damn broke. I’m actually really, really interested in registering for online courses at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, but private schools always demand a freakin arm and a leg to get a damn education. So that probably won’t be a reality until a coupl years down the road. And I want to do fashion now.

So I’m doing what my dad does; create my own curriculum.



It’s kind of exciting, really. I’ve always enjoyed creating curriculums. And I already have more than enough “textbooks” to facilitate my education:

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I thought, hey! They offer really good deals for yearly subscriptions so why not? And I have pending subscriptions to Real Simple and InStyle. Also, I get random issues from Nylon, BUST and Juxtapoz, depending on how interesting the cover is. And this doesn’t include my internet reading . I wish there were more blogs and links I could go to online, but I’m very particular about what blogs I read. I don’t like littering my head with clutter. And while I do appreciate diversity in the creative realm, I only have time to focus on ideas that I really connect with. But just so I don’t completely isolate myself from what other styles are out there, I simply take a mental note of them and focus my energies on soaking up creative juice from areas that truly inspire me. Besides, I never know where I’ll find inspiration.

I figure I need to check myself and not completely limit my research. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my current profession it’s to be open-minded as much as possible. That’s why I’m reading Martha Stewart Living! Hahaha! I was trippin for a minute cuz I figured only soccer moms and rich white people read it, but reading about crafts, entertaining and recipes actually makes me feel at home. It’s comforting to read about when my day is going absolutely crazy. It grounds my mood.

My “textbooks” are the building blocks to my creative education. The best part about it is that I don’t have to actually write a curriculum per se; the textbooks do that for me. Everything that I want to learn about fashion, style and trends are in magazines. They’re like miniature time capsules of what is going on the creative world.



The other major part of my curriculum is keeping an inspiration binder. I find this is where my love for making collages comes in handy. For a few years I would literally scour through magazines, any type of magazine, for images that caught my eye. It was a good way to flex my intuitive muscles. Whatever image I chose to cut out of a magazine was basesd on a feeling of being “drawn” to it. I never really gave myself time to decide whether I liked it or not, maybe 5 seconds tops. I didn’t want to give myself the chance to intellectualize the feeling for fear of passing up something that could possibly be useful later. If the image capitivates me in some way, I would cut it out and store it among the rest of my clippings, even if I found the image repulsive. I can analyze it later.

I used to store my clippings in randomly sized envelopes, but it was kind of inconvenient. Whenever I made a collage, I would have to sift through all the loosely kept clippings for the perfect image and it would be so time-consuming and mentally exhausting. In the inspiration binder, all the clippings are arranged on paper by theme for easier viewing access.



The only other major component of my curriculum is to blog, blog, blog. Because of my professional background, blogging is for analysis and social commentary on any trends in art, fashion or music that peak my interest. Blogging is a place to flex my creative writing muscles if inspiration hits. Blogging is to to keep a log of artists, designers, musicians, DIY projects or any other inspiring bits of information I come across anywhere and anytime. Examples:

  • Style profiles
  • Sneak Peeks from Design Sponge
  • Interviews
  • History lessons (ie., once I was inspired to do research on the history of nail polish)


Extra Credit

And what do I want to do with all this? Eventually, I’d love to find a way to integrate creative pursuits into my current schedule, whether it’s working as a freelance stylist; freelance writer; creating a small, independent designing business with other creative friends; creating my own magazine (I’ve always wanted to do that); etc. Sometimes there’s so many things I want to do, it can get overwhelming, especially with my current profession taking up 40 hours a week…*sigh*

Wish me luck.


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