Don’t Be a Slave To The Ordinary!

 “You’re studying fashion……..That’s interesting. So you learn how to sew?”

I have received this reaction many times when explaining my ‘tertiary education’, as people always seem to assume dropouts and superficial dimwits go to fashion school. I have to resort to explaining that I’m getting a Bachelor’s Degree in fashion, in order to impress the narrow minded. The surprised expression is very amusing, “And it’s a proper degree?”  Well obviously, it’s no different to any other BA, but perhaps more specialized.

The students at LISOF work just as hard as any other WITS/UCT/Tukkies student – admittedly, we just have more fun and look more fabulous. The creative demands on some students here are just as strenuous as any equation for an engineering student. No-one goes to fashion school and just learns to sew. In reality the dimensions of our subjects and content is extensive and stimulating.

Some LISOF students were asked what their family and friends thought of their decision to pursue fashion:

Thebe:  “My mom was happy that she could now exploit me, she just demands dresses now”

Kat: “I was told that I was going to be hungry for a longtime (laughs). There were raised eyebrows and my dad asked –‘Is this a real school? ”

Dani: “I was advised to get a ‘proper’ degree first.”

Keagan (a WITS architecture student): “Well when my friend told me about him going to LISOF and I thought fashion was going to be easy. But I was SO wrong! I see how much work he puts in.”

However when a condescending comment is passed by someone (non-fashion) perhaps there is a little crack that starts at the base of your soul, making you feel inadequate.  I have recently realized how lucky I am to be involved in something so expressive, so exciting, so valuable, and as influential as fashion.

Cecil Beaton once said, “Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”

It’s frustrating dealing with people who don’t see the same value in fashion, but those who can appreciate art are a special few, who can be dazzled by their daily lives and beauty. Isn’t that a better way of life? A life filled with the inventive challenges, enduring passion and the whimsy of fashion. If there’s one thing you can experience at LISOF, its passion. Pity is what one must feel for those who laugh off our passion, for they don’t experience the splendor that we do.

So to all of you who have had your goals and interests sneered at, remember that you are brave. And bravery is key to success. And if in doubt remember what old Aunty Chanel would say, “Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”


Image/meme created by Thebe Magugu & Martelle Ludik

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