‘Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in perfect harmony’
– Mahatma Gandhi
Life Lesson number 1 ‘You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might get what you need’ – Mick Jagger
Looking back, I have never known a time when I was not passionate about Art and Fashion Design. From the age of 6 I was drawing fashion figures and fantasising about becoming a famous fashion designer and seeing my designs come alive on the catwalk. I was convinced this was exactly what I wanted to do with my life (amongst other things!) so when I was old enough to dare, I jumped on a train to Sydney with nothing but a suitcase full of dreams and a head full of stars to pursue a career in fashion.
Fast forward a few years and a few failed attempts at study I headed back home with nothing but a bruised ego and a few pennies in my pocket to show for it!! Sure, I had my health, family, friends and some life experience under my belt and some fun times, (even my first job in fashion retail) but I still couldn’t quite work out exactly what I wanted to do with my life; and I had the sneaking suspicion that other people knew more than me.
Life Lesson number 2 ‘A head full of fears has no space for dreams’ – Anon
So I packed away my suitcase along with my childhood fantasies and concentrated instead on becoming a responsible adult with a responsible job. And for a time I really, truly believed this. I turned my whole world upside down and spent my twenties trying to be this perfect version of myself I felt I ought to be…A smart, switched on and corporate savvy career woman with a 9-5 job, kick ass Salary and a mortgage. I was lucky enough to have an amazingly supportive and loving partner (who is now my husband) by then, but when the GFC hit and we both lost our jobs and were left with a termite infested house on our hands, I realised I’d only had it half worked out.
Life Lesson number 3 ‘Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones’ – Chris Martin, Coldplay
The one thing I did have though, was this all-consuming passion and curiosity to explore new ground, so when the chance came up to move to Melbourne and start over, I grabbed it with both hands and held on tight. Here finally, I found a sense of home in a city throbbing with a creative heart and soul that nurtured me back to life and reignited all my creative wanderings and pursuits that had long been dormant within me. It finally led me to a place where I felt confident enough to break out of my shell and discover who I was and what made me tick. In that moment I realised it was ok to not have it all worked out by the time I was 30, who the hell does anyway? Ok, maybe some people do… but somewhere along the line I had forgotten what it really meant to live a more authentic/creative life on purpose and for the first time I began to imagine what it would feel like to actually love what I do and share that passion with others. On the upside, those ‘crisis moments’ and years working in retail and corporate admin jobs grounded me, and helped shape the person I am today and later informed me of the person I was eventually to become, so everything always has a way of working out in the end.
Life Lesson number 4 ‘We are what we create and the universe always provides’
A funny thing happens when you begin this journey of self-discovery…helpful people, friends, situations and circumstances all of a sudden come out of the woodwork to assist you in the most surprising ways that you never would’ve dreamed possible and once a temporary period of transition and de-stabilisation occurs, you find yourself in a place where all your needs are met and everything becomes crystal clear. I realised I did love fashion, it was always part of my DNA, but I didn’t love the industry I was to be a part of and hated the consumerist culture surrounding fast fashion that seemed very fake, ego-centric and capitalised on women’s fears and insecurities. In short, a toxic and wasteful culture that was counter-intuitive to my ethics and values and didn’t share in my vision for a more sustainable fashion future. I wanted to create something I could be proud of, that celebrated women and inspired them to aspire to more than this. To appreciate the beauty of something handmade as opposed to mass manufactured from a factory in china. More than that though, it had to inspire, educate and empower a new generation of women enough to want to create their own wardrobes again and have fun along the way.
Life Lesson number 5 ‘From little things, big things grow’ – Paul Kelly
In December 2014, Feather and Sparrow was born out of a little Facebook page and a love of unique, contemporary and vintage design and creating beautiful handmade garments with care and quality craftsmanship. Having now been approved for government funding, I’m excited and humbled to know it’s beginning to evolve into a website/blog with plans to establish an e-commerce business platform in the near future. In the meantime, stay tuned for more interesting and insightful fashion stories, artful musings and progress updates as I hope to inspire you to continue following and sharing in the journey so far…