‘Who the f*ck is linear and why is everyone speaking about her?’
Between now and last Thursday, I’ve attended 3 fashion/career events in which 3 professionals and widely recognised industry names spoke candidly about their trajectory – the journey that has brought them to where they are now. As you can imagine, each individual presented a unique story.
Lucy Choi, footwear designer and niece to none other than Jimmy Choo, spoke about her will to forge her own path by rejecting offers to work for the family business. Instead, she ventured into the finance world before slowly progressing into fashion, on her terms and with her own label.
Pip Jamieson had a successful and comfortable career working for MTV. Flipping stability on it’s head, Pip found herself starting from scratch, this time, not in the music business but in the creative industries as a whole. ‘The Dots’ was birthed and has grown to become the largest online creative community.
And lastly, but certainly the most anticipated, last night at Istituto Maranagoni, Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman was very clear in stating she never set out to become a journalist, let alone an editor of Britain’s most recognised publication. What’s more shocking, Alexandra noted never having a particular interest in fashion when starting her career, it was all just a happy accident.
When asked about the highs and lows of the journey, each woman detailed very different times. Yet, what struck me, as it has never happened in my history of attending events, is that all three women closed on the same exact point, with that being “Your career will not be linear”. In mathematical terms, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, yet a successfully fulfilling career, from start to finish, will be quite the opposite to straight, short or simple.
Take a second to think about all the individuals you count as career role models, their stories veer off a set path and venture into areas of the unknown. Trusting themselves enough to make brave decisions and embracing uncertainty for the positives it may deliver, is the exact reason we know and speak of them today. I challenge you to name a leader that hasn’t taken a risk? Which is the exact spirit we should be filled with on the road to ‘becoming’, especially as a creative and even more so given the changes happening to the fashion system. The journey from confused rookie to confident professional is not one that can be prescribed nor predicted and you’ll enjoy it a hell of a lot more when you stick a fat red line through the word ‘linear’ (No pun intended).
As the final step in the ritual of rejecting the constraints on a linear trajectory, I’ve penned an open letter to tell the debilitating word just how we feel about it. Take this as your manifesto, read it out loud and then as one reader commented under an article on Man Repeller, “Take the scenic route to your career”.
I have found it necessary to write you this letter as I refuse to be burdened by the ill-feelings I carry towards you. In all the time I have known you, I truly believed that we were friends. You promised me a future, one that you said nobody else could give me and I trusted you. I’ve finally come to understand the false nature of your promises.
I blamed myself to a degree, “How naive of me” I thought. But I no longer hold myself accountable for the weight of your deceit.
You won’t be hearing from me again, in fact based on the new journey of freedom and confidence I am set to embark on, you may never even know where to find me. But what you should be very aware of, is that no matter where I end up, I had the most incredible time getting there. Something that you could have never provided!
A Career Woman.