High Street vs. Designer. Which do you tend to go for? Maybe a bit of both?
I am very much a High Street person and completely agree with Gok Wan, who is a British fashion consultant who hosts the TV shows ‘How To Look Good Naked’, ‘Gok’s Fashion Fix’ and now ‘Gok’s Clothes Roadshow’. I love this guy and actually bumped into him once when I was out one night in London! He shows women how to dress well and boosts their confidence and self-esteem. His glam-ed up high street outfits often rival its designer counterpart on his Fashion Fix Runway. So I am very much in the line of thought that if you know what clothes to buy and how to put them together (which I sometimes have problems with), you can look tres chic without burning holes in your pockets.
That said, I would be inclined to part with my hard-earned cash for designer wear IF (and only if) I think there’s something special about it that can’t be replicated on the high street. Sometimes I see a plain cardigan that costs almost £300 when I can find a similar one in Zara and you think “Why spend that money!”. So I don’t look for brand names – I look for the artistry and creativity that defines the designer. It is only for that reason I would admire any one of them.
One designer that I absolutely love for his designs is Manolo Blahnik. Walking into his store is like I died, came back to life, fell head over Heels, died again, and went to Shoe Heaven. His shoes are INCREDIBLE. I came across a couple books of his sketches in a bookstore the other day and I was in awe – the origin of his great shoes!
His sketches and drawings were amazing. Creative, artistic, beautiful – GENIUS!
You’ll definitely NEVER find such designs on the high street. What is inspiring is that he used to be a nobody. Until an editor at a fashion magazine noticed his talent and he became a somebody.
What struck me was how he would’ve been looked down upon when he first started out. How difficult it must have been to make his mark designing shoes. But having the support of people around him, he’s now one of the most famous shoe designers in the world. Being Asian, I’m in a culture where most parents exceedingly encourage their children towards scholarly achievements, which is of course important. But sometimes, their inherent gifts and abilities may be overlooked. A kid telling his parents that he wanted to design shoes for a living would be given a smack on their head and told to forget such ridiculous nonsense. So I was, in fact, quite surprised when I learned that Jimmy Choo is Malaysian! If anything would encourage patriotism for my country, THIS WOULD BE IT.
My point is, whatever talents you have, whatever skills you’ve learned, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant such as drawing pictures of shoes, keep doing it. Put them together, mix them around, practice all you can and you never know what might happen. You may not get results today, you may not get results tomorrow or even years down the line, but you are building something that will enrich your life in one way or another. Love working with children? Keep working with them! Who knows, you might be the next Super Nanny (you’ve seen her TV show right?)! At the very least, you know you’ll make a fantastic mom to your own kids. Love encouraging people? You may not get much in return but who knows, you might be a great motivational speaker one day! At the very least, you know you brought some comfort and made a positive difference in someone’s life. Love playing with Lego? An architect in the making!
People may look down on you or on what you do (and there will always be such people) because they don’t SEE the potential. Why should you let that stop you? Even if you’re on the road less taken, walk it anyway if it will get you to where you want to be. Stay focused, hold your head high, keep the chin up, and strut your stuff.
And make sure to wear your “Manolo Blahnik” shoes with pride while you’re at it!
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