Thursday, October 14, 2010

We All Start Somewhere - A Personal Story From My Interview Notes

One part of interviewing I love is when that personal story slips out - usually something that cannot be included in the article.  Why?  Because the article is there to help raise awareness of them as a designer and some personal stories just don't add to that picture.  I treasure these shared memories and have often thought about a small book where they could be referred to anonymously if the artist preferred.

One local fashion designer who has enjoyed international success for many years started by making a silk camisole for herself.  Friends noticed and began to place orders. Slowly the developing business took over the family home so her husband decided to rent a small studio.  There she toiled away with a single seamstress.  One day a friend decided it was a great idea to use their connections to send the Eatons' buyers to her studio.  This designer really had no idea what was expected.  In walked the Eatons' buyers in suits and there she stood with four lonely garments hanging on a rack. 

One of her poignant memories of the meeting (which in general is a bit hazy) was crawling under a table on her hands and knees to pull out some fabric and suggest possible items that could be made.  After they left her main thought was, "What just happened?"  Thinking she totally blew it, imagine her surprise when they placed a Christmas order - her first large order ever.  She had to hire 2 more seamstresses and work until the wee hours of the morning, but she managed to deliver the box of garments on the final day allowed for delivery.

My interviews are often full of these priceless tidbits from someone's life experiences.  As the person is talking I see the event running like a movie in my mind.  Not all stories are happy, and not all have fabulous outcomes, but they definitely add flavour to the interview.  Those moments have also taught me it's okay to learn by doing.

My new mantra - "We all start somewhere."

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