I'm two assignments down out of three for my final year of university. It's been stressful, with the personal pressure I put on myself at a ludicrous all time high.
My fashion management and marketing degree is coming to an end and I still don't think I dress like I've walked out of a magazine or that I've done everything you're supposed to do whilst at university. I've also realised that I'm now in my 20's and life its skipping by rapidly. Now is the time I have to get my shit together, get a job and live the life I've always hoped I'd lead. No pressure.
I started my 'dissertation' (we call it something different at uni) back in April last year with reading, reading and more reading. Whilst others partied hard in Ibiza I sat by a pool in a very hot and sunny Florida reading about fashion production and fashion supply chain, it weren't all bad!
I decided to crack on early with my project, followed a topic I had genuine interest in and found every book I could get my hands on before conducting my research online. My research title was 'sustainability in the fast fashion supply chain.' And was a pleasure to research and discover further.
It sounds like everything was going to be rosy but add a full time job, a long distance relationship with my fella and then going off to New Zealand for a month during university for work (still not complaining) then of course being temporarily blinded in one eye when a hand dryer exploded (complaining a little bit) and finally to top it all off I ended up being in and out of hospital for 6 weeks after having internal issues (complained so much I chewed my dads ear off constantly.) Add in day to day life and it's safe to say that it was stressful, thought provoking, interesting and reflective.
I'd been going strong until the eye thing, then the next set back was the straw that broke the camels back. I had my deadline extended and I honestly feel like I could have done better. What I produced in order to hit deadline didn't meet my standards but as I've learnt, I must put my health before anything else. I've come to terms with the fact that I will no longer get a first. Which is frustrating as I know I could have done better, but that's life- isn't it?
Having time off only reinforced the fact that we should live our best life. Do things we are passionate about. And I'm proud that I produced such a huge body of work about an area of fashion that I am truly committed to.
My dissertation made me question so much; about consumption, fashion, production, blogging, celebrities and retail and was a real insightful mixed bag of information and although this may read ridiculously, it changed me as a person. I'm more conscious than ever of my consumer choices and the way in which the products I use are made. I want to be a better citizen whilst still enjoying fashion, it's a challenge but it's the right thing to do and it's a lifestyle ideal that's here to stay.
Tied together with hemp string.
I must offer a huge thanks to all those who took part in my research: my H&M colleagues and all their personal opinions and thought provoking debates!, my Dad and boyfriend who put up with my whinging as well as all of you guys who answered my surveys via Twitter! The people I interviewed were fantastic and I'm so thankful you gave me your time to further develop and support my ideas.
The legends at London Bookbinding (especially Paul) in Clerkenwell who turned around my printing within 24 hrs after my printer bailed and failed big time. They did a beautiful job, and I nearly cried at the quality. It's a piece of my art, even if £345 worth of printing left me eating pasta for a week. That uni life. Fellow final years, we stand in pasta solidarity!
I truly believe that fast fashion can become more sustainable, both economically, ethically and environmentally whilst still being engaging, fun and trend led. It's a lot to say and we have so far as: individuals, consumers and brands to go before we can make this aim into a fashion reality.
So with one assignment to go, I thought I'd give you a little update as to how final year is going. I'm so looking forward to graduating, moving back to London and finally settling down. They'll be a huge sigh of relief on Jun 27th when I don that cap and gown, whatever classification I get as it's what happens next that's important.
*Edit note: I got an A, I'm still on track for that first!