Style is a state of mind.

fiVE lesSons

fashion summer school

fashion summer school

I haven’t written for a long while… Not for lack of new ideas, but perhaps because in the race between the insights and new thoughts, the latter kept running ahead.

But, I’ve managed to capture a little bubble of time tonight to decompress and list the five things I’ve learnt since my last (and slightly too polemical) post:

1. You cannot master humanity, you can only practice it forever

Humanity (noun): humanity is the human race, which includes everyone on Earth; also a word for the qualities that make us human, such as the ability to love and have compassion, be creative, and not be a robot or alien; the word humanity is from the Latin humanitas for “human nature, kindness”; our differences matter but our common humanity matters more

I’ve been finding myself practicing humanity a lot recently in the full sense of the definition – from being creative at Central Saint Martins where I’ve been studying this summer on a short sabbatical from my freelance PR contract, to feeling compassion for those that I love, those who have hurt me, but also those that I have hurt too – including myself. I have become acutely aware of my own mistakes and shortcomings, and in a strange paradox this has brought me peace. But I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by what a crucial difference it makes to be human in the workplace. To make true connections with people. Professionalism is important, sure, but humanity matters more. I don’t want to do a Deepak Chopra on you, so I’ll move on.

2. The most successful entrepreneurs know exactly what they’re spending

This is something they were teaching us in my Fashion Business Practice course today – an awesome course run by Jennifer Williams-Baffoe, published author who runs her own fashion production consultancy and also has a great online teaching platform. But it also set me thinking about how I first came across this lesson. Just over a year ago, a lovely freelancer friend of mine took a risk on me by recommending me for hire to the company she was working for. She didn’t stop there either – she went out of her way, despite her busy schedule, personal commitments and concerns, to really help me. I have always had an entrepreneurial streak. And with my own dad being a contractor for 15 years, I had an itch to try that out for myself. Thanks to his and her inexhaustible help, I was able to set up my limited company, improve my stakeholder management skills, really understand my expenses and savings and find a thoughtful balance in work and life. Their kindness and efforts taught me the incredible value of friendship, compassion, support and, most of all, of the generosity required to enable others to reach their full potential.

3. Family comes first

I count many friends, old and new, as my family – so this is a broad statement. But I have also learnt that while I’m enveloping others under this term, I mustn’t neglect its first occupants. They come first. Even before myself. And it actually does not suck the life out of me. I seem to have developed a limitless capacity for them, and formed true friendship with my mum.

4. Introversion is not a weakness

I’ve been meeting some highly social people recently who are actually naturally private. Yet they have somehow mastered how to navigate a crowd with such flare that – unless you’re a natural introvert yourself – you wouldn’t know they were introverted. A friend of mine recently explained he thinks we are called ambiverts. Whatever the label, these people seem to have the most creative and unexpected ideas and I’m relishing their company.

5. The best things in life grow from deep shit
Like grass, flowers, fruit and veg…

Ok, I’m done.

The next posts will be about the shoes I’m seeing on your feet, concept stores, short courses you can take without quitting your job or giving up your holidays, creative agencies you need to know about, and trends. Plus, Fashion Week is around the corner… It’s not gonna be  a long wait this time, so stay tuned and thanks for reading.

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