Well, good evening...

How to write a blog?…

first thing to google when asked to write about myself. What do people want to know and how much to say? When the lovely Ben asked me to into myself via a blog I tried not to over think it so it would not be too daughting and kept to the mantra of ‘no one reads blogs anyway’ to trick my monkey brain to not over think it so here goes.

Amanda @23oz.indigo

FYI, image alt text is required

After knowing from a young age I wanted to be either a fashion designer or a firewoman, both sounded awesome to me, I swayed towards fashion as I developed my passion for always wanting to have something a bit special or different in what I wore. This was surpressed through secondary school due to lack of money(my £7 a week paper round didn’t get me much), wanting to be fit in and be accepted and generally just trying to get through life as a school kid. Couldn’t wait to get out and get to college where individuality and expression was not just encouraged but a requirement to succeed. In one of the first weeks there my lecturer sewed through her finger on one of the industrial sewing machines while giving a demo to the class, it was a very important lesson that has stuck with me, these machines are not toys.

The freedom to be creative and indulge in textures, concepts and mood boards was a stark contrast to my later life in industry and luckily the course I took at UCLA prepared me for the commercial world.

Before we jump to the uni years I wanted to mention my part time job while at college working at the cinema, worked with some great people and it developed my love for films which I take inspiration from all the time. Movies such as Labyrinth, Heathers, Empire Records, Pump up the Volume, Tank Girl, Stand by me, Go and Great expectations(the 1998 version, love the use of green in it), Romeo and Juliet(obviously the 1996 version, stunning visuals and soundtrack and Leo isn’t too bad either!) to name only a few, wether its the attitude, visuals or feeling, the influences are always in my work.

Preston Uni was where I learnt more advanced skills in pattern cutting, sketching, costing, fabrics, CAD...everything you need to be a commercial designer. I found the computer classes challenging and preferred to draw by hand which is ironic as I now love designing in illustrator on my mac and for commercial designing find it much easier and faster and have done for years, feel like my wacom pad and pen are now an extension of my arm. The course included an extra year so 3rd year would be work experience in industry which I was lucky enough to work for Reebok as part of their product development team, certainly was an insight in to what the reality of commercial apparel was and I learnt the development side, it was not so creative and I missed designing.

Heading back to uni for the last year meant head down and push out a finally collection to be proud of, working with a mixture of new and old silks with the concept of the morning after the night before, dishevelled with elegance I created piece that were shown at London graduate fashion week. Looking back on my work now(I am a hoarder and keep everything) it is pretty cringe as it looks so basic and dated but we all have to start somewhere hey! 

The experience I gained at Reebok did help me get my foot in the door with a fashion supplier in Manchester after uni. I managed to get a garment tech job, at that time I didn’t really know what a garment tech did but I knew I wanted to work in fashion and get out of my hometown. I learnt a lot in the role and it helps with the way I design as it focuses on the fit and quality of the garment but as time went on and I had friends in the design teams and I couldn’t ignore my need to use my creativity and was desperate to be a designer so I handed in my notice and explained why, luckily the boss saw something in me and supported me in the transition to the design side. I was sharing an apartment with one of the other designers and she kindly helped me lug home the desktop apple iMac computer(before laptops) home so I could get up to speed with the CAD packages. 
Cue my intro to denim, the position available was on the denim team, I was just happy to be designing so didn’t really care which team I was on. Wanting to make a good impression I wanted to learn everything and there was much to learn. Although fashion seemed fast then it was no where near the levels it is now so I do feel like I was able to learn a lot from experienced people and care was taken to design, select and mock up every aspect to get it just right for the many customers.
Having never been on a plane doing my first trip was crazy especially as it was to India on my own, stepping out of the airport and nearly getting in a random taxi showed how naive I was, it was such a good job I spotted my name on a board in time to avoid certain death…ok…bit dramatic but it made me learn fast and realise being thrown in at the deep end isn’t a bad thing, I survived and was better for it. 
It was a great time to be in the business, it was full on but I enjoyed it. Constantly feeling like there was always more work to be done I acquired a new accessory, my first laptop, that accompanied me most places, it had a few good nights out being danced around at 42nd street when the intention to do extra work after a quick drink in town was there but the need to let loose to a bit of razor light took over. I got the chance to travel loads, denim fashion styles were interesting and had a lot detail which enabled me to kept developing my skills but after a few years of taking on more and more work and having met my now hubby I wanted to go exploring before I settled in a 'job for life'.


What happens next…tune in next time. 

Amanda @23oz.indigo