Third time’s a charm, folks.
Despite the best of intentions to leave my high school fashion disasters in the dust, I wound up enrolled in a dress studio with nowhere to hide from designing barely wearable clothes.
I had no other choice.
With an eccentric tutor and a group bound together by our obvious loner status, the next six weeks that followed would change my perspective on my degree.
And no, it wasn’t because I spent most of my time eyeing up a guy within our group, trying discern whether he was gay, flirtatious or into fashion.
Despite my usually flawless judgement of character, he only fell into the fashionable label.
And the 100% not interested label.
Amidst the failed flirting endeavours, our class was extremely talented in the manner of ending up completely off topic. If it wasn’t said fashionable-but-not-interested guy extravagantly weaving a story while lying his way through our failed designs, it was the mention of a designer’s name that would distract the tutors for thirty minutes.
There was not one lesson where the insane design skills of other people didn’t drive me to thoughts of walking out the door and never coming back.
Although I did. Twice a week at 9am.
Whether it was my groups banter or my curiosity about the fashion world, I can’t say.
An attempt to coax the introverts out of the shadows, the brief centred around creating a garment based on the experiences of another group member. I had no choice but to open up to these strangers faster than I could finish a bag of chips.
From describing my fashion style (I just really loved floral prints) and explaining why my hair was half green (post-breakup new-hair-new-me/I-need-a-new-man), to revealing I’d been criticised for pursuing a creative and not an academic career path, and I was quiet because I didn’t have the confidence to be myself and was scared of judgement, all 3 of them probably felt so sorry for me that they formed a pity party behind my back.
As you probably guessed, I chose fashionable-not-interested guy as my target. After forming a strange relationship that consisted of a town hook-up and several evenings where I fell asleep in his room listening to music he recommended while he sketched, my visual failure of a garment contrasted structure and drape to reflect his personality, that while he seemed bright and confident, depression lurked underneath.
P.S.A. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to share your music with someone, they’re not the one. I never shared one song with him. Maybe because he was judgmental and opinionated, or maybe I just subconsciously knew.
Despite my undeniably terrible relationship and sewing skills, there was something exciting about being behind the sewing machine again. Except for when I had to hide a broken needle or two.
Delving into fashion designers and scribbling 30 second blind contour drawings of our tutor perched precariously on a stool, something about the studio was way more intriguing than abstract art papers or even painting at all.
Even though the paper finished with me never wanting to lay eyes on my garment again, a strong desire to avoid creating from 3d forms, and a grudge against my tutor for an interruption that resulted in a panicked early death of my presentation, part of me wanted to go back.
And last but not least.
At this point I was floundering.
The creative side of my brain may as well have committed suicide with all of the non-existent ideas that failed to come to mind.
Having poured my heart and soul into photography topics in an elective that begun six weeks earlier, it was proving to be fatal.
My elective encouraged my fall to the dark side, taking a critical approach to the world of fashion and addressing consumerism through advertising. Initially a billboard, non-contract related idea, my ideas were shut down as fast as a student can down a bottle of wine. I had to resort to sneaking photos of my flatmate in clothing store changing rooms and hidden corners where the employees eagle eyes couldn’t reach me.
Although the security cameras probably could.
And the shutter sound indicated exactly what I was up to.
But no contracts, human interaction or rejections for me, thank you very much.
I had a fear of the Dotti staff kicking me out of their store if I wandered in there with a DSLR wrapped around my neck too often, so I stopped for a while, which was a little painful for my growing trend searching obsession.
Ironically, despite all the sneaking around, this was the one class where the grade gods heard my call and blessed me with an A+. And a zine of my flatmates face, which I obviously couldn’t see enough of, despite living with her 24/7.
So with my photography elective scaring me off contracts, the place to be for my studio was the waterfront. Which I was straight up told was ‘not that original’. Sue me.
My argument was that the waterfront was more aesthetically pleasing than any other half-assed location I shot in, so it ended up being fate. Or in other words, a lack of caring.
With the ‘not that original’ comment tearing to shreds the remainder of my creative brain, I tried to suck up to the tutors and gain points by taking influence from an artist model. Why I held coloured cellophane over the camera lens is completely lost to me now, although a distant memory in the back of my mind suggests the distortion of reality.
Why the waterfront needed to be distorted is beyond me.
The one thing that got me through this doomed class was the existence of a guy from the same floor in my hall. I have an indescribable ability to form bonds with people for the duration of my studios and then never speak to them again.
This was no exception.
Desperate for a familiar face, we were inseparable from the first class, and within 20 minutes he had seen my worst ever photo. Our shared enthusiasm of wanting to die and cry constantly, and tagging each other in self-help memes throughout the whole class was the only means for our survival. The real tea was spilled in our gossip sessions, and I only dragged myself to class sometimes to hear him swear during his presentations or drag someone in our hall.
Despite wading through an entire year of presenting, I was nowhere near conquering my fear of presentations. Despite presenting in a dimmed room, you didn’t need lights to hear the unsteadiness in my voice or guess I was reading from a script. The day I adlib a presentation will be the day my body is possessed. It will never happen.
I’m just one socially anxious wreck who plans on presenting designs and concepts for a living.
While I could write into the unknown on a compulsory elective that ran the whole year, aptly titled Cry Cry Cry on my laptop, it’s not worth delving into a class that stole 4 hours of my Wednesday morning before my brain could properly function.
The short version; we learnt about the history of our country, our tutors had obviously never realised how monotone their voices were or how to entertain 200 people, tutorials made the room more silent than a morgue, and I discovered it is near impossible to accurately analyse and explain Maori traditions within a set word count.
The only memorable mentions from that class were the adult version of high chairs, a wheelie chair complete with an adjustable desk and a spot to store your bags; skipping it entirely one day to eat breakfast at the Best Ugly Bagel (side note, it is the best); and befriending one of my now best friends, because those who ditch together, stay together.
And that concludes the fresher experience. I feel like the blog version of story time.
That was less a uni recap and more of a rant but then again uni wouldn’t be complete without the occasional rant here and there. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar.
Stay tuned for actual second year projects sometime in the near future, although considering how long it takes me to write and edit a post I may be well into my third year by the time that happens. *insert laughing crying face* *maybe an actual crying face*