A year ago I was inspired by the idea of a “uniform” — versatile clothes I didn’t have to fuss with —to design a clothing line. I envisioned a twelve-piece wardrobe that was endlessly mutable and ageless. I planned to abandon trend, focus on long-term wear and pieces that could transition to different environments throughout the day.
I made patterns for three of the “lynchpin” pieces: a prototype of a leather jacket; fit-gorgeous pants; nearly all of a blazer. I felt like I was moving my dream forward. Surely I could finish this collection, throw together appropriate marketing, and sell it within a year. Then I moved apartments and had a major health crisis; the project was sidelined for over six months.
A few weeks ago, I found the prototypes in my basement, including a notebook detailing the timeline and instructions for wear. I burst into tears. How could I care so much about something and not do it? The path had seemed so clearcut.
I told Sally about finding the pieces and how ashamed I was: I knew the path and it was straight and I didn’t just do it.
There is an error in your thinking. The path of a creative project is NEVER straight. It always zig-zags, never with the timing we think it should have. Life happens. And life happened to you big-time.
It’s like Mike Tyson said: Everyone has a plan until they get hit.
I don’t see failure here. You just need to pick up where you left off.
She asked me to bring the prototypes to her studio to photograph.
When I showed them to Sally, I felt proud of my workmanship and dedicated to finishing my project. I realized that it was when I’d looked at the pieces alone, without anyone else’s eyes on them, that they felt like the work of a failure or quitter.
I reoriented my goals to be more realistic: to accommodate professional commitments, family, life. If I launch my clothing line by the time I am 30 (in six years), that’s great. It’s not trend-based so it isn’t going to fall out of style.
Surround yourself with people you trust to show your unfinished projects and share the ideas you have and didn’t pursue. Get their feedback and advice, and honest opinions of what they think “won’t work”, and/or ‘YES “do it!”.
And, stealing a line from Sally: know that…
no path is a straight;
all projects take detours.
You just have to keep moving forward.