Wednesday, August 5, 2009

6+ and direction

while in tokyo in may, i was really excited to learn that we were there to catch the 6+ antwerp fashion exhibition at the tokyo opera city art gallery. here is a little blurb from tokyo art beat (great site btw):

"Antwerp gained overnight recognition as a major center for fashion in the 1980s with the emergence of the "Antwerp Six." That success was grounded in the comprehensive education provided by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, collaborations with photographers, stylists and makeup artists in building a coherent image, and the powerful sense of identity possessed by each individual designer.

This is the first exhibition in Japan to explore the attraction and creativity of Antwerp fashion. It covers the Antwerp Six (including Dirk Bikkembergs, Ann Demeulemeester, and Dries Van Noten) and Martin Margiela, who represent the first generation, and also second and third generation designers such as Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho, and A.F. Vandevorst."

unfortunately no pictures were allowed (bummer!) and i wished really really hard that i brought my sketchbook so i could sketch some of the pieces from the antwerp royal academy of fine arts students, because they were truly amazing. you should check out their website to see the different years' work on the runway.

i bought the accompanying book, even though most of it is in japanese (maybe some day i will be able to read it)


viewing their designs/projects made me remember why i got interested in fashion to begin with. i was previously involved in visual arts, but it was the craft of fashion that really fascinated me and spurred my interest in going to fashion school. manipulating fabric and other materials into fanciful creations of the imagination is what i was interested in. the artistic side of fashion. the conceptual. somehow over the years, as a result of the type of school i ended up going to, my current job, and perhaps even the city i live in, my love for fashion and my desire to be involved in the creation of fashion has been seriously waning. i've even spoken to a career counselor to try and work some things out and figure out what i really want to do. i'm still not sure.

some directions i'm currently thinking about are architect (but i'm not great at math), interior designer, fashion forecaster, historian (maybe to do with textiles or fashion history), archaeologist, researcher.

the other night i was up late thinking, and i tried to sort out what i want out of a career, and came up with this list:

- work with visual aesthetics in some way
- feel like i'm making a positive contribution to society or making some sort if difference in the world
- to work on projects that are more concrete and long-lasting
- the freedom to be truly creative
- to work with or for a small group of people i admire and respect
- to work on projects that are more 'big picture' or that have a more conceptual focus
- to have freedom or the ability to travel freely
- work involving research, analysis and synthesis of ideas or concepts
- work with my hands (something i really miss in my current job)

any suggestions? if there are any architects out there who can share some insight about their job, i would greatly appreciate it, as it is one field i am leaning towards.


assemblage said...

i am an architect - and if it's math stopping you - don't let it! such a small element and i find most of my 'mathematical' elements are designed by a structural engineer anyway. :)

happy to 'chat' further if you would find it helpful:


assemblage at optusnet dot com dot au

Christine said...

I went to architecture school and I can tell you that a lot of people in the masters program weren't good at math either.

You should definitely think about the practical side as well. Architecture school is nothing like architecture practice. It also costs a lot of money, and when you start working, you'll find that you'll be over-worked and underpaid.

Of course this isn't the case for everyone, but if you want to do conceptual stuff, and not work for a "typical" law firm, that's how it's going to be. It's easy to find entry level architects living in NYC and making $30k/year. Oh, and working at least 12 hours a day.

I don't mean to be a dream killer but it's dangerous to romanticize.

It also seems like some of the goals on your list don't exactly jibe with some of the careers you're interested in. Fashion forecaster is hardly a "big picture" or "positive contribution to society" type of job.

Just want to give you some things to ponder before you make a career change.

Melissa said...

I hear you Steph! Sometimes I wonder if I had gone to a different school, like in Toronto or even NYC, if things would be different for me now. I also wonder if I had just done the 2 years, rather than the 4, would have made a difference. I was SO done with school,lost all passion, and was completely drained - both mentally and creatively (is that even a word??) by the time we went into 3rd year, that it's only now that I'm starting to get back into it. Not the same way I was going into fashion school, but am taking interests in other areas that was definitely not taught to us.

I thought about talking to a career counselor too, but don't know what good that would do now...especially with the little one in tow, I don't have the same freedoms as I used to.

Good luck! And I hope you find some answers!!

simplyolive said...

my boyfriend is an architect -15 or so years working experience- & is currently unhappy, as his projects as of late have been assisted living facilities; and he is working with a crew he is not fond of... (i don't think he's the greatest at math either!)
--just thought i'd share...

i don't think any career is ever what you think it will be.
(and i STILL don't know what i want to be when i grow up!) :)

fleur_delicious said...

Hm. Well, a few thoughts. My partner (of 8 years) is an architect, and I'm getting my Ph.D. in theatre history and criticism (the ultimate goal is to find a tenure-track professorship at a Research 1 institution; my profs tell me I have what it takes).

Don't let math keep you from architecture. My fella left engineering because he realized he hated the math. Architecture has been a different story. You don't necessarily need an architecture degree (MA) to get started, but it'll help - a lot. And if you ever want to have your own firm, you're going to need to be licensed, which is a multiple-year investment. THey've just changed IDP (Intern Development Program) for the US, but let me tell you what it's like for my bf, who is one of the last group finishing the old program: 3 years working as an "intern" (paid, but less than licensed architects and you can't sign off on anything because you're not an architect) in firms, clocking hours in a variety of different categories of work. Then 7 exams. These will take several years to complete and cost a couple grand to take. Your firm may or may not cover the cost for you to take each once; this is pretty common. However, they'll only pay for it once, so it's a long process of studying and preparation. If you get an MA in Architecture, you'll still have to do IDP to become a fully licensed architect. You can work in/for a firm without licensing, but you can't have your own firm without it.

re: researchers/historians. Freedom to travel depends on where you want to do your research. If you're working in academia, yes, there is money to travel, but we're not exactly jet-setters. You'll need a Ph.D. in most places, and generally it takes a few years of working and publishing (do you enjoy writing, as a process, as a lifestyle?) in order to secure a good position where you will be working in your area of specialty. In the meantime, you'll do more general work in your field. This is truly still a field where your worth increases with the years you put into it - it's a long-term commitment, but if you like it, it's pretty great that way.

Historians definitely get to work on synthesizing ideas, evidence, etc. (This process can require a lot of patience at times!)

But as a historian, wouldn't you miss that element of hand-work? I mean, unless you count writing as craft? (And I do think there's a craft to writing, but it's a totally different genre from, say, creating a garment.) I make clothes and embroider on summer breaks because I don't get this from my job.

As far as making a lasting contribution, well, just remember that the way we look at history changes pretty frequently, new material evidence can be unearthed, etc. In short; your published work may make a contribution, but I think most of us would be foolhardy to assume that our labours will stand for more than decades at best.

Not to be a downer, these are just some realistic points about my partner's field and mine. We both enjoy them a lot, and find them very rewarding, so there's clearly a lot to be said for them. I'll be interested in hearing more about this if you continue to tease out a new phase in your life!

fleur_delicious said...

PS - most of my bf's graduate school classmates had worked in firms for a few years first. I think they benefitted from having previous experience! So, just so you know, it's not uncommon to work for a number of years first, and then go get the degree if it really seems like this is what you want to do.

= MARIA said...

I went to law school, graduated and then decided to go to art school afterward...Currently I work in advertisement.
My suggestion: Become an entrepreneur in your favorite creative field.

Stephanie said...

thanks for all your help and comments. i am still in the research stage for all this, so it is great to hear all sides of different careers.

mandy said...

I'm in architecture and looking to get out; your list sounds exactly like mine. Not much chance to work with my hands in the office unless pushing a mouse around counts. And yes, don't let math scare you. I'm terrible at it and still passed all the structural courses.

There are two choices in architecture: work at a small firm and maybe get in on the creative process or work at a medium/large firm and have benefits and normal working hours.