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Thursday, 29 November 2018

I want to fall in love with being a creative again + 5 ways I'm trying to get myself out of a creative dip

Being a creative is HARD. 

A sentence I think I've written out or said a thousand times but it is. Not only do you have to continuously come up with ideas, take risks, put yourself out there and create some damn good work that hey might get you 40 likes on Instagram- if you're lucky but you also have to be confident and bold in your own creative area. You have to ask yourself what type of creative do I want to be? How is it I want to make my name? Honestly, I don't believe a creative mind ever rests. As the saying goes there is inspiration everywhere. 

But, right now I'm stuck in a creative rut and I think I have been subconsciously for a while. A subject I'm eager to avoid embarrassingly quickly is speaking about university and life since then but honestly, I have been struggling. Well and truly struggling. 

I mentioned in my 'honest report on not having a clue what to do with your life' post that I've been lost for a long time not knowing where I want to go 'career-wise' and I think for the while the worse part of that was admitting that I was and am lost. To be honest, I think I lost sight of my goals a long time ago. I thought for a long time it was okay to tell people I knew what I'm doing, what direction I was headed into a point I almost believed it myself. But now I haven't a clue, only that I still want to be a creative. And on days where I find it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it keeps me going thinking of ideas to boost my portfolio or at least fill that jobless void I'm trying to get through right now. A topic I feel I've already covered or at least one that is still an open chapter. (Honestly, I'm waiting to write the words 'I've got a job!' or 'I've gone freelance' at the beginning of a blog post) 

But for this post I wanted to dive more into how I sort of fell out of love with being creative and how I'm trying to pull myself out of that dip.  


I've always been critical of everything I have ever done creatively (I'm going to be sick of saying that word by the end of this post fun game take a shot every time I say creative/creativity/creating in this post) be it videography work, photography, my blog posts or even the pictures I post on Instagram you best believe that once I get it to the standard I'm remotely happy with, I hate it. I guess the saying goes 'too much of anything can make you sick' (is that a saying or is that just Cheryl Cole lyrics) no I never thought I'd quote one of her songs on my blog either.. moving on. 

It's true. The longer I stare at my work, criticise it, move it around, change it and mess about with it, it begins to be this thing I don't even want to put out there. Some nights I'll even sit and edit a photo I plan to post on Instagram until it becomes so late nobody would be interested anyway and it kind of makes you lose sight of what you were hoping to achieve in the first place. And that is another factor that I think through time has had an effect in crushing my creativity and I'm sure for others too. When did we stop putting things out there because we enjoyed just creating something and posting it, or taking a new direction instead of sticking to the same things because it's what you know gets you the most likes? 

Its something I've been trying to work on for a while, in fact, I nipped that in the bud pretty early on, I've never been too fussed about the likes though low key it does have an effect. It's important to steer away from creating for the sake of it and instead start enjoying creating things you love, isn't that what it's all about? Isn't that the reason we started blogging, or creating pictures, writing or drawing because we love it, we enjoy doing what we do. 

 But still, I don't think that would stop me being able to pick through every individual Instagram picture or video edited and tell you what I hated about it, or what I would change now even pre-posting. I am never happy, but as creatives really are we ever?

There's always something we could strive towards or something to improve and make better next time. I guess that's what university taught me anyway. It's about the process and getting the final result, how would you make it better next time if you could do it again. There's always something.
In some ways, it is a good thing to be critical and push yourself that bit further but it can become incredibly toxic. Whether that be down to comparing yourself to others or wanting to take a different direction or do something new but not really knowing how to. 

I actually reached the point the other day where I hated every last piece of my portfolio, the work I've created or videos filmed to the point where I picked everything apart and thought, I'm not good enough. There are people out there better than me, that could do the work and then some. How could I get a job in the fashion industry when I can't do it. And that was a horrible space to be in, because what do you do when your best isn't enough?

I guess unfortunately that's the headspace I've been in for a while and I think I took for granted being around creatives when I was a university. Working in the studio and being around my classmates made us bounce off one another, although it was exhausting at times and what with the tutors almost feeling like they are crushing my creativity 24/7 actually I was probably at my most creative peak. 
I wish I'd taken more opportunities to branch off and push myself as far as I could because the chance was there for the taking. 

So I guess now some part of me wants to take things back to basics and start falling back in love with creating, working with people who love doing what I do as much as me. I think it's common we all reach a peak where we lack inspiration and need a push to put us on the right track to where we want to go. So with that, I've decided to put some ideas together that help me when I feel creatively stuck and remind me to do those things when I do (like now) and hopefully it'll help you too. 


This is something I've wanted to do for a while, whether its working lunches or just having a good ol' exciting creative chat I want to thrive off other people and allow them to inspire me. Jay's been my photographer for a long while and I adore everything we create together also occasionally my best mate helps out but in the new year, I'd love to work with some new photographers who share my vision for my aesthetic and work with me on that. I also want to start working with shooting myself with new people and just getting a bunch of ideas together and going with it, if it doesn't work out what have I got to lose?


With that, I've recently decided to start back up with my online zine, a project that started at university but I ended because that came to an end. But ever since I was young I've said I wanted to either work in a magazine or be in that industry I've always loved photography and looking at things visually the way they are laid out and the way they tell a story it has somehow remained a love of mine. So, for the time being, I wanted to start my own again this time with a new direction, with a new freedom, new creatives to feature and really just go to town with it. Losing the old name of the zine I had at university and taking charge of it feels like it's my own, my own project separate from what I worked on at university, but still something I love.
It's honestly for me one of the things I'm most excited about at the moment, and for me is a project that is pushing me creatively in every way. I'm excited to see where it takes me. 

Photographer: Tomas Bendik
Sweater: Topshop (similar: Pretty Little Thing)
Bag: Bottle Blonde Studio (Similar: Nasty Gal)
Trousers: F&F (Similar: NA-KD)
Denim Jacket: Bershka 


A couple of months ago, when I started thinking up ideas for a theme for my zine I started going through old magazines (I have a stack at home) and fashion books and taking inspiration from those. I began to tear out pages I loved, putting pieces together on the wall and from it came to an inspiration board- much like an old-fashioned Pinterest board. So that on days when I feel creatively stuck having something visual there really helps me see my vision more clearly or at least the direction I'm headed. Something I used to do on my foundation course at University we were told to display our work on the wall so that kept our mind active and constantly thinking of ideas, something I reluctantly didn't do from the beginning; my space was torn out NME pages of bands. But actually having your own work on display again keeps in mind of what you can achieve or perhaps allow you to stick to a chosen theme or aesthetic. Honestly try it, even sticking up collaborations you've worked on with brands, or award you received keeps you positive and thinking of that end goal. Even if like me you're working on your small goals first before you work out what your main one is. 


Again I'll repeat that it's never fun nor the right thing to do to compare yourself to others but it is okay to inspire off others (inspire not copy) often I save photos again either on Pinterest or Instagram and keep a visual diary I guess of ideas that I like and keep them in mind when creating new work. I mainly aim for editorial so often I save magazine-worthy images that show the direction I want to head in. Even when preparing shoots, I'll try and create a mood board, or an idea I want to go with to try and achieve the final product. 


I can't stress enough not just to you, but also to my own self that when I'm stuck with writer's block or struggling with content I need to get out of my headspace even if it means taking a step outside for 5 minutes. Often I find ideas come to me at the most random of times- more often that not in the shower so I have to scrabble to grab a towel before reaching for my phone. 
Stuck in your head going round and round in circles isn't going to do you any good (yes Paige really)


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Can we stop buying clothes for the hell of it? | Fashion

For a blog that, I’d like to say keeps fashion at the heart of it as well as the writer (me) having a fashion background and a wholehearted love of it I don’t speak a hell of a lot about it. Which I think is for a number of reasons but this week I’ve had a few ideas that have popped into my head loosely connected with one another so I thought this week I’d like to have a bit of a chat about fashion. 

I’ve had a lot of time on my hands as of late which I’ll be honest about. I’ve been on the dreaded job hunt and been dealing with general adult life stuff which means I’ve had a little more time on my hands than say what I would have had if I was still at university (obviously) and with more time comes less money. 
So I have been incredibly mindful of it and how I spend it which has, in turn, had an impact on my habits to buying clothes.

Now let me just say here I know this is a topic quite a few bloggers/influencers are talking about now after having watched Stacey Dooley Investigates 'Fashions Dirty Secrets' which is, by the way, a really great documentary about the effect the fashion industry is having on the world, if you haven't watched it already go and check it out. Since then I've seen a real positive conversation from people who have a power and influence over their readers.

I watched the documentary last Thursday and actually I am quite ashamed to say it's something that didn’t surprise me in many ways- that's not to say I wasn't alarmed by the pollution from the textile industry being poured into the rivers in Citarum and the effects it has on the people who live there or the effect the Aral Sea has had also. But for the topics, she spoke about like Cotton for example and the amount of water it requires in order to actually make a pair of jeans or a shirt or so was something that we learnt during a project at university. Being taught about the effects the fashion industry has on the world was something I was quite aware of. It’s something both incredibly daunting and scary that isn’t no longer in the future but is happening, Fashion is, unfortunately, polluting our planet. 

From what I'd previously learnt and after watched the documentary I’m also quite honest in saying that much like Stacey at the end of the episode she says she won’t stop shopping altogether I think we can all agree in saying we won’t either but its something we can make more of an effort in being aware of. Making more of an active approach in not buying so much 'fast fashion' is one. There are a number of different ways to shop that don't harm (as much) of the planet.


I’ve touched on this kind of thing before whereby I spoke last year about shopping Vintage/Secondhand and preserving something that can live on as well as shopping independently which is something that may last longer and in turn help out smaller businesses. Both two ways that can completely change the way you shop. 
I did mention this in my Shopping Independently post but just to touch on it again you may not realise but smaller brands can, in fact, be more aware and play a part in being more sustainable. I mention this because I wear and promote a brand called Bottle Blonde Studio on my blog regularly (not an AD) These gorgeous trousers I’m wearing in this post are made by them- which by the way I ADORE. The first time I put them on I screamed at Jay 'THEY HAVE POCKETS' which really requires no explanation does it?
Bottle Blonde Studio makes one-off zero waste pieces that are made from the excess of other pieces they make so that no a part of the fabric is wasted which makes them play a part in being a zero waste brand. Not only them but brands like Burnt Soul who make Eco Lyrca made from 100% recycled fabrics with their black lycra being made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. 
Another brand called Soul and Flare (in their words) 'reduce, reuse, repair and recycle' whereby they sell only clothes that fall under that category. 
And more recently I came across a brand on Instagram called Charity Fashion Live that during LFW recreated the looks in real time using only what they found in charity shops. They also invite guest bloggers onto their page to share their tips and tricks when it comes to shopping charity or creating DIYs. 

Even prior to watching Stacey Dooley's documentary my shopping habits had already begun changing for reasons like I mentioned, lack of money and really just that I just don't need any more right now. For those reasons they've bought about a different approach before I decide to buy clothes. 

For example a couple of weeks ago I spotted a top new in, in Primark one that in the past I wouldn’t have thought twice, before picking it up and taking it straight to the counter but instead of being hasty I decided to leave it. I both couldn’t quite decide if it was nice enough or even really my style. Fast forward a week or so later I spotted it again. At this point, I had a bit of time to kill before catching my train so I decided to try it on. I’d spotted a few things on my way around the shop so told myself to pick up a few pieces that I quite liked the look of and take them into the changing room.
I quickly learnt that they looked better left on the hanger, not because they weren’t nice but because they each didn’t suit me. The top, in fact, looked quite cheap and ill-fitting, it was £6, something that in the past if I’d have already bought I probably wouldn’t have taken back for.
I thought in my head at the time I’m SO glad I tried it on first. The other pieces I took in: some cord trousers, a snakeskin shirt and dress each didn’t suit me or were pieces I just didn’t really need. And I think that’s something that needs to sit in the back of your mind in regards to buying clothing. Do I really need it? And most of the time in my circumstance is I don't. 

I think it was something that Jay also made me aware of a few times when we've shopped previously. I used to be quite an impulsive buyer and found myself picking things that I would get home and have nothing to style it with which then always resulted in my saying 'I have no clothes' when in fact I had and still have a lot of clothes just a lot of pieces that don't don't go together. 
Jay started telling me to picture an outfit or at least 3 outfits in my mind that I could wear with the piece I wanted to buy and if I couldn't it was best to leave it. And for a while, it has worked out. That's not to say that you can't buy a statement piece, or a piece you've had your eye on for a while that doesn't necessarily pair with a lot of things in your wardrobe but it's more about being mindful  to not buy unnecessarily so often, being sustainable is about being more conscious of your actions. 

Another thing I've been a lot more active on recently is Depop both buying and selling, you can check my Depop out here if you wish. Again not an AD but Depop is one that is perfect for creating that process of being able to buy second hand instead of buying from a shop something that you could instead get on there. Often if I'm after a particular thing and I'm trying to save a bit of cash I search for the item on Depop, because not all are old things from peoples wardrobes but perhaps pieces that have been gifted from brands to bloggers that they've worn once and are getting rid of or something that somebody bought and then didn't fit them, in fact, a lot of the stuff is brand new, or barely worn and you can get something for a fraction of the price as a pose to going to a shop and buying the same or a similar thing for more money.
I also know that this week on Depop vintage items tagged #suistanable are picked to be featured on their explore page which both doubles your chances of selling and is equally amazing because you bought vintage in the first place which is a win for the planet, hurrah. 

Turtleneck, Bag and Trainers: Primark
Trousers and Earrings: Bottle Blonde Studio
Again linking this back to something I did touch on before in a previous post whereby I said fast fashion is dying I still believe it's true and as a generation, our generation we have the power to stop things from getting worse than what they already are. I know in this post I've mentioned my habits have changed a lot to do with not having a lot of money right now, its something that I aim to carry through even when I am making more money and have the power to buy more. I've always been a bargain hunter and if I can find a similar item second hand or elsewhere I will try to. Who doesn't love getting things cheaper?? Especially if that means it's a step in the right direction to helping the environment. 
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