I don't think I'm alone on this one but I have to admit that I often don't immediately 'get' the correlating parallels of those I'm meeting until far too late. I work (and rock) around the clock but feel that no matter how fast I go, who I meet and where I am, I'm always going to miss something or someone. I'm on a constant watch. So be it. That's London. Deal with it.
Those I do meet that are undeniably unique in their process of design or performance tend to find others of the same nature in this weird interconnected universe - banding together in time and effort and it's of these moments that I ride. High, appreciative and expectant; like a junkie, the energy and connectivity of creative's together is my instant fix. I've been lucky to have met so many of these exact people in recent weeks. I'm trying to stand still, listen and learn from them.
What's most interesting to me is the rate at which I'm growing up. I don't mean as such in the adult sense (I'm still flat out boiling a jug), but I do mean in the sense of understanding the drive and consequent similarities between others in the creative spectrum. The more I know, the more I know how little I really know.
Interviewing Sophia Grace of fashion label 'Sophia Grace' a few weeks ago made me think.
Sophia designs completely as she sees fit; and for women such as ourselves - inspiring, busy, interested in (yet unaffected by), trends. Gone are the days of anyone's approval - and this is key. Too much time is spent and energy wasted adhering to appearances. The most interesting people I've ever met have a genial humility. Far from blasting their achievements, they shy away from the attention and get on with the job; sparing little time to anything off the path of what they are trying to achieve. Sophia is one of these people.
I had a wonderful conversation with my flatmate just days prior to meeting Sophia. She said, "find your angle, whatever that may be, and do that damn well' I heard the same from designer Nicola Woods who I interviewed recently while she busily worked on her next collection, excited regardless of the impending press reviews.
Sophia is finding her angle. I met up with her over a coffee after a spray of email correspondence. An hour passed by quickly with the momentum of bustling ideas and enthusiasm; once time was up, she marched back to her office where she currently works as a developer for some very high profile clients under a highflying corporation. "How is she to make it work as a full time designer? Who does she have to emulate? No one is the answer. If the buzz of the idea and the excitement of putting it to play is there, then what comes next is irrelevant in measures of achievement. She, as we all strive to do, will do her best. Never before has she expended so much energy on the one direction. It's hard to fault anyone willing to put a backseat to comforts (holidays and the trimmings), for an unbridled ambition and relentless tunnel-vision direction.
If her current collection is not her best work then we must look forward to what's next. Presence and recognition for her work perhaps? One can only hope.
Take her Google stance for instance. Type in her name, Sophia Grace and you'll get the dancing Ellen twins. Scroll down a little further. Ah...there you go. Watch this space.
Sophia comes from a modest background of dressmakers and is a self taught fashion designer with a luxury brand of sophisticated tailored dresses and elegant evening gowns. It's a beautifully defined visual catalogue of what she perceives to be the modern women. Each piece comprises a variety of quality tweeds, crepes, silks and crafted embroidery.
Sophia lights up when I ask after her childhood passion for drawing and of the times she spent with her grandmother's huge book of Vogue patterns. They would visit fabric stores together and Sophia, ever with a keen eye for fabric, started off by selecting clever pieces in the 99p bin. She would then make up patterns from newspaper to create tops and skirts. Developing from a simple idea, it's great to see how she's evolved her work ethic into an ethos for modern classic elegance.
Although Sophia didn't pursue fashion at university, years never dwindled her desire to tackle the industry and so for the Spring/Summer 2012 season, Sophia launched her very first collection under her first and middle name to create 'Sophia Grace'.
The moments I was referring to earlier are the reasons behind why I'm involved in this industry. It's something special when you come across people out there still working with both feet on the ground and two hands on the cutter; chipping away slowly yet surely at their purpose.
Anyone lucky enough to get to Ascot this year would be well advised to visit her site.