25/02/2015 06:40 GMT | Updated 26/04/2015 06:59 BST

Fashion School Dropouts


A friend of mine recently wrote an article challenging the societal belief that we should never quit or give up. Instead, she believes that sometimes in life it is more difficult to quit than it is to persevere.

Reading her article was like reading my own story. I dropped out of a traditional Australian university to move to London to study at a place full of creative beings. Whilst it is a choice I don't for minute regret, it was arguably the hardest decision I have had to make.

I however am not alone, in fact, far from it. Her article made me think about how common it is for people to follow the traditional path for a solid six months or even longer and then drop out to follow a dream, a dream that is perhaps considered a little risky.

My flatmate and two closest course mates did the same thing. Either I am so much of a dropkick that only dropouts will hang out with me or there is a common theme here - attend a bigger, more conservative university, quit and then pursue the degree you were initially too scared to.

Whenever I see friends from Australia one thing they often say is that I am living the dream. If I am, it is only because I was a dropout, which is not always an easy thought to stomach.

In the wake of London Fashion Week it is important to think about why it is that students are frequently too worried to study fashion. Look around fashion is everywhere and it is a big deal. Admittedly it is just fashion, we are not saving lives but the British fashion industry is worth £26 billion to the UK's economy. A figure that cannot be blinked at.

So why is it that the connotations of studying fashion are often negative, so negative in fact that many of us are too scared to initially study it?

Quite frankly I don't have much idea. Economically, perhaps it has to do with the fact that even though there has been a 22 per cent increase in the worth of the British fashion industry since 2009, the number of fashion based jobs has decreased by 2.3 per cent over the past four years. Honestly though, I believe it has more to do with the public's perception of fashion school students.

When I tell people I study something fashion related the reaction is often questionable. Perhaps they feel self-conscious about their attire but that is unlikely given that most of the time I am wearing a denim button up with faded jeans and battered boots.

The people who have a more positive reaction are generally excited because they cannot wait to see the clothes I am designing. I have broken every sewing machine I have ever touched and the one piece of clothing I successfully made was a hideously oversized pair of fake denim shorts with an elasticated waistband. Needless to say I will not be designing anything, any time soon.

As to how this perception could change, I also have no idea, but I think it has to do with realising there is more to a fashion school kid than their obnoxious sunglasses and latest 'it' bag. Deep down most are just massive nerds with a strong interest in this form of art.

To anyone considering a career in fashion I urge you to do it and if that means quitting, go ahead and be my guest. It is an exhilarating experience.

Image: Authors Own