i. I work as:
An apparel designer and freelance writer. Street & Saddle is my business- baby; we do made-to-order equestrian apparel. We manufacture everything out of our studio in Strathcona.
ii. I do this creative work because:
Fashion is such a complex and beautiful industry. The art and business aspects are always struggling for balance, and there is so much potential to innovate and better the environment and welfare of its’ workers. I also love the absolute creative freedom of having an idea or concept, and being able to turn around and make it in “real life.” Like magic.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
Stubborness and terminal optimism, which are also my biggest downfalls! Nothing is impossible, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed with elbow grease, and something good is bound to happen if I just put my nose a little closer to the grindstone… I think this may also be defined as “insanity.” We will see.
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
Stress management – mostly financial, which I’m sure a lot of creatives have to deal with.
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
I was pretty shy, and didn’t have a TV, so was either writing “stories,” drawing (usually horses), or watching over my dad’s shoulder in his workshop. My first real sewing project was a yellow pleather motorcycle suit so I could be Uma Thurman from Kill Bill from Halloween when I was fourteen. I think that was when I fell in love with making clothes.
vi. Other creators who inspire you:
I tend to get inspired by creative people I am lucky to call friends… designers, jewellers, painters, photographers, writers, musicians. I get inspired from thinking “oh wow, this person is just so talented.”
vii. Training that has helped me succeed in this career:
Getting a diploma at Blanche MacDonald was amazing – the technical training was so detail oriented, and I still work with one of my classmates, who is a total master, so I get to learn from her as well.
Business night classes at BCIT were also great for giving a foundation in marketing, managing and accounting. It didn’t make me an expert, but it made me less overwhelmed when I was trying to figure it all out in real life. The best thing about being entrepreneurial is that you have motivation to observe and learn all day, every day. Everything is either something to learn from, or be inspired by.
viii. The biggest myth about this type of work is:
That you sit around drawing dresses all day. That’s about 0.5% of my workload.
ix. Some proud career moments:
Getting a sponsored spot in Vancouver Fashion Week, which they offered to a recent graduate who had their own line. It was so generous of them, and to get that glamorous moment in the spotlight was such a huge motivation to double down and keep working.
That, and repeat customers. Repeat customers are the best sign that you’re doing something right.
x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Get your technical skills as good as you can. If you’re bootstrapping your brand financially, you’ll save so much money either by doing things yourself, or knowing how to be cost-effective in your designs.
xi. A professional goal I have for the future:
I want to be proud when I talk about my career. Fashion is, in a lot of ways, pretty superficial. I want to dig deeper, into the social and environmental effects of the industry. I want to be able to say that I made peoples lives better with the career I chose.
xii. If you want to see my work, go to:
www.streetandsaddle.com, and we are proud to be a First Pick Market at Heritage Hall on March 17-18!
Header Photo: Cristy Zinn