DPS year start (July) - Friday 13 November 2020
If someone asked me what I had done this year I’m not sure I’d be able to come up with an answer. Actually, I know I wouldn’t. I won’t mention the individual effects the Coronavirus has had on me as I don’t think it’s helpful anymore. I can’t mention the work experience, career defining projects as there haven’t been any.
I’ll try to recount what’s changed, how my attitude to work has changed, how my interests and explorations have changed and a short bit on how my outlook and lifestyle has changed too. In order to not outstay my welcome, I’ll break up my experience, you can even just look at the titles to get an outline of my experience from July to the present.
Applying for work.
In June after handing in the previous year’s final project and after beginning to start receiving emails about the coming DPS year, I began compiling a list of companies I thought I might like to work for. It took much more time than I had expected. I probably sent off about 20 in July. I might have got 5 replies. July ended with a grand total of 0 jobs. Frustrating but unsurprising.
Fashion jobs start coming in.
After this I took a small break, various one-off fashion jobs started coming in around August. I’ve worked in set design and styling on and off for the last 18 months, these jobs are always nice when they come in, they’re just inconsistent. Any more stability would require a larger push on my part to engage with fashion in a more permanent way, I realised I had underlying issues with this however after a final big job…
A massive set design job comes in.
The set designers I work with were offered a major job for a large fashion house. The scale was massive, the budget was whatever was necessary within reason and pulling it off would have been an amazing experience. Notice I say ‘would have’, due to what can only be described as an upper management car crash, (which I was lucky enough to get front row seats to), the job completely fell apart the day before we were to begin shooting. Nobody got paid.
Moving away from fashion.
The job itself wasn’t actually the deciding factor for my decision to explore a new industry, despite how it may seem. It merely confirmed the thoughts I had been having about the industry as a whole for a few months at that point. I won’t get too in depth but it has to do with waste, waste in every aspect. The environmental waste that goes on in the fashion industry is no secret, but there’s a waste of creativity too, something that isn’t talked about enough. The speed at which things need to be ready, constant grind to get ready for the next issue, only for it to be forgotten the month after, is creatively draining. It seems as though there isn’t room for really interesting and unique ideas to breathe. It’s hard to remain engaged when all the work you do evaporates the month after.
Growing interest in Game Theory, Sociology and Design for the City.
I’m enjoying reading papers and research about various design mediums a lot right now, primarily architecture and social city design. This has a few positive outcomes: it acts as a sort of mental upskilling, learning is always a good thing, looking at contemporary practice is helpful to stay engaged and it also helps inform my SIP. Currently I’m looking at the potential of chaos for good. How too much stability can often be lethargic, and that small pockets of momentary chaos and uncertainty can revitalise both on an individual and societal level. There has been a lot of design writing about this, I’d recommend starting with Richard Sennett’s ‘The Uses of Disorder’.
What Next (Opportunities and choices to make)
I think having at least a skeletal plan is important for me, without it I’m swimming against the tide. I’m making the decision to focus on the SIP as well as the industry brief. By December this will be underway and I can again begin to look for work in industry. I have a few opportunities with larger fashion houses coming up in January which hopefully don’t fall through. (I know I said I was going to move away from it, but it’s going to be a new experience and in a different context so there should be something to gain from it). But we’ll have to see where that goes.
Changing my outlook
If covid has taught me anything it’s how to be good at being alone. When there’s no outside pressure propelling you forward it becomes very easy to stagnate. It’s been incredibly important for me to try to create not just creative goals, but personal ones too. Whether that be read a few chapters of a certain book or get some exercise, without these goals the more complex creative challenges can’t be faced.
That brings us up to the present. Any thoughts would be cool to hear. But for now that’s about it.