Our Everyday Happiness feature stories are about how the search for happiness has shaped who we are and how we live. This series is open not only to regular Delivering Happiness contributors, but to guest posters from the Delivering Happiness movement, Very Happy People, and… you. If you are interested in telling us about how happiness works in your life, please contact our Creativity Curator: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A career in the fashion industry is not for the meek-hearted. It’s perhaps not as bad as depicted in the film, The Devil Wears Prada, but it’s not that far off either. I entered into fashion from a background working in a chemistry research lab, and these two environments are poles apart. Most scientists are quirky introverts... fashion people on the other hand, project outwards. The latter always wants to show off their new outfits, new hairdos, new designer shoes, latest cosmetic procedure, etc – you get the picture.
The first lesson I learnt about the shallow nature of the fashion industry came quite quickly. The first job in my new career was working in a fashion consulting firm that provided international clients with detailed reports of fashion trends breaking in NYC. This entailed attending runways shows, style forecasting events, and taking pictures of fashionable people on the street. I met a lot of new people through my boss during this period. I quickly noticed that after I was introduced to people in the industry for the first time, they would boldly look me up and down to check out my outfit, and they wouldn't even try to hide their intentions. It was pretty easy to see when they approved or disapproved of what I had on. At the beginning, this behavior infuriated me, and I found it incredibly rude. But as time went on, I just learnt to not let it bother me as much. Needless to say, if you are coming into this industry with low self-esteem, you will be eaten up and spat out to the hounds.
As I've progressed in my fashion career, I've seen all types of crazy things happen; photographers and stylists throwing wicked tantrums at fashion shoots, clothing designers act like their egos were taller than the Empire State building, and so on. The way I maneuver through everything is by framing things in my mind the right way. No matter how many unnecessary tantrums or shout-fests I encounter, I just tell myself to relax, take a deep breath and stay calm. I never forget that we are dealing with only fashion and style, not solving world hunger or curing cancer. I concentrate on the fun parts of my job, and let everything else fall by the wayside.
If you work in a similar environment, my advice is to always keep things in perspective. Focus on the areas you love most about your job and eschew the drama. Work hard on developing this mind view and I promise, your work experience will take a swift turn for the better.
Geo Hagan is a fashion, music, & culture journalist based in NYC. He’s originally from Ghana, West Africa, and is the proud son of a Dad who worked for the United Nations, and a Mom who’s a lawyer and women’s rights advocate. He’s been writing for close to a decade, and his work has been published in national magazines like Nylon, Bullett, Savoy, YRB and Man of the World. He also dabbles in various marketing and consulting projects for global lifestyle clients.
Geo is also the creator of an online journal called Zen4Creatives, which he calls an “online oasis providing motivation, inspiration and words of confidence to the creative community.” Be sure to check out his positive weekly updates at zen4creatives.com.