Queens at Work

“I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.” – Alexander McQueen

When I was about 10 or 11, I wanted to be a fashion designer – which is funny now, even though I work in the fashion industry, because I can’t draw if my life depended on it nor do I have the patience to go through the stages of evolving a design.. But as a child, it was my dream. I had a sketchbook full of drawings and a scrapbook full of magazine snippings – I would update both feverishly. I spent my days making tons of beaded “jewelry” and convinced myself I was a pro at altercations – which meant I was great at ruining my clothes by chopping them up into pieces and pretending I could sew them back together. I’m not even the least bit crafty now, so it’s safe to say that my DIY urges in the 5th grade have faded, but I loved creating. That’s one thing that definitely hasn’t changed.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.” – Diane Von Furstenberg

I would come home from school and immediately flip to the Style channel. My favorite segments were the beauty product documentaries (ex. the process of choosing scents/packaging for a shampoo company – hence my marketing side) and of course, the runway. I would get in a total trance during the DVF shows. Her models always looked so elegant, I tried designing a wrap-dress myself a hundred times at least. Betsey Johnson was my other fav because who doesn’t love a free-spirited blonde with choppy straight bangs wearing bright pink lipstick and a neon tutu cartwheeling down the runway?

“Never had love from a man as I’ve gotten from a fan” – Betsey Johnson

I think of those two women today and the legacies they’ve built and it’s mind-blowing. They both stayed true to their visions and built their empires. They inspire me not only as a creative, but as a woman. Being a creative is hard enough as it is because you’re constantly dancing on this thin line between your personal work and your career. Sometimes they fuel one another, sometimes they clash, sometimes you lose yourself momentarily in the midst of figuring it out; but the moments that you actually maintain your balance on that tightrope, are like no other. I’m in a place in my life right now, where those moments are the only ones I’m focused on.

“She loves her work more than she does he, and honestly at twenty-three, I would probably love my work more than I do she.” – Jay Z

I may not be the fashion designer I was dreaming to be as a little girl, but I’m creating work that I’m proud of. There’s a lot of pressure and I have mini-meltdowns at least 3 times a week but it’s through that where I can feel myself evolving. Every leap over a hurdle, every successful step forward, is bringing you closer to yourself – Once you come to that realization, your momentum is unstoppable. 

If you want to add to this momentum, take Marketing Director for RVCA Women’s, Andrea Hellenbuyck’s advice:

“Don’t compare yourself to other women (negatively), but be stoked on their success. I don’t know, I’m in this whole babe power mindset where it’s like, stop looking at other womens’ successes as a threat and more of a “f-ck yea if she’s doing it, that means we can all do it.” Surround yourself with women who are similar to you, in the sense that they want more, they want to better themselves and support each other. Surround yourself with other women who are doing rad things, not only will it give you support, but it’ll inspire you and push you to do more…rather than hanging around with negative people, [especially] girls who talk shit about other girls. In our industry (action sports/streetwear) we’re so outnumbered (by men). We have so much potential though. I feel like there’s this hill, once we get over it, we’re really gonna run things. It doesn’t even matter if someone else is doing the same thing you are, there’s room for everybody.”

It’s been so rad meeting all these women and hearing their stories, but it’s even more fulfilling hearing all the exciting feedback from women who read the Love Made Babe of the Week series and get inspired. Makes me happy to know that I’m doing my part as a woman in the arts to bring together the rest of us in the creative community. I don’t know how I got here. Everything is different now; it feels strange, but it makes sense.

xo, Has