The Inspirationals - Jessica Sheppard

All photos belong and taken from Jessica's site.
 
I was really stoked when Jessica (above) agreed to answer our 'inspirations' questions. I have been a fan of hers for a long time (if you don't follow her, make sure you do, all links at the end of the post!) If you're new to the blog, we interview people with interesting careers/jobs/hobbies who we think others will find inspiring! Jessica not only runs a successful blog and youtube channel, but is also studying fashion design, but unlike many who take this path is going down the menswear route! Here Jessica tells us more about her chosen career path! 



Tell us about what you do.

I am doing a full time menswear design degree so that pretty much takes up all of my time. Around this though, I work I a supermarket and blog daily so my schedule is quite jam packed - its rare that I have time to stop. I'm also trying to branch out and become known as a designer as well as a secret project with a couple of friends - fashion never sleeps!


What does an average day at work look like for you?

Depending on which day of the week, it varies. I will either be at university all day, taking/editing blog pictures, filming/editing videos, sourcing fabrics and inspiration, making patterns and garments or working my bum off in the supermarket to afford it all.

Do you primarily work alone or with other people?

It depends on what it is that I am doing. As far as university, getting my name out there and my blog - I work alone. It wasn't necessarily a choice but that’s how it happens with things such as those. For the secret project, like I said it is with a couple of close friends. That works well though because we are really close and despite clashing with some ideas, we seem to always form a mutual opinion to go forward with.



Is this what you wanted to do as a child? Did you end up in this job by “accident” or was it a planned career choice?

As a child, I changed my mind pretty much once a week. I wanted to be a princess but realised quickly that it wasn't easy, and then I wanted to be a vet until I realised it involved blood. Without being the typical 'I've wanted to do fashion all my life', I do remember as a pre-teen having a desk in my bedroom which was covered in magazines and the wall in front was plastered with designs that I had come up with.  As far as accidents go, my falling into the fashion industry and blogging world wasn't an accident. I chose to study fashion and to progress upwards to a degree just like I chose to start a personal style blog - as I don't think there are many bloggers out there who dress like me as I don't like following fashion exactly.

How long ago did you start on this path?

Officially, three years ago when I enrolled onto my BTEC course in fashion and textiles. This was a two year course which guided me into my fashion degree that has helped me into internships and pursuing my dreams.


How long were you doing it before you made it into your career or primary form of income?

Unfortunately, it isn't yet my primary income. My blog does give me a little bit of pocket money here and there but it wouldn't pay the bills. As for my designer work - its all a work in progress and I still have a long way to go.


Did anything significant happen to get you to that point, or was it a series of small steps?

I was a bit of an undecided teen. My mum just thinks that I couldn't stick at anything but in honesty, I was testing the waters to find out what I loved doing. When I was doing my GCSE and A Levels, I realised that art and fashion were what is in my heart but I was too lazy to follow them (the coursework was so much!) and my parents told me that fashion wasn't a proper degree or career. After three different a level and  BTEC courses flopped - it was my time to try fashion and prove that it was my hearts choice.


What kind of education do you have?

I've got 10 GCSE's including Art and Graphics as my top two, a BTEC at distinction level in Fashion and Textiles and a degree in fashion design in progress.


Do you think official qualifications are important for someone entering your industry?

I'd say for the most part, yeah. If you want to work within Fashion then you need some sort of understanding about what you're getting into. For example, if I hadn't done these courses then I wouldn't have a clue about sewing techniques, trend forecasting, fashion history as in depth or how to pattern cut. With a lot of internship experience you could make it, but getting into those internships without the qualifications could be tricky. However, my blog has got me into a couple of internships before.



If you went to school, did you enjoy studying? Could you see where it might lead you at the time? What advice would you give to someone else who might be studying to get into your industry?

I did enjoy studying - but only creative subjects. I was a bit of a rascal and played up in most of my classes but this was mostly because I am really not academic and it frustrated me. The creative subjects like art were my favourite. I wish I could go back and thank my art teacher Mr Holmes for helping me to realise my potential - even though I didn't listen to him at the time, he was one of my biggest inspirations. As far as advice goes, I'd say follow your dreams. I wish more than anything that I didn't listen to my parents and just went straight into fashion from the get go. I regret not following my dreams sooner and I told my little brother the same thing. He was given a push towards studying Law even though Performing Arts is his dream - but thats his decision to make and realise for himself.

What do you think is the best thing about what you do?

I absolutely love having such a full life with blogging, designer stuff and working. I like that my days always vary and nothing is ever the same. I'm always blogging new things, designing and making different ideas, etc. I like the variety.

What’s the worst thing?

When a deadline is looming at university, I have to side track my life a little bit. Blogging takes the biggest back seat because my degree is my future and everything else follows suit. I basically have to dedicate my entire being to finishing my projects to a good enough standard so that I can get through university.


Would you call yourself a workaholic, & if so, are you alright with that? Do you think that’s normal for your industry?

Well, I'd say that I am but I am also the worst for being lazy. If I wake up and I'm in the mood for whatever I've chosen to do - then I'll go into it full force. I tend to set certain days of the week for certain things. Like I'll choose a day when I've got a spare 3-6 hours for planning outfits and photographing them and then in the evenings I'll edit it all and get to my designing. However, if I wake up in a lazy mood then I'll probably just be found emailing and watching Gossip Girl while updating my social media profiles.


What would your number one suggestion be for someone who wants to do what you do?

Be prepared for a lot of work. Getting into fashion design is hard, stressful and time consuming. Its completely worth it but it does drain the life out of you at times because its such a fast paced industry.


...How about number two?

Make sure its 100% what you want to do. If you're not in it with your whole heart then it won't be as fun and interesting to you. Fashion isn't a fall back career, it has to be something you're dedicated to spending your life doing.

 
What do you wish you had known when you first started out?

I'd say that I pretty much knew what to expect but I wish I had made myself a bit stronger before. I knew tutors and industry professionals would be very hard and cut throat, but at first I found it really hard to take and struggled with the harsh realisation that my designs weren't that good. From the three years experience that I've had, I'd say that I've developed more of a back bone but I still dread deadline day and being told that I'm not good enough.


Are there any major misconceptions about your job or industry?

Everyone thinks that Fashion is a fall back career if you fail everything else. They also think its always like 'Devil Wears Prada'. Or that its just drawing pretty dresses and sewing them together. It isn't. Fashion is a career choice, a dedication and hard work. It isn't something you just 'fall into' and sit back and relax in.


What is the best thing that’s happened to you as a consequence of the work you do?

I've met a fair few celebrities including Nick Grimshaw, David Ghandy, Tinie Tempah, etc. I've also had the chance of working with designers and other opportunities that I'd not of had otherwise.


What motivates you to keep doing what you’re doing?

There isn't necessarily a motivation, I just love what I do so I want to keep doing it. I don't wake up in the morning and dread going into university or sitting at my sewing machine - I stay up all night excited and jump out of bed.


Who do you look up to within your industry & why?

There are so many designers that I look up to. Christopher Shannon, Kit Neale, Henry Holland, Marc Jacobs, so many!


Rate how happy you are with what you do out of 100 (100 being the best, 0 being devastatingly awful) on an average day.

If I'm pottering along happily - 100. If its near deadline then I wouldn't even ask me that question, I'd be too close to exploding.

Is there much career progression available to you? What would you like to do next?

I'm only just starting out and I'm not even properly in the industry yet so I'd say there is definitely room to grow and progress in my career. I'd like to finish university and get into Graduate Fashion Week. After third year I am going travelling around the world for a year so we will see what happens from there - I want to explore the world before I settle.


Do you think you’ll continue doing this for the rest of your life?

Without a doubt.

Thank you so much to Jessica for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions! Find Jessica at the following places:


and make sure to check out her blog!







4 comments:

  1. She seems pretty awesome! This was fun to read xx

    http://le-young.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for popping by! We love reading what you think, and read every comment. Make sure you leave your link so we can check your blog out if you have one! Or come chat on twitter @oxwonderland