My apartment has become a mini warehouse—hundreds of boxes have taken over the space where my coffee table belongs and racks of clothing line the living room. My partner and I are tiptoeing around hangers sprawled across the floor and untangling long ribbons of shipping labels stretched across the counter.
Bringing our S21 collection to life was a slog 90% of the time. I dealt with production issues, maxed out my credit card, and of course, doubted my creative ability nearly every step of the way. I fell behind on emails, let down customers and carried rolls of fabric through the garment district on steamy hot, summer afternoons. I stayed up late nights staring blankly at my computer wondering if I’ve poured my money into a project I can’t pull off.
The tiny 10% of bringing a creative vision to life is when you get to share your finished work with others. For me it’s seeing the models bring each piece to life on the set of our photoshoot, squealing at every order that comes in, and having someone ask where I got my jumpsuit from because they’re “obsessed” and getting to say that I designed it.
So for anyone creating something out of nothing, I want to remind you that the slog is to be expected—the doubt, frustration, fear and late nights are all a balanced part of a creative life. We tend to only see the highlight reels of creators—the glamorous 10% that makes creative work look like the pathway out of a monotonous job that you hate. But if that’s your expectation of a creative life, it’s going to be really difficult to sustain. Despite how it can sometimes seem, creative work is also monotonous (you need reps to improve your craft!) and there will definitely be a handful of mornings when you won’t want to get out of bed to start the workday. Those aren’t signs that you should give up. Those moments make up almost all of the creative process.
I’ve wanted to quit many times, but I’m glad I didn’t. And I hope you don’t. As I sit in my mess of an apartment and look at the vibrant prints of each freshly steamed piece of clothing, I’m glad I stuck it out. Somehow, these small moments make everything worthwhile.