Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Okay... it's 11.44pm... at least that's what my clock tells me and I know that my day will not be complete without, not only sending a bday shout-out to me but also to thank you ALL for your wonderful messages.

This time last year, I was a newcomer in a city who started school on her bday. Surely you could have imagined how lonely it was not getting calls because people back home did not have your phone number yet and the people around you had no clue who you were. I mean, I doubt it would have been cool telling people on your 1st day it was your bday.... even though, vain sucker that I am, I did and got just a few polite Happy BDays.

But 1 year down the line, I THANK GOD not only for making the past years a testimony, but also letting me realise how truly cherished I am. I mean, though I am really far away, I have never felt so close to... I can't say home because calls and messages have been coming in from all over the world!

Imagine how good it felt receiving calls 2 days before your bday just because everyone wanted to be the first to wish you a wonderful day! WOW!

OK... let me quickly post it before the day runs out. This MUST be posted 26 February 2008!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Do you really need to study Fashion Design to succeed in the Fashion Industry?

Concepts and Story Boards, Life and Figure Drawing,


Garment Construction, Pattern Making, Textile Studies,

History of Fashion,

Textile Studies, Technical Drawing, etc.

These are the all too familiar courses fashion design students d.r.e.a.d... and love to hate... but have no choice really if they want to get their certificates.

But REALLY do you have to endure 3 years of an undergraduate degree or diploma to become a Fashion Professional? I use the words Fashion Professional because obviously not everyone who studies Fashion Design wants to or will become a designer.

The fashion industry is so diverse. I mean you can become a Fashion Buyer / Merchandiser, a Retailer, an Illustrator, a Stylist, an Image Consultant, a Clothes Manufacturer, a Fashion Journalist... really the possibilities are endless.


Why on earth must I study Fashion Design if I do not want to become a dress maker or fashion designer...???

YES YES we know, some of the world's famous designers, John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, etc all studied Fashion Design. But do you all know that the billionaire designer, Ralph Lauren, dropped out of his Business course at the City College of New York and NEVER went to Fashion School????

I know what y'all are thinking? Does she think she made a mistake by studying a BA in Fashion Design? Nope. In fact FAR FROM IT!


I cannot help but wonder why a lot of us feel we need to go back to school to study a course if it is not absolutely necessary. I mean if one wants to be a Fashion Stylist, for example, why does she need to study a course in fashion design? Is this borne out of the necessity to add another credential to her already long list of credentials or is it because she truly believes she needs the requisite skills to excel in her chosen field? I personally believe the latter. To be the very best in what you want to be in, you NEED to learn the basics. But then, this is my personal conviction and the major reason why I chose to study the course..... or maybe I was brainwashed into thinking this way... Hmmnnn...

Truth is that a lot of us have different aspirations. I recall recently, a friend of mine who was so frustrated with the area she was studying the course in that wanted to quit in less than a month. In fact, I BEGGED her to stay.

Now this got me thinking. She wants to have a label and be a reknowned designer.


Can't she simply just employ dressmakers and illustrators and tell them what she wants and get the clothes produced while she concentrates on the management and business arm of the conglomerate she wants to set up? Surely there are a lot of designers who send clothes to Asia and get perfect results every time. And I know she definitely does not see herself behind a sewing machine for long. And frankly, neither do I... see myself behind a sewing machine that is. I mean, one would just collapse if she chooses to make all the clothes herself.

BUT despite my personal belief, as Pennylicious said...

"Is school necessary for success? These self-made billionaires seem to suggest that talent, attitude, hard work and lots of luck seem to be the vital ingredients for success not college or even high school degrees. Bill Gates, Sheldon Adelson, Larry Ellison, Li Ka-Shing, Roman Abramovich, Paul Allen, Michael Dell, Amancio Ortega, Carl Ichan, Kirk Kerkorian, Donald Newhouse, Francois Pinault, Stanley Ho, Jack Taylor, Y C Wang, David Geffen, Steve Jobs, David Murdock, Henry Fok, Ralph Lauren"..... and of course... the very famous Sir obsessed with playing with words and suggestive book titles like "Losing my Virginity" and "Screw it, Let's Do It".... "Sir Richard Branson".

Food for thought right?

For a summary on these billionaires, go to http://www.pennylicious.com/2006/10/09/billionaire-dropouts/

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Reflections (2)

I've been racking my brain for the past 2 weeks thinking of what to write about in the "Reflections" series and decided to tell y'all about a research my classmate and I did last year for our Business Studies Project. Initially, when I did the research, I was so freaked out because I thought I suffered from it till some friends told me I must be silly.

OK... enough of the prologue. Can y'all guess what I'm about to talk about?


Before I begin, people... this is not plagiarism ok. I have given honour to whom honour is due in the presentation! Send me a mail if you want the references.

Simply put, depression is a feeling of severe unhappiness and dejection. There are 3 types:

• Reactive Depression which is simply an extension of the normal upset feeling caused by an unhappy event in a person’s life such as death, marriage, etc.

• Unipolar or Endogenous Depression: primarily a biological or inherited condition usually provoked by a form of disappointment.

• Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depressive Illness: Now this is the scary one. It is similar to Unipolar Depression EXCEPT the person also experiences episodes of elation or mania (severe highs), with which the depression (severe lows) alternates.

Although feelings of elation, such as bursts of energy and enthusiasm may seem pleasurable in the short-term, it often has devastating effects in the long-term.

Unipolar and Bipolar Depression are usually called Clinical Depression.
The common symptoms of depressive / manic episodes (of Bipolar Depression) are usually described with the acronym FESTIVAL:

•Feeling – sad, depressed, anxious or bored / elated, enthusiastic, excited, angry, irritable.

•Energy – fatigued, slow movements, everything is an effort / great energy, “never felt as well”, over-talkative or over-active.

•Sleep – waking up during the night, insomnia or over-sleeping / reduced need for sleep and marked difficulty in getting off to sleep.

•Thinking – slow thinking, poor concentration, forgetful or indecisive / racing thoughts, pressure in the head, indecisive, jumping from one topic to another, poor concentration.

•Interest – loss of interest in food, work, sex and life seems dull / increased interest in pleasurable activities, new adventures, sex, alcohol, street drugs, religion, art or music.

•Value – reduced sense of self worth, low self esteem or guilt / excessive and unrealistic belief in one’s ability or having grandiose plans.

•Aches – headaches, chest or other pains without a physical basis / never tiring, being unaware of the physical symptoms of illness such as asthma, having muscle tension at the back of the head or round the shoulders.

•Live – not wanting to live, suicidal thoughts or thoughts of death / thinking that one can live forever, taking reckless risks or, if angry or distressed, feeling suicidal.

Scary eh? If 5 or more of the symptoms depressive and/or manic episodes are present for more than 2 weeks, PLEASE seek professional medical attention!


- women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed and treated for major depression. I wonder why?

- depression worsens with age, i.e. the older you become, the more likely you are to get depressed.

- costs of depression is higher than that of hypertension and back problems and comparable to that of heart disease. In fact, people with depression have more sick days than people suffering from other conditions.

- it is a high risk factor for heart disease, high blood cholesterol level, high blood pressure, chronically elevated levels of stress hormones, stroke and low levels of day-to-day functioning.

We all know what can cause depression so I'll just skip that. BUT why do people not seek treatment? Simple. People are either in denial, are ashamed to admit it or are scared of the stigma employees feel may be associated with the diagnosis and the fear of the effect it will have on their jobs and concerns about confidentiality. It is important for employers and colleagues to be smart about depression by recognizing it as an illness and not a personality flaw.

What can we all do to manage depression and help sufferers?

Learn how to recognize the disease by paying attention to morale, absenteeism, dramatic mood swings and low productivity AND reach out to sufferers by having private talks and empathizing with them.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take threats seriously by being vigilant to an employee’s cry for help, e.g. comments like “I want to die” may be more serious than you think.

PEOPLE Depression is a silent killer.

Sufferes resort to vices such as cigarette, alcohol, drug and sex abuse to help cope with the disease. Others resort to suicide! Remember Kurt Cobain of Nirvana? And many other celebrities who slash their wrists?
What we can do to help fight this disease?

• Encourage sufferers to seek professional medical treatment and help them through the treatment.
• Smile at people, even strangers. Remember that a smile not only helps keep you younger, but can also help save a life.
• Offer a helping hand, even when it’s not needed. Do y'all recall:

- an internet chain letter about a 9-year old boy who was on his way home to commit suicide but changed his mind when a boy from school offered to help carry his books;
- the movie “What Women Want” about the “invisible” suicidal office girl who was finally appreciated by her boss.

• Be friendly to people. It doesn’t hurt to have a 5 minute conversation with people.
• Encourage sufferers to mix with people and invite them to socialize with you as most depressive states are compounded in periods of isolation.

Personally, I think the most important treatment of all is a hand of friendship….