In middle school, my dream was to become a fashion designer. When my mom took me to the mall almost every week because of the massive sales, I became fascinated by the different clothing styles each store had. I continuously stuffed my wardrobe with a diverse amount of tops, jeans, and sweaters. I enjoyed dressing up and designing outfits and was often inspired by other fashion designers’ masterpieces. I longed to become one too.
Walking into school showing off my outfits, I received compliments, and I got more confident in wanting to dress up more. I got compliments like, “Wow, that’s a really cute outfit!” from multiple friends, so that encouraged me to do more than just wearing them.
I began to browse through Pinterest looking for inspiration on outfits and started with the basics: drawing, designing, and sewing tote bags and tops. I thought that I would be able to start right away and master it; in fact, sewing and designing are more challenging than they appear to be. Creating small items for me was initially difficult, because I had a lot to research as a beginner in sewing. I got pricked by the needle countless times. It took a lot of dedicated practice for me to be able to handle the needle well. During this time, I became more patient in sewing to prevent myself from getting hurt.
My very first, hand-sewn tote bag was made of an old black and white checkered pillow case. I made a cropped cardigan out of a gray sweatshirt, which I thought both turned out really well. I’d also fixed my wide-legged jeans at the bottom by sewing buttons on to fit the width of my legs perfectly. Everything I made was self-taught, so I was really proud of myself to have produced something I’ve always looked forward to. This was the moment I realized I’d wanted to become a fashion designer in the future.
Fashion made me happy, because I felt like I excelled in it, so I spoke to my parents about allowing me to attend a fashion school. Living in a strict Asian household, I was afraid my parents would not accept such an underrated career, so I thought they would be disapproving. To my surprise, they were accepting of my aspirations and unconditionally supported me by showing off my designs to friends and family. My grandma also supported me because she used to be a fashion designer, and she began teaching me how to sew. This brought my relationship with my family much closer as we would spend nights together looking over designs that I created. My family is very special to me, so I felt supported as they encouraged me and bought me the supplies I needed to continue pursuing my dream.
Despite my parents’ support, my extended family disapproved. They said I wouldn’t be able to earn much money from being a fashion designer, and that I was too large to model clothes. At that point, it made me rethink if I should continue to pursue my aspiration, and I was so devastated; I wanted to give up.
I was extremely dejected by their disapproval as they meant a lot to me. My mental state became unstable, and I remember questioning why they wouldn’t just accept my decision. I tried my best to sway my extended family with reasons why it was a fine career to pursue. Despite my ongoing pestering to persuade them to accept, they would not approve.
Although I still couldn’t let go of those lingering thoughts of disapproval from relatives and became reluctant to speak about it in class, I want to show them that I will be able to succeed and prove all their reasonings wrong.