Hey, I’m Lee! I’m 23 and I am currently in my second year studying BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Promotion at UCSE. I’ve worked part-time as a digital marketing assistant, an events supervisor, and a fashion retail sales assistant for over 6 years now. Day to day work, I usually look at analytics, plan events, run budget reports, trend forecast and make media plans for the company I work for. Before I studied Fashion Media & Promotion, I studied many different courses to find my drive and to see what I have a natural connection to. In 2015, I decided to start my creative journey studying Art & Design, and moved onto an Extended Diploma in Fashion Design & Textiles. This gave me loads of opportunities, such as working alongside ‘The Ragged Priest’, to being a fashion show manager showcasing my peers’ garments with all money raised going to Mind the mental health charity. Now I have been given fantastic opportunities from ASBO magazine from being a contributing street style editor and to you reading this right now!
In day-to-day life I am nowhere one of the most interesting people, I like to explore what makes other people interesting. What is their reasoning? What is their process? What is their reaction to my work? One of my biggest irks is when people refuse criticism, as a creative the only way I continue exceeding is from my peers, mentors, and clients’ opinions and recommendations. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying do not stay true to yourself at all… It is always in your best interest to be as versatile as can be.
What attracted me to this industry is the freedom of expression, the challenge, and the constant process of perfecting your craft. I have always looked at fashion and the industry as a universe of innovativeness and uniqueness that goes against the cis-heteronormative standard. It has elevated people from ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and queer/ non-binary and trans people. This is so important that they are heard and seen. The majority of these people carry the industry and for someone who felt I do not fit into that ‘cis-heteronormative’ world at a young age, I found my universe when I started to look into the creative and fashion industry. I’d also say popular culture has impacted me a lot growing up listening to Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, and Shakira (what a stereotype I know, lol). With their work and visuals, they must be planted in my brain and show in some work without a doubt. I grew up in Essex, and at first, I was a bit blind-sided to how much creativity is actually around here. I never thought I’d even have opportunities to do half the stuff I have done! I just threw myself out there, took a step into the dark, and day by day I can feel myself having more of an understanding of the industry.
My aesthetic tends to use feminine commodities but also present masculine (I use that word loosely). I wouldn’t say I have a staple aesthetic; it is more of a pick ‘n’ mix. I usually decide how I am going to look within the first 30 minutes of waking up. Unless there’s an event and I want to make myself seen, then I will plan that for days and if not weeks in advance. However, it also is important to understand your clients’ objectives and sometimes to push personal style to the side to receive the best possible outcomes.
During the lockdowns we’ve had, I have seen a silver lining for many people. For me, it gave me time to think of how I present myself. Does the way I present myself or work attract the company I want to be surrounded by? It gave me time to stay up all night looking at my work and look at feedback. A good 98% of the time, I am never content with my work or looks. That’s just because I know, I have a hunger and I want to keep pushing what I want to do and enjoy. It isn’t a bad thing, it just motivates me to do better after each brief, client, or whatever I am working on. Especially with social media and how hard it is to think of a new innovative idea, you only have to scroll through Instagram, and it has already been done. This is great as it is giving creatives a platform, but everything is becoming saturated and there aren’t sub-cultures as such. I think this is because consumerism and trends are being driven at speeds we’ve never seen before! Now that’s not saying I don’t follow trends! It’s a massive part of my discipline.
Creative Direction: Lee Fry & Kirsten Hart