If someone had told me that I am about to write what I have in mind some time ago I would have laughed to their face but this is heartfelt.
First I have to say that this could have been a hate letter…
Last month I met one of your consultants working on the Hennessy Fashion Week, during a photo shoot. She was renting her penthouse as a venue for the advert’s shooting. Before meeting her I had already been working for several months on my first collection that I am about to present during this event. She talked about the event, was curious to see my sketches and ended up by saying “All this is thanks to Julien, you should really say thank you to Julien” She said this 3 times and in my mind I was like “Bullshit, again a member of the Hennessy’s close circle!” but I just smiled to be politically correct and moved on with my life.
For years, I have not been a fan of the Hennessy Park Hotel, I felt left out from this platform and resentful because of a first and bad experience I had there during a makeup show. I wanted to be valued and respected as the ones who were supported by the Hennessy to create art. This is why it could have been a hate letter, but is not a hate letter …
Let me share a piece of my life with you. When I was 18, I finished high school and wanted to join the university to study fashion and design. I wanted to be a fashion designer that was my dream job. Right after getting my HSC results I started working in a sort of call center to save some money to pay for my local studies. Between my inability to handle my money and my desire to help my family financially, I failed to save enough money to pay for my tertiary studies. I felt like a big failure. At the same time I started to casually do makeup not knowing that it would lead me to a very successful career. And here I am nearly eight years later using the money I make with makeup to create clothes. I am not a certified makeup artist. I learned by watching videos online, by trying on myself and my mum. Similarly, I did not study fashion design, everything that I draw and create comes from within, I cannot sew and do not aspire to learn because I love designing and not much the process of cutting and sewing. I have a vision and that vision happened to bloom while the Hennessy Fashion Week was being organized.
One week ago a fitting session was organized by your team with the models walking for the shows. THAT WAS SOMETHING! I was very anxious, anxious about being in the same room as other confirmed and trained designers. Anxious about being looked down. Anxious about being treated not as well as others. Nothing of that happened. I felt empowered and still do! I felt supported and I still do! I felt valued and I still do. I am actually crying while writing this. I have not often felt this way at work and it feels amazing. These are tears of joy! I chatted a bit with other designers many were moved by this opportunity. Organizing a qualitative fashion show requires a lot of financial investment that many of us cannot afford. We are artists, we are creative ones and taking me as a reference point, finding sponsors, making deals, organizing an event is not something I am good at. Being in those rooms and doing the fittings made me and many others realize that what seemed impossible was going to happen. We would be able to focus on creating while other professionals would focus on organizing the event. Having all the organizational stress taken off our back made the working environment very healthy. There was no competition between designers, no comparison some even helped me and being in such a healthy environment made the work feel like fun.
We met a few days ago . We chatted a few minutes in the lobby with your sister-in-law… you did not look as confident and unstoppable as you usually look when you work. You looked different; I will use the word different because my judgmental mindset thinks that using emotions to describe you publicly, is not something you will like. You mentioned how challenging the organization of Hennessy Fashion Week is. For the first time I heard and felt the human being under the suit. I said some, what I thought were encouraging words but all I could do was being compassionate. Because not only am I grateful for all the hard work, the genius, now that I see the organization behind this event, I understand the man you are.
To be honest I cannot feel all you feel but I can send you positive vibes because that is what I feel for you at the moment. I just lit a little candle to send you some positivity because you need it and you deserve it. The Hennessy Fashion Week brought us artists together, made us feel considered, even before it started. The enthusiasm is in a lot of mouths. There might be some criticisms but having been a witness of all the love surrounding us artists, I wish you the strength and faith required to live this week out of love and that the faith you have in us artists empower you as a man, a husband and a father.
Thank you for shining some light and humanity back into this industry. You’re a cool person (that’s again how my judgmental ass thinks that straight men say to people who are really nice). Oh and yes the consultant was right, I should really say thank you.
Thank you Julien.