Out of fashion!

By HH 
In March last year, I decided to leave my job as a Fashion Stylist and set up my own company  Heavenly Hounds, to go from what I jokingly refer to as dressing bitches, to training bitches. 
I haven’t looked back since. It may seem strange but working with dogs has taught me more about human relationships than years in Fashion.  And trust me, Stylists and Priests have much in common. Whether it is hair or clothing, people just spew their guts when in your hands. I once had a famous TV presenter walk in off the street and volunteer that she was having an affair with an infamous Rock star and considering leaving her Film Director husband. I listened patiently, then gave her my advice which amounted to: DON’T! Having been raised around and dated my fair share of musicians, I suggested he might not be able to offer her the security or companionship of her husband. There would be tours, groupies, and while yes, musicians are wild and fun, my personal experience is; they are more a side dish than a main! I proposed she continue to snack at her nibbles until satiated which would doubtless be soon, without upsetting the apple cart permanently. She threw her arms around me, asked for my mobile number for future crises, proclaiming that I had described her circumstance to a tee and finally resolved her dilemma.  Like her, countless others knelt down at my retail confessional for my guidance under the ruse of sartorial advice.  
After 10 years of this, I decided enough was enough! I had qualified as an Alternative Therapist whilst in Fashion, as I needed some serious soul-food to counter the constant energy I expended and considered I might as well be paid for the therapy. I could never fully appreciate the point of designing something that four weeks later would be considered ‘Last Season’? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking Fashion as a creative endeavour. Yes, it is an Art. But it is also an interpretation of individuality for the sartorially challenged without the confidence to express their own, who then don off-the-peg iconography, in homage to the Designer. Fabulous darling!  And Stylists? Well, we are there to reinterpret and add our own creative twist, while trying to make your arse look smaller or tits look bigger. I became quite the expert at that, while working for women who, had they not been Fashion Designers, would most definitely have been committed!
I dived into my job with a gusto and verve to make Anne Hathaway look negligent. There was no job I would not do, the worst being a Makeover on the Trisha Show.  At the time I was Styling a high profile fashion icon, as well as the temporary Producer of the show. When her Stylist never turned up she begged me to step in at the eleventh hour. Her Assistant asked if she could use the name of the actress I was dressing, to which I replied: Absolutely not! Instead, I was billed as the Stylist to the Stars. Furthermore, I had been assured that I would not appear on television and of course, I was interviewed Live, by Trisha, before styling each and every guest! I was given five minutes to dress a dysfunctional mother and son who were hell-bent on continuing their on-stage shenanigans in my dressing room. I had intended on being generously remunerated for five minutes anonymous work and bolting out the door. I calmly but firmly told the arguing mother and son to shut up, get dressed and get back on stage, while offering some Psychotherapy for Dummies like: Not many people have the opportunity to see their mistakes on television.  While in my head thinking: mistakes aired for the enjoyment of millions, you mentalists! That job was potential career suicide. But did I care? No! Because I always knew that for me, Fashion was meaningless and dispensable. 
I used to play with wearing as much synthetic as I could muster for an ‘Ethical’ Designer I once worked for, who prided herself in her knowledge and love of natural textiles, simply to piss her off! She was so up her own... Always after something for nothing, while pleading poverty and banging on about the ‘poor people’ in India she maintained, in between visits with her family to the Opera, and exploiting her staff in England. Never have I had to endure as much BS as that job required. It felt like selling your soul to the devil, and for what, to line her pockets while massaging her already super-sized ego? 
Illustration by nick keating - www.nickkeating.com 
Illustration by Nick Keating - www.nickkeating.com 
I did meet good people along the way and had lots of wonderful experiences. I made some true friends in my clients and those who worked alongside me. I developed a love for Vintage clothing and to this day still enjoy finding a good piece. I also learned to bitch like a queen, fake a look like a plagiarist but most importantly, I learned that you become what you do.  If your work involves bitching day in day out, you will become one. If your creativity is solely based on surface, invariably you will become a self-obsessed control freak, who exploits their employees and hides the ephemerality of their craft behind arrogance and ego. 
If only we as humans fully understood the way energy passes from one to the other, affecting our relationships, in the way dogs do. A dog will naturally avoid an aggressive dog if their nature is non aggressive unless it is thrown into confrontation by being cornered. When an owner comes to collect a dog from day care, I know they are arriving long before they turn into my street. Their dog will become excited and start running around a good ten minutes before the sound of the door bell, while the others will remain quite calm and only react when it rings. I don’t believe we have less abilities than dogs, rather that we are afraid to trust our instincts because then we will be forced to make changes in our lives that we are not prepared to make, like finally putting an end to that negative relationship or stop using that polluting substance. We all fail to realise however, that Nature has always been our mirror, and is there to instruct us... Sooner or later we all have to learn to start reading the signs.
These days, I am more Fashoff than Fashion. I still bump into the people I used to work for on the Portobello Road in my current, less chic attire of Parka and Hunter Wellies and am greeted with sardonic The Devil Wears Prada-esque smiles.  Am I bothered? No! For while they scurry away in their Vintage Brogues or designer Stilettos to their minimalist, sterile stores, my workplace is Nature and my clients are friends, the wonderful owners of four-legged furry beings who don’t dump all their shit on you, or at least if they do you can pick it up in a designer doggy bag, tie it in a chic little knot and consign it to a bin, where it belongs!
Article sent by HH (many thanks!) - send us your experience too! 

Illustration by nick keating www.nickkeating.com 

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