Imagine If There Were No Naysayers
Model Miwa Williams in a Jennyvi Gown. Photo by Davin Lavikka
John Lennon had it right knowing that we live in a world full of dreamers and that love is all we need. Two things that go hand in hand for those who have a lot to do in life and in the fashion industry. Had it not been for my dreams and love, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I wouldn’t have taken the chances necessary to make big changes. Who would have thought that a girl born in the Philippines could end up living her dream of being a New York City fashion designer? Certainly, a few of my family members didn't. If I were to give advice to anyone, it would be that if you want to feel right with yourself, you need to do what feels right in your heart.
From the moment I had decided that a life in the fashion industry was the only one I wanted to live, I planned for it. I started mapping out my future at an early age and what I found out was that my love of fashion only led to more dreams. I’ve never been one to deter anyone from doing what they set out to do, although I had plenty of people in my own life who tried to. Some people in my situation would have resented their loved ones, but in my case, it just fueled me to work harder. Not an easy feat for a 5-year-old who wanted to be a fashion designer.
If I had to remember only one thing about my childhood, it would be that I spent it working on perfecting my own creative process. I wanted to be able to sketch out a design, cut out the fabric and have it come to life in exactly the way I imagined it. In the beginning, I was hand sewing all my designs and on a small scale. So at the time, my dolls were the only models that had the privilege of trying on my designs. As soon as I learned how to sew on the machine, my whole childhood had changed for the better.
Learning how to machine sew was another way for me to show the naysayers how committed I was. By the time I was 10, I had acquired my first set of paying clients who paid me to make nurses scrubs. My mother had a lot of friends who worked at hospitals and they would complain about how expensive the scrubs in the catalogs were. They also didn’t like any of the print fabrics they were advertising in there either. In that moment I had to put aside whatever fear I had and I was determined not to let those nurses or my mom down.
For any person who cares for or mentors a child, whatever style you choose I’ve found that we dreamers will listen if you show love first and foremost. That's what happened to me when I was unsure about first sewing for other people. But like most people with ambition, we will be open to hear out other people and decide with our hearts. I noticed the same thing happening when I had the pleasure of helping other young aspiring fashion designers after they reached out to me. They too were faced with their own career choices and not knowing where to start. To comfort them, I shared the doubt that I've experienced and how valuable it is when someone has already walked the path you want to be on.
Mentoring other designers has taught me that the goodwill felt from all sides is immeasurable. Every person I've encountered has taught me something new about myself or at the least has revived the passion I felt as a child. Working with others has shown me that what we share with one another matters, whether that’s the connection we feel or the knowledge, everyone gains something. When someone joins my network, they have access to every fashion fact I know, as well as all the things that I’m inspired by and I do have many. As I’ve grown into adulthood, I just find that each day, I wake up inspired by or grateful for something.
Whether it’s my love of anything fashion, art or travel related, it all comes down to knowing that I have a connection with people around the world. Knowing that what I do matters and the dreams I have are attainable. Helping others know that they can have their big dreams despite what other people say and to help them keep going until they’ve made them all come true.