Why Gracemade? Why Fashion?
I'll tackle and reflect on the latter before I go on to the first. But why fashion? This was a question even Jasmine had me answer especially because I am in no way studying or have any education background regarding fashion, but to me, I even had to ponder that question myself.
Fashion is everywhere. Fashion is political. Fashion is cultural. Fashion is personal. To say that it infiltrates so many areas and facets of our lives is an understatement because it seems that our culture even more so today loves to place its’ stamp on what fashion entails. To me, when I heard the phrase "fashion industry", I thought of the Devil wears Prada, Vogue, doing the same thing over and over again, and being just another intern. Mind you, these were all just imaginations of what I had seen in media about how the fashion industry was being portrayed. But I was definitely wary of wanting to commit but I am proud and excited to share that not only were my initial impressions completely wrong, but actually, what interning at Gracemade has taught me has exceeded these boundaries my mind was so set on in regards to the fashion industry.
Now to address the first question, why Gracemade? Well, that was easy for me. The first thing that explicitly caught my attention was that it was a faith based clothing brand that was unashamed in being bold in their declaration of faith. And also- the fact that every step, every process, and every marketing tactic was very intentional in the way it was handled.
Being an incoming college senior, I've graciously had the time to meet up with other people working in the creative industry, and although many are thankful to be where they are at, often times these discussions were comprised of a tense imbalance between being of this world while still being faithful as a believer. And often times, I would leave these conversations discouraged hearing how difficult it was for my friends to be faithful stewards even in their workplaces and for that to eventually spiral into their church life as well.
Gracemade to me meant that it was an opportunity where real life could clash with faith in a way where each of them could coexist by being in a symbiotic relationship with each other and that to me mattered the most because as a believer, I loved the idea that I was able to do real life “adulting” while knowing that what I was doing would always be to glorify God at the end of the day.
What have I learned so far?
As my time with Gracemade is ending, I've had the privilege to reflect and really look back on these past 2 months to see what I've gained from doing this internship, and if I may, I do have a few things I'd love to share.
1. Fashion can be fun!
It may have been my drama obsessed and Netflix loving side speaking and coming out, but all my life, whenever I heard the phrase fashion and intern together, I shuddered at the thought of even trying something out like that, but here I am, at age 21, going into senior year, and finishing this summer with my first ever fashion internship and if I would, I'd recommend it to everyone. I've realized that fashion isn't just what is presented in the media, but instead, there are so many little responsibilities and components that make up a brand that is not just simply focused on the clothes! There is a role for everyone and everyones' different talents and skills. And it can actually be seriously fun!
2. Ownership is key.
I think this can be a word and a thing that anyone in the work place has dealt with and has had to learn but this being my first more organized internship that I’ve taken up, I really learned that because you applied to do a part in the role that you are assigned, you should strive to be the best that you can and try to learn the most in that area in order to execute and take ownership of the work that you are doing. I’ve been helping out with the PR/Marketing side for Gracemade which included doing various tasks, but all in all, I had to learn that whatever I am doing for this company, I have a responsibility to be confident and take ownership of everything that is being produced by me through this experience.
3. Social Media is weird.
I wrestled with which adjective I wanted to use describing social media but I couldn’t think of another lovelier or prettier way to put it other than just “weird”. But to expand on this, doing work regarding PR for Gracemade meant being attune to the social media side of the brand which mainly meant Instagram for me. But at times, I think I wrestled with the question of is this a genuine and organic way of reaching an audience by liking a few photos and dropping a comment versus Instagram proving to be an effective platform to reach out to people. And I think I am a believer in both sides of the argument. There is a rather disconnected component in forming relationships through social media, but I think Gracemade really strives to always be intentional even through reaching out through this platform while acknowledging that there is a proven effect that shows a growth as well. For me personally, I think handling the social part was a great way for me to reevaluate how I view social media and make sure that it wasn’t something that was becoming a distraction between me and my relationship with God. I recently finished going through the book Recapturing the Wonder by Mike Cosper and it was about how we all live in this seemingly “disenchanted world” where we don’t see God as spiritual anymore due to the things on this earth capturing our definition of what we call beauty and beautiful and one recurring example he used was social media. He explained how social media is an example of an unhealthy discipline that we’ve all adopted that has replaced our definition of wonders in place of the wonders of our faith. And I completely resonated with that- I’m such a victim of waking up and immediately scrolling through Instagram stories and in awe of what my peers have been up to when I know that that time could easily have been used more intentionally and spent with God instead. If anything, I’ve learned to appreciate the fact that social media really is not everything, and does not need to be a top priority in my life, and that I should do my best to find a balanced and healthy relationship with social media.