Maxine Tanner | October ,02 2015
As fashion students, we work best with our hands. So you can imagine the constant struggle we face whenever we have to do an ounce of theory work. As I write this I am procrastinating writing two reports due next week. It is natural for our hands to control our work, from feeding a silk organza through the machine, draping bias cut cloth over a form, hand sewing the finest threads through the finest weaves to hand pressing layers upon layers of accordion pleats into netting. Yet of course each semester includes theoretical assessments that are worth a large percentage of the overall mark. Yes I can whip up a five piece collection in a matter of two weeks to the best of my ability, but ask me to sit down at a desk for hours on end to write an investigative report on the working conditions of the Cambodian garment industry and I won’t rise to that challenge.
At a certain point in any type of study it becomes customary for students to pull all nighters before a hand in, but for fashion students it becomes a ritual. There are two types of all nighters. Those where you plan to stay up all night, have an assortment of ciders, Redbull and V at the ready and continually count down the hours until you have to shower and head back into uni (aka your home away from home) where you were less than 9 hours ago. Then there are those where you have a mountain of work to do that you unintentionally stay up all night completing it. In your glassy eyed haze you look up at the clock and all of a sudden its 4AM. In your naivety and lack of time management you decide to treat yourself to a quick nap so you can actually function the next morning. Having nightmares of all the work you still have to finish, you wake up two hours later, so disoriented that you don’t know where you are or what year it is.
The fall out of pulling all nighters only add more stress. In your futile efforts of getting dressed in the morning, you’ll end up layering clean clothes over your pyjamas and not in an attempt to be fashion forward. When you actually arrive at uni your face clearly tells the story of the sleepless past 24 hours and everyone is quick to comment. Your lecturers warn you about operating machinery without sleep but you keep sewing anyway because those pants aren’t going to finish themselves, and you keep the fact that you cut yourself with scissors twice last night, a secret. It gets harder and harder to stay awake for a full day at uni after pulling an all nighter, at which point, napping becomes your saviour. Since you’re not as high tech as other universities that house on campus sleeping pods for students you’ll resort to napping wherever you can and yes that includes during lectures, under tables and curling up into a ball on the floor, rotating shifts with your classmates because you’ve still got that mountain of work to finish.
[ Credits: Words by Maxine Tanner, Illustration by me. ]
We would all love to pull a Linda Envagelista and not get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day, but when you don’t actually go to bed and you don’t get paid to study, you actually pay to go to uni, it is sadly not really an option.