BY the time you read this, I am probably in the thick of one of the busiest weeks of the year — Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week (KLFW). I am most likely steaming a dUCk scarf after having determined the full look that girlboss is going to wear. I am trying to have a positive outlook, but a part of me feels like we are also running a few minutes late.
This is my second KLFW with FashionValet and I feel even more anxious. I typically do not like crowds; masses of people scare me and I have a constant fear of being looked down upon for what I’m wearing (note to self: re-read Imandatory Read article two, T-Shirt Epiphany and re-boost self-confidence and inner belief!)
I did not know what to expect last year, so I tried to be as prepared as I could without truly understanding the massive event that KLFW is. This year, I am wiser and more ready to come through this week as unscathed as I possibly can.
It’s not as easy as simply turning up to the events. I started the planning process almost two months ago — reaching out to designers for outfits for girlboss to wear, booking her favourite make-up artists, figuring out where the FashionValet team is going to stay during the week, arranging the loans to come in on time, setting up our logistics, and the list goes on and on!
The steaming, ironing, taking the OOTDs (outfit of the day) in the right light against a plain wall, ordering food, matching the inners to the scarves, making sure the bag matches the shoes which matches the outfit, keeping girlboss hydrated and to always have breath mints, name cards, a power bank and extra slippers on hand. I am exhausted thinking about it.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME
Because I have already experienced the throngs of people parading outside Bukit Bintang walk, the back-to-back-to-back shows, early mornings and late nights, sore feet and the last minute fashion calamities — I know what is expected of me and I am pressured to perform well. The stakes are high, there will be many eyes watching and I cannot afford to not pull through.
Not pressure from my bosses or from my colleagues, but from myself.
“Pressure” is a word I know well, mostly because I lather it on myself every single day.
Pressure to meet expectations at work. Pressure to be good wife who is responsible, cleans and cooks (sometimes). Pressure to take care of my body, to look and feel good.
Pressure to be a kind friend, a writer who submits good articles on time, and a person who is relatively active on social media. Pressure to be a smiling, cheerful and loving person who sprinkles “happy” everywhere I can.
But sometimes the pressure to be “perfect” gets to me and when I don’t manage to tick off every little checkbox on my list I take it too hard and blow things out of proportion. I cry, eat a bag of potato chips, sleep it off for a few hours and after a phone call to my mum, re-evaluate and realise that my issues are not that earth shattering at all.
Obviously not everyone is going to be able to experience pressure in the way I do. We all have different jobs, expectations and ways we live our lives.
However, the one thing I believe in is to not let the pressure overwhelm me. I am guilty of this sometimes; however, I have come to realise that pressure is a gift.
It drives us to perform better, to set a standard that we’re working to reach and to not allow ourselves to commit to anything less. If we want to be the best in our fields, in our industries, in our campuses and in communities, we have to set a higher standard of living and press down on the pressure button till we get there.
Hit it with full speed and keep going.
FIGHT BACK AGAINST PRESSURE
Yes, sometimes life gets hard and you want nothing more than to crawl into bed and eat everything in the fridge while watching the latest episode of Running Man. But fighting back against pressure means getting up after one episode and working on your new game plan.
I had a whole timeline I wanted to adhere to for KLFW, but things happen and I’ve slipped up a few times. But knowing the pressure of presenting the best version of girlboss and giving our team what they need to pull off a great week keeps me going and I want to push harder.
Always push harder — that’s how you know what you’re made of. Are you the type who gives up after every bump in the road, or do you look for new alleys and back roads to get to where you need to go?
There is always a way to tick off the things on your to-do lists, however impossibly long and difficult they may be. The only thing that will stop you is if you allow the pressure to overwhelm you. Never let the pressure from others define who you are — you should be putting the most pressure on yourself because you are the only one who can claim your achievements and victories. You know you’re capable of doing great things.
We should be pushing ourselves harder than those around us. Not because we have something to prove to others — who cares what other people think?
Do the best you can for yourself for the simple satisfaction in knowing that you are the greatest version of you, not for anyone else, but purely for yourself.
So savour the pressure, find it in every nook and cranny, let the weight of your work build you up to your greatest potential. Carry that heavy load often till it becomes nothing more than a little precious stone in your pocket that reminds you of how strong and capable you are.
As assistant to fashion icon Vivy Yusof, journalism graduate Iman Azman finds herself thrown deep into the fashion world, a universe once foreign to her. Here she muses about her work, finding balance in life and shares what it’s like having a front row seat in the fashion industry. Follow her journey on www.instagram.com/iman_azman/