Young people are amazing. They’ve always been the future but now, more than ever, they’re paving the way, taking a scary and uncertain world in their stride as they thrust themselves into the deep end and make uncharted waters their own. Kathryn of Kathryn Walker Design is one of those very people - whilst still at college studying her AS-Levels, she started taking a night class as well to support her enthusiasm for costume design. The night class turned into a full class, and she’s now got a list of upcoming projects as long as you arm at only 19. What. A. Hun.
What are you enthusiastic about?
There’s a long list that could go with this: perfect cups of tea, cake, chatting to people at bus stops and definitely musicals…but really, I love love love being creative! More specifically I love sewing, especially big fancy costumes, ball gowns, or basically anything to do with weddings. It’s probably the only thing I’d be happy to do 24/7 and I love it even more when people get to wear what I’ve made. I love looking at anything from the historical to the contemporary, womenswear to menswear to childrenswear, and have an upcoming project list that’s as long as my arm. I just love to get stuck in! Especially if it ends up being challenging. If it’s not insane, it’s not me.
Why do you keep doing what you’re doing?
I balance making my own projects around college and working. Luckily I’m studying fashion on an amazing course, and so what I do day to day is similar to my hobbywork - it’s just joyous waking up every day for me. I keep ploughing through my own work as well as everything I have on because I just have a need to learn (plus I am a total pain when I don’t have a project on the go - I get so bored!). I want to build this into a career long term, and I know that’ll only happen through tons of hard work. Plus, when you wake up and go to sleep thinking about fabrics and stitches and patterns, it’s pretty hard to not want to carry on!
What’s the impact you want to make?
I’m not sure what impact I want to make - probably I just want to make people smile and be a part of their lives. I just really want to be what I see as successful, and maybe one day inspire someone else who is interested in the same areas as me. You work for most of your life, and if you aren’t doing something you enjoy then to me, there isn’t much point.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
To just take the plunge and go for it. I remember most specifically my Grandma telling me to dow what I love whilst I have the chance, or I’ll regret iit otherwise. Whatever is facing you - a job application, work experience you aren’t sure about, a daunting event - just take the plunge and do it. You might as well try!
Who’s your Enthusiastic hero?
My mum has been my biggest supporter my entire life, my dad too. Both of them have encouraged me and supported me through everything and love what II do now - I think they’re proud of me. Also, when my Grandma tells me my Granddad would have been really proud of me, I go all mushy!
If money were no object, what would you be doing?
If money were no object, I’d definitely be renting a studio! I have taken over enough of the house with my equipment already, my poor Mum. (I’m not joking - the dining room is no longer a dining room, even the table has gone from there.) I’d love to take on commissions from people for bigger and more time consuming things - I love the fact I can make something that makes people smile!
What do you think the feeling is towards enthusiasm in young people?
I think that it is something that varies person to person, but overall it’s admired and people find it interesting, as it isn’t something that happens often for people my age. I’ve had nothing but interest and praise from other young people which is lovely and definitely helps to keep me doing what I do! It’s a difficult age to be, as some know exactly where they want to go in life and their careers, and others have absolutely no idea and both is totally fine, but for those who aren’t so sure I think they’re fascinated as to how that passion and enthusiasm develops and where and how you can find that. Really, everyone wants to experience that joy. I also hope that in time Schools will begin to really encourage students who have a passion for absolutely anything, especially those more on a creative side and will nurture their enthusiasm, as well as nurturing academic success.
What challenges do you face as someone in a younger age bracket, and how do you overcome them?
Depending on what your passion is and especially your age, it can be difficult to be taken seriously as family or even teachers might think it’s just a short term interest, but if it is something you really believe in you’ve got to throw yourself right in to be recognised. It’s common to be over looked as a young person, as adults in the same field will be more established and therefore more easily noticed but you have to just keep going and keep reminding yourself that by working hard and being 100% invested good things will come. Even if you have setbacks, you just have to believe in yourself and keep moving forward, and I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason!