I’ve been transcribing some interviews with top fashion designers and hairdressers, the guys who headline at London Fashion Week. The big shots. As I listened to these hugely successful creatives talk about their journey I have been struck by a few common themes in all of their stories.
Their passion started young. Really young. Growing up in a small town in southern Italy, a famous hairdresser went to work in a barber shop aged 11, for something to do. This same top stylist to the stars worked as a shepherd and fell in love with animals and nature. He learnt to build walls with his builder uncle. An uncle who was a suit maker taught him how to stitch and draw patterns. From another relative, he learnt how to mix paints for cars by hand. He learnt about colour. At 16, he said, he had “learned everything”he needed to build this incredible career. In a town where there was “nothing to do”.
Another hairdresser was cutting pony tails off My Little Ponies at three-years-old. One of the world’s biggest make up artists found some vintage make up at her grandma’s house, which she used to draw with and add water to, build shapes with, to see what happened. Another watched her French mother putting on her make up at a nice boudoir mirror with great precision. She was mesmerised.
These people took this spark and put themselves in the right place. In the right fashion colleges. The right salons. The right neighbourhoods. They put themselves where people who were leading the way hung out but the spark was there long, long before. In some cases, from a very early age. And that spark, along with a heavy dose of confidence, talent, commitment and courage, led them to the very top of the fashion industry.
These kids didn’t have anyone telling them they were a failure or that they had to pass tests to be successful. And they’re now top of their profession and internally renowned in a creative field.
I am taking part in the May 3rd Kids strike, taking a stand against SATs, sending a message to Nicky Morgan and the Government that our kids don’t benefit from rigorous testing at seven and eleven years old. Not only do they not benefit, they are being harmed by them.
What they need is the time, space and freedom to find their spark.
The current Government is not allowing them that. It’s treating them as statistics. Little lives to be measured and assessed based on how accurately they can do arithmetic or identify an adverb in a sentence.
Little lives whose confidence, courage, talents and commitment will be destroyed, whose spark could be lost forever, if we don’t take a stand. On Tuesday and for as long as it takes.
If you feel the same, there are things you can do to help the campaign:
- Sign the official petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/122183
- Visit the Let Our Kids be Kids web site: Let Our Kids be Kids
Like the Facebook page: Let our Kids be Kids
- And, if you can, join us in taking our children out of school on 3rd May to show our support for teachers and our rejection of externally imposed SAT exams.
If you can’t, please share the campaign and show your support.