ELLE (Canada) - - Contents -

CA­REER SUC­CESS RARELY hap­pens in a straight line, yet we can get stuck on the idea that it should be a one-way tra­jec­tory. That mind­set­—a fear of tak­ing risks or try­ing new things, for ex­am­ple—can im­pact many ar­eas of your working life, not least your hap­pi­ness and job sat­is­fac­tion.

The stars of the fash­ion in­dus­try give the im­pres­sion of ef­fort­less as­cen­dancy, but look be­hind the scenes and you’ll find ex­am­ples of how fun­da­men­tal a mo­ment of fail­ure can be be­fore one of tri­umph. Con­sider this: Marc Ja­cobs’ spring/sum­mer 1993 col­lec­tion for Perry Ellis was so poorly re­ceived that he was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously fired. Never mind that his di­rec­tional show re­flected a sub­cul­ture that was about to be­come mass cul­ture—crit­ics were ut­terly de­spon­dent over the mix of Doc Martens, lum­ber­jack shirts and dark flo­ral dresses, which they la­belled as anti-lux­ury and off-brand for the clas­sic Amer­i­can sportswear la­bel. Google the col­lec­tion to­day and you’ll see that it’s still im­por­tant and rel­e­vant (es­pe­cially against the ’90s resur­gence cur­rently hap­pen­ing in fash­ion).

This fail­ure was far from be­ing Ja­cobs’ un­do­ing; in­stead, it be­came a defin­ing mo­ment for the de­signer, who went on to be­come cre­ative di­rec­tor for Louis Vuit­ton for 16 years as well as run his own epony­mous lines. He later ad­mit­ted that he strug­gled to cre­ate work that “meant some­thing to [him]” dur­ing his time at Perry Ellis, a valu­able postscript re­al­iza­tion. Think­ing dif­fer­ently about your ca­reer path and how to man­age it is our fo­cus in this month’s ELLE Guide: How to Build a Suc­cess­ful (and Happy) Ca­reer (page 70). As you read it, keep in mind the touchy-feely but true les­son to be learned from Ja­cobs’ ex­pe­ri­ence: Some­times you’ve just got to trust your own vi­sion even if the world isn’t ready for it.

Vanessa Craft Editor-in-Chief Fol­low me on In­sta­gram and Twit­ter @vanes­sacraft. What do you want to see in the mag­a­zine? Tell us at edi­[email protected] or #Tel­lELLECanada.

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