What Emily Dickinson Can Teach Fashion Designers

Today is Emily Dickinson's birthday.


If you are unfamiliar with one of the greatest poets in human history then go and read her now, and often in the future. Her poems are at once inspirational and insightfully accurate about existence and humanity. Pieces like, "Much madness is divinest Sense", "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant", and "For each ecstatic instant", are brilliant concise and incredibly instructive. However the lesson I wish to illustrate is two fold and comes not from her writings but her life.

The first element that I desire all young designers to know is in her approach to her style of writing. Although she was very well educated and extensively well read in both poetry and prose. She simply created what she felt in a syntax and grammar that had never been seen before. Her structure though unbound from any convention that had ever occurred before resonates with extraordinary penetrating power when read. I believe this is because she understood us, very, very well. 

She was never published under her own name during her lifetime and barely attempted to be published. After she died hundreds of her works were discovered in her home. Even then most of her works were edited before being published so that they, "made more sense". It was only when they were released in their original manner in 1955 that she was recognized as an extraordinary talent of groundbreaking significance. That was 69 years after she died. 

What are the lessons?

Be exactly like Emily Dickinson and be nothing like Emily Dickinson. 

Be like Emily; don't let anything that's going on in the fashion industry influence your designs an iota. Obey your instincts, trust your talent, and use the best techniques you know to make YOUR designs and collections. Own them with frightening ferocity. This does not mean don't listen to other's opinions, this means be skeptical and cautious of them. 

Don't be like Emily; risk everything to put yourself out there. Pound the pavement, knock on doors, identify the people you want to know about you and your creations and make them see you. I don't request you become an ass, I do require you become an advocate.

Happy Birthday Emily we love you, and thank you.



Written by Seth Friedermann