HOW I BECAME A LEMON...

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I wanted to write this post about my studies because many of you sent me emails asking me what choices did I make and why. It is a bit crazy because thanks to you, I look back and wonder why I made those choices... In reality, I never did it before because I act more than I think. I do not rush into something blindly either, but I trust my feelings… I tell you.

Firstly, I am lucky because my parents always supported me, even if they saw me as an alien something, they knew that I would never be happy studying literature or economy… Because of the glitter dinosaurs, among others… For this reason, I was lucky because I never heard things like “You need to have a High School diploma in Sciences first”.

After an appointment with the guidance counsellor, I discovered very early the possibility to do an “STI” (Sciences and Technology of the Industry) Applied Arts high school diploma and I knew that it was made for me. I was in a country school and I worked hard to obtain great marks to enter a public high school that had this specialization. Yes you can also find this program in private high schools but when your father in teaching sports in a public institution, you cannot talk about them… Then, it was also very challenging to be accepted in public schools all the time. In third year (quatrième), my goal was to enter the François Magendie high school in Bordeaux in order to do the STI Applied Arts program. I made it, and I can tell you that it was not easy, more than 40 hours of class per week, a completely feminine world, lots of talented people, and of course, high school, the city and the hormones…

 

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Then, I had to think about what to do after this high school diploma, and I remember an interview I had with my main teacher Mr Alain Garcia, that I loved, and my parents to talk about the possibilities I had for the future. I remember he told me that it would be tough, that I will have to persist, never give up and that if I were lucky, I would meet the right people. He was honest with me, and my parents were aware that their daughter’s future was in the hands of the destiny. And I was scared not to overcome my timidity to meet the right people.

I became more confident and I finally assumed the fact that I wanted to be a designer and enter Duperré. The Duperré ENSAA is one of the 4 Parisian public schools, with Estienne, Olivier de Serres and Boulle. It now always makes me think about the Hogwarts houses. However, when you are studying for your last year of high school, you have to create a file with all your academic documents and send it to the schools in which you can follow the different programs you want but always think about a plan B. For this reason, I had interviews in Roubaix, Cholet and Paris, for 2-year degrees (BTS) in fashion design, crafts and textile (DMA) and I also tried the Strasbourg decorative arts (where I failed…).

 

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1st year project at Duperré, about the white shirt, pictures by Mike Palace.

You should have seen me… during my interviews, with a little back shirtdress from H&M, red ankle socks and black plastic Salomes from Melissa… I also customized a red cardboard suitcase (same as my socks) with all my projects inside. I put red cherries wallpaper with a black background into the suitcase. I added some tricks to hang my notebooks… And I had a huge frame under my arm because it did not fit in the case, a REP on the roads of France, with my 12-25-discount card between the teeth. When I think about myself when I was 17, I can see myself as a tiny but brave person! Anyway, after the interviews, we do not have the answer directly; it takes weeks to know it and in the meantime, you have to pass your final exams… I was not an excellent student in high school, I kind of chose the classes I wanted to attend, and I preferred art classes to general ones. However, I succeeded and had my diploma with distinction even if I had a D mathematics… Nothing is impossible and when I was waiting for my diploma’s results, I also knew about the schools.

 

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1st year professional project “Grey matter” at Duperré. Pictures by Mike Palace.

At that time, my parents moved and the mailbox has been transferred so it took so long for the letters to arrive. One day in a morning, after having waited for the postman, I finally open the letter from Duperré and I cannot read it because I am so chocked and I cry so much; I am accepted if I have my high school diploma. I am sitting in the street, on the door threshold under the sun, I have no more credit on my phone (2006…) and I cannot tell anybody. Craziness, party at home, I can already see myself as a Parisian girl, my Erasmus.

 

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3-year degree professional project “Anachronistic Heritage”, pictures by Garance Li and illustrations by Camille Grosperrin.

I enter Duperré and it is not that easy to arrive in Paris when you are still a little bird barely under age, I knew no one and then you have to realize that the school is here to teach you the rules of this sector, and not to find your own style. You have to come with your own personality in order to evolve. The school gives you the keys and tools to claim your own style but you are not going to become the new Alexander McQueen if you are not born Alexander McQueen. Thus, you have to pick the information you need in order to realize your project. It is very important and I clearly see this now when I interview some candidates from Duperré, that even if the education system is the same, the result is completely different, and I do not think that there is a “Duperré” touch. The school is not here to help you become someone you are not; it guides you to assert your own choices. And I think it is great but very hard at the same time; do not wait too much from the school because only you can create your educational process. Anyway, I obtained my 2-year degree in fashion design in 2008 and then I decided to do another additional study year (a professional one) also at Duperré, 12 months of training between Paris and the Marne la Vallée university, internships and free time to create my own fashion line that had to be presented at the end of the school year with a dissertation. I knew it was my last year and I did not want to have regrets. I worked so hard on my children fashion line and then in 2009, I got my diploma and came out first (top student). Just to say that you have many possibilities in life, and that in 2009 I never imagined that I would be here today, telling you my career story, but the only thing I remember is that you have work hard to reach your ambitions, listen to yourself and that what you already have is never enough… you have to aim higher!

 

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3-year degree professional project “Anachronistic Heritage”, pictures by Nicolas Hidiro, more here.

Translated by Coralie Clair

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