McNuggets to McCartney // Calling it quits in the name of fashion

"Fashion is like life. It needs fear and 
uncertainty is you are to move forward."


It only takes a minute in adland to realise that it’s no Madmen.

Mad men by the plenty, sure; a bit of a boys’ club, maybe, but the offices aren’t lined with mahogany and cigar smoke; lunches don’t (usually) come in the form of three martinis. And as a member of the high-heel wearing species around the agency's corridors, I was actually respected for working hard and what’s between my ears, not made to work harder because of what’s between my legs, thank God.  

Had that all been different – had my nine to five reflected Madmen’s fictional reality (in every way apart from that last one) – my next move wouldn’t have been any different. It was never the mythical ‘glamour’ of adland that lured me in, and nor would it be what would make me stay.

In February I exited the world of advertising.

In February I quit my job.

Six words I certainly never thought I’d say – or in this case type – because;

1.  As the epitome of an absolute perfectionist, giving up or giving in just isn’t something I know how to do – God help my poor boyfriend.

2.  They’re six words that I couldn’t yet follow with the tale of another job contract already signed, sealed and delivered.

As of February 19  I had no job, just one that I had left behind. I was no longer a ‘planner’, just a girl with a dream – or perhaps a few loose screws?

On February 19, I walked out of that ivory tower once and for all. A somewhat surreal experience since I had spent as much of my life there over the last four years as I had at my own home.

Call it a quarter-life crisis if you like, but I think all of us mid-twenty-something’s hit that point where we start to question what we’re doing with our lives. As fresh-faced uni grads we’re all lured into the workforce by the novelty, the security of that first job; the relief of ticking off that first rung on the ladder. That, and the unfamiliar luxury of having a bank balance in the black. Well at least on payday anyway.

But it's when that newfound existence becomes your ‘normal’, you begin to ask yourself whether that’s what you want your normal to look like.

Don't get me wrong, my stint in advertising was great. It started off by one little lady, atop of big heels and a big personality, taking a gamble on me barely out of my last uni lecture. And alongside her and the planning team, I helped to lead the strategy side of things for some of New Zealand’s largest advertisers. It was an invaluable opportunity. I got to work with some of the industry’s most inspiring people. I had a great run. I learnt a lot.

But perhaps the most important lesson I learnt was that I was chasing the wrong light at the end of the tunnel.

I had spent the last few years inching myself towards advertising’s glory of winning a Gold Lion at Cannes*, when really, I wanted that glimmer to be from the golden sequins hitting the runways of New York. Whether observing the magic play out from the front row or being thick in the madness behind the scenes and seams, fashion was the world I wanted to get lost in. 

Advertising Big Macs and BMWs was never quite the same as obsessing over Balmain and Burberry. McNuggets could never compare to McCartney. 

So I quit my job. And I walked out of the agency's doors in order to open another that leads me into the world of fashion.

I have officially set off on my journey down the golden-brick road. And if I’m lucky enough that it leads me past or to gold sequins in New York and/or Stella McCartney, I’ll be one happy girl.

Wish me luck and watch this space. 

j a m i e  x

*Don’t get me wrong, still very proud to say I picked up a bronze Lion this year. 

moi, modeJamie BarrettComment