Posted on February 07 2023
Before the trainers have even step foot into the studio of Fashion Makerspace, some of them were working in patisseries or were actually students just like you! We turn the spotlight to those who are keeping the passion alive - the trainers! Sit back, relax and take a peek into their lives and what usually goes on in Fashion Makerspace outside of workshops and classes.
What were you doing before joining Fashion Makerspace?
Shareen: I was a fashion designer as well as a sportswear and textile designer.
Hailey: I was a Fashion Designer. I worked with local designers and sportswear companies.
Melin: I was a homemaker.
Faathimah: I was a student here. What brought me here was my Diploma in Fashion. I was struggling with the curriculum and needed some tuition. So I took up some classes here and got addicted!
Yu Kim: I was working in the theatre industry.
Regine: I studied Apparel Design & Merchandising at Temasek Poly. However, I decided [then] to take a different path upon graduation. I worked in a pastry shop baking and decorating cakes.
What made you pursue this career?
Melin: My daughter wanted to continue her studies, and my husband needed help medically, so I decided to work to help out.
Faathimah: Everyone was telling me that I looked so much happier doing Fashion Design. When I was asked whether I wanted to be a trainer here, I doubted myself - my friend doubted me as well. So they [FMS] gave me a chance to try, so I tried it. And I think I love it!
Yu Kim: It's the interest in fashion and the interest in craftwork and creating.
Regine: I love crafting and creating things! Even when I was working at the pastry shop, I would still sew in my free time. I've always wanted to share my knowledge with others and [that's when] I came across this job.
Take us through a day at work!
Shareen: A day at work is 50% teaching, and the other half is spent on marketing and administrative enquiries.
Hailey: Typically, I teach 90% of the time. The remaining 10% of the time I'll be preparing and enhancing students' notes to enhance the whole learning experiences for my students.
Melin: I would prepare and set up everything before the student comes. So when the student is here, there's no last minute work!
Faathimah: I always start my day with cleaning up the studio first, because I will make sure everything is in order. Be it one hour or five hours away, I will choose to prepare for the class first, then do the administrative work - like enhancing the textbooks or prepping for next week's class.
Yu Kim: In the day, I'll start by checking my schedule, what will my classes be? And I'll make sure that all the supplies for the students are ready. During the class, I'll guide the students. It could be explaining to them about how to sew or demonstrating. We will do garment fitting to make sure that the whole garment fits them.
Regine: My day is usually filled with back-to-back classes. I'll come to work, prep for my class, teach, have lunch, and do it all over again! During my free time, I'll be doing administrative stuff like preparing paper patterns for students or purchasing items for the school [FMS].
What's the most fulfilling part about your job?
Shareen: It's when your learners come back to you and tell you that whatever you've taught them is being put into good use or helped them in whatever way. And you start to realise that you made some sort of impact in some way.
Hailey: It's when my students are really happy with the end result of the project. Their success somehow will make you feel good!
Melin: I enjoy sewing, it's one of my passions and I love to impart my knowledge to the students, and I'm happy with it!
Faathimah: It's definitely seeing my students grow. I've had students who learnt from scratch. Since it's my first time as a teacher, my students are also growing together with me. It's their first time learning how to sew and draft and my first time teaching how to sew and draft. Some of them even eventually have [their own] little business.
Yu Kim: Satisfaction comes when the student enjoys the sewing process and when they bring back their completed projects.
Regine: In this job, when students learn something, it does not have to be fashion related but they learn something they can apply into their lives. Also, working with my colleagues! They are all amazing ladies and I truly am in awe of how smart and capable all of them are! Everyone is so helpful and thoughtful.
What's the most challenging thing about your job?
Shareen: I think the challenges that I often face at work [are] really unlike in any other job. I get to meet lots of people from different walks of life, different stages of life - and you have to be a better person and a better and more effective teacher for all these different personalities. It makes me change myself internally and it's a long process. But I find myself enjoying the journey of becoming a better teacher.
Hailey: Ironically, it's not the teaching, although it's my main task. I guess that's where my passion really drives my energy for this job. The toughest is more on the back-end job. The hardest part is to cope with that part of my job together with my teaching job. To make sure the scheduling is perfect for my assignees and to constantly research and develop the notes to make it better each time.
Melin: The most challenging thing is that I have to learn the computer!
Faathimah: It's juggling the ad-hoc tasks and classes. Most of the time we are in classes, but I'll only have about an hour left to work on administrative and ad-hoc stuff. To cope with it of course, I get help - and something I'm still working on is time management.
Yu Kim: Firstly, it's having to explain in layman terms the process of sewing to the students who have no concept of sewing prior - I'd have to make sure it's in the simplest form that they could understand. Secondly it's with online classes. It's more challenging to demonstrate sewing techniques online!
Regine: It would be learning how to communicate with the students. That is still something I'm trying to improve. How I overcome it is to keep trying and improving every chance I get.
One phrase that inspires you everyday or something you'd like to share with everyone?
Shareen: It really doesn't matter what passion or skill you'd want to pursue, the most important thing is to take that first step. Don't worry about failing because that will come inevitably. Keep picking yourself up and reminding yourself that the end goal is to achieve success and be the best in whatever you choose to do.
Hailey: I think when it comes to sewing, I do have something I'd often say to my students. I always encourage my students not to be afraid of making mistakes. Because in my opinion, this skill that they're trying to pick up is tactile. You must be open to try and make mistakes. I really think that's the best way to pick up sewing skills. My greatest tip is to never be afraid of making mistakes - especially if you're at a budding stage of learning sewing!
Melin: As long as I'm able, I'm healthy, I'll be learning [too] while teaching the students!
Yu Kim: I believe in pursuing what you enjoy doing and then you'll be happy in what you're doing in life!
Regine: The phrase that I like the most would be to be the change you want to see in the world, by Gandhi. It just tells you not to wait for others to do something. I've [also] met a lot of students from all walks of life and they've shared with me more about their lives. It makes you realise that everyone's going through different things in life and to not take it too seriously.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg! If you'd like to meet these inspiring individuals, head on down to register for our classes and get a chance to sit in in their workshops and courses. We'll see you in the next issue!