Next month, my sister – the cartwheeler, not the finger clicker – will run the Dublin marathon.
I am immensely proud and bursting with admiration, ‘specially as I am rather partial to hitting the tarmac myself. Although, in honesty, I have never had even the tiniest inclination to run a marathon. I’m definitely more of a lone-runner – unless the rottweiler’s feeling up to it – and enjoy using the time to reflect and mull over business, formulate ideas and (believe it or not) write reminder notes to myself on route. The sheer marathon horror of being trampled by Pudsey Bear, the seven dwarfs or a man clad head to toe in deep sea diving clobber, acts as a frighteningly major deterrent.
What inspires more than anything, with my precious cartwheeler’s marathon participation, is her dedication towards raising substantial funds for Vision Aid Overseas, an international charity dedicated to transforming access to eyecare services in developing countries. Not only this, but on completion of her marathon, she will travel to Africa to volunteer her professional skills as an optometrist to refract, dispense spectacles and to aid in the diagnosis and management of ocular disease. She is a true, selfless inspiration.
It has never been more apparent than now, what a giving society each of us evolve within. From soup kitchen volunteers to charity shop staff, and full time carers to dedicated charity coffee morning cake-bakers. I feel a definite sense of regret at the lack of time I devote to such major causes, it’s so easy to blame hectic, twenty-four hour work commitments. Although, as fellow entrepreneurs will know – especially those in early, crucial stages of their careers – business is all-encompassing and often suffocating.
One devotion of time, which I am delighted to learn reaps positive benefits, is individual presentations I am invited to deliver to aspiring young men and women, sometimes involved in fashion and the arts, sometimes simply searching for a dream to aspire to. I am not now and never will be any sort of guru. I am however, incredibly passionate and driven by my vocation. I cannot in any way claim reward for the tuition and support delivered to each of my fashion students, or for the encouragement and advice offered to each mentee business I am involved with through the Starter for Six programme because in truth, I find each undertaking unbelievably inspiring, rewarding and self-satisfying. In that sense, utter selflessness is tough to achieve.
I guess giving is hugely multi-faceted, varying in scale and devotion. Sometimes even the smallest gestures makes all the difference – picking up litter during a Sunday stroll; sponsoring a wee one for their primary school spellathon; voluntarily switching your extra-leg-room aisle seat for a spot between two sturdy businessmen and their day-old shirts, allowing a young family to sit together; or choosing not to put your jammy, burnt-toast-crumb-covered knife back in the butter. Seriously though, it’s amazing to be unwittingly given to, and even better to be the bearer of the gift. There is an incredible plethora of giving I intend to pay back and sometimes, cash just won’t cut it.
I may not run alongside Lindsay in Dublin next month, but boy will I be there in spirit…. and in the form of a bespoke iona crawford sweat band – oh yeh! Who knows, they say the marathon bug bites later in life. Perhaps it will be added to the long list of giving goals I aim to score before retirement.
Back in the studio, the ferris wheel of fashion continues to spin, following last week’s foray in Notting Hill during London Fashion Week and in advance of next month’s showcase at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London, where I have been selected as one of only ten designers to exhibit before a select audience of press, buyers and industry movers and shakers – no pressure there then…
Another exciting undertaking presently unfolding at Craigend towers involves creation of a piece for the beautiful Anna Meldrum, front-woman for Scotland’s hottest up-and-coming band, Kitty the Lion. If you haven’t yet experienced these darlings, do so as fast as your nimble fingers can type their exquisite title into the wee tool bar above. You will love them, and to add to the excitement, they play King Tuts on the fourth of October, swiftly succeeded by an Hour Show appearance on the eighth. Best of luck guys!