Career

From Fraud to Success: How I Became a Fashion Designer

June 24, 2020

It was a year-long whirlwind of being called into something I never dreamed I would do.

Grace Kim Portland Fashion Designer Story

I shared my fashion design story for the first time in 13 years. I shared it on instagram but wanted to share it here too. But this is where it started, in La La land.

It was a year-long whirlwind of being called into something I never dreamed I would do. I fought against it for a year, because who was I? I didn’t fit the mold. And when I finally accepted my clear calling and went to design school for it, It was even more obvious that I did not fit that mold. And so I continued to doubt my path.

Unlike my classmates who were fashionistas, voted best dressed in high school, made clothes since they could walk, or “always knew they wanted to be a fashion designer,” I was none of the above. Where one day everyone in class would be abuzz about the Oscars, there I stood with no clue it even happened. “Are the Oscars and Academy awards the same thing?” I didn’t know and more honestly (and what I thought made it worse), I didn’t even care.

Why was I in fashion design, again? I felt like a fraud.

Despite all those doubts from looking around at everyone else, I quickly went on to having a successful design career. I got a job while in school and I want to say the rest was history. But no, it was a combination of a lotta God and a lotta hard work.

Opportunities arose and I went for them. I worked so hard to move up at work that I couldn’t finish my ONE LAST CLASS required to graduate. I retook it 3 times but was working 60+ hours/week until finally, by the time my classmates had graduated, I had not only moved up from an assistant but had already designed a Macy’s best seller.

I’m sharing this story because I want you to know that it doesn’t matter what other people are doing or what their journey looks/looked like. I want to encourage and remind you that you are uniquely you and were created with a purpose, to bring something only YOU can bring to this world. And how you get there is going to look vastly different from everyone else.

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I'm Grace Kim,

Spontaneous adventurer who loves to surprise & delight strangers & friends, make things with my hands, and create opportunities.

I'm a girl who dropped out of college, was told I wouldn't succeed, then went on to create my 6 figure dream career before the age of 30.

Now my mission is to help other designers and creatives build a flourishing career so they too can live a life they love - one abundant in freedom, joy, purpose, and creativity.

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