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There is No Time Limit on Success

by Veryan Zimber

From a really early age we are expecting to know what we want to do with our lives. It has been the society standard since any of us can remember. 

The reality is that most people don’t know what career path they want to take at 30, never mind 13, and many of us find our calling later on in life - and still become wildly successful.

Now, more than ever, we are challenging age-old ideals. It’s important that we are teaching kids that it’s ok to not have a plan or know exactly what their future holds. The likelihood is they’ll find it out along the way. The amount of people who have either changed careers later on or found their niche after 30/40 is refreshing and it’s not talked about as much.

As Fashion Week season came to an end last month, it made me take a look at some of the big names within the fashion world who started their fashion journey later in life but still became the most successful names within the fashion world.

Vera Wang was 40 when she designed her first dress, working as a journalist and a figure skater before she took the courageous route to eventually becoming one of the most successful Bridal wear designers. 

She worked for Vogue as an editor straight out of school, this made her the youngest editor at the magazine. Working there for 17 years she then made the move to Ralph Lauren, before leaving and her life changed forever, becoming one of the most compelling and inspiring designers of modern times.

Christian Dior went from WWII officer to Parisian fashion designer. Holding several jobs before that, including magazine illustrator and design assistant. 

Returning to Paris after the war, it wasn’t until 6 years later that he founded his fashion house at the age of 41. His rise in popularity became apparent because his designs defied the post-war fabric restrictions by creating extravagant creations and thrust luxurious femininity back into the spotlight.

Victoria Beckham is known as one fifth of the 90s pop icons, Spice Girls, and while that side of her career was beyond successful, it’s hard to know whether it made her happy. 

She has always talked about being the shy and the quiet one while the personality of the band was loud and boisterous. Although this probably brought her out her shell, I think the main opportunity that being a part of the biggest girl band allowed her was experiencing fashion in its entirety and, perhaps, this is where her love for it came from. 

Victoria initially entered the fashion world by walking the catwalk for Maria Grachvogel, which was her modelling debut at London Fashion Week in 2000. 

From there, she had different opportunities within the industry which were ultimately stepping stones for her to gain experience before eventually founding her own fashion brand. 

Launching in September 2008, by 2011 it had become a permanent feature at New York Fashion Week. She has since went on to win Designer Brand of the year at the British Fashion Awards - just the start of her achievements.

It’s not widely known that Dame Vivienne Westwood was a teacher before she was a fashion designer. 

At the age of 30 she opened a boutique ‘Let It Rock’ with her partner Malcolm McLaren who was also a designer and, later, the manager of the punk band Sex Pistols. The band wore Westwood and McLarens designs and were influential in bringing the punk fashion era into the entertainment spotlight. 

She was always confident and outrageous in anything she created or supported and she didn’t care what anyone thought. Her designs were both beautiful and extravagant, constructing stunning silhouettes with an edge of eccentricity. Dame Westwood went on to open four stores in London and over time opened stores throughout the United Kingdom before becoming a globally renowned brand.

These are obviously just a few people, so many within fashion and the entertainment industry have explored different avenues before they found their purpose at a later age…Tory Birch – 37, Giorgio Armani – 41, Oscar de la Renta – 33, Stan Lee -39, Martha Stewart – 41, Laverne Cox – 41, Samuel L Jackson – 43, Betty White 51, Steve Carell – 42, the list could quite literally go on and on.

The point is; it’s important to acknowledge that there has always been a silent stigma surrounding the idea of finding your dream job or passion later on in life. 

For whatever reason, achievements aren’t celebrated or met with the same enthusiasm as if you did it in your 20s. 

Often people think it’s “too late” to start afresh. We hear this phrase a lot in life; “too late to go to university,” “too late for me to train,” “too late to change career” - but why? 

Why have we all become obsessed with putting a timeline on everything? We already have limited time, why restrict it more? The truth of the matter is that if you really want something and you’re willing to work at it, it’s never too late and it never will be.

Edited by Emily Duff

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