I’ve found that there are a select few people you meet in your life that have such a huge impact on the person you become and I wanted to talk about a woman that helped me realise fashion was the world I wanted to be a part of.
This phenomenal woman’s name is Julia Fleminger and was one of my tutors from North Hertfordshire College. She taught me fine art for two years when I was studying for my BTEC National Diploma and encouraged me to apply and enrol for the Foundation Degree Fashion & Textiles course that she was course leader for when I was coming towards the time for applying to universities.
She was one of the quirkiest, poshest and funniest ladies I had ever met – she had such a passion for creating beautiful art, textiles and fashion that was intoxicating.
I met her when I was just sixteen years old on one of my first days of college after leaving school, we were sat in the textiles room when she announced “UP EVERYONE – WE’RE GOING OUT!” So everybody stumbled around, gathering their sketchbooks, pencils, charcoal or whatever their medium of choice was, following her out of the door into the meadows across the road from our college. We ended up sitting in a field full of cows, sketching everything around us as she encouraged everyone to express what they saw.
I knew I liked this lady after that day and that she’d be a huge influence on me personally.
In the next two years, she taught us all about screen-printing, life drawing (I’ll never forget the old naked man with a tattoo of a butterfly on his arse and a piercing through his cock, giggling away) amongst the various other weird and wonderful things, whilst we all figured out what we wanted to do with our lives.
September of 2010 soon rolled around and I was sat back in that same textiles studio where I’d been on my first day of college two years before, freshly bronzed from my first holiday with Aaron to Turkey and listening to this fabulous woman talk about what the Foundation Degree Fashion & Textiles course entailed.
The two years that followed were full of laughter, tears and creativity. We went to so many exhibitions, museums, exhibited at the NEC Clothes Show Live, travelled around Paris and made some amazing friends for life.
Julia saw something in me and really encouraged me to join that course – I couldn’t imagine where I’d be today if I hadn’t taken her advice and jumped into it head first. I’d always been creative and had forgotten that as a child I always wanted to be a fashion designer – she probed my memories (unknowingly to her) and helped me recall my dream. For that I’ll forever be grateful to her.
After thirty-nine years of teaching, I got a message on Facebook a couple of weeks back to say that Julia was leaving the college and there was a surprise leaving do being held at a pub in the town that I work in. I knew I had to pop in and catch up – it had been six years since I’d bid farewell and moved onto to top up my foundation degree into a Batchelor’s, I wanted to see Julia and all of my friends that I’d not seen in years.
When I walked in the door with Aaron, her face lit up and I loved that she remembered every single person that walked in that door. Her hair was exactly the same, she hadn’t aged and was still her bubbly, outgoing self. She remembered Aaron, asked how his mum was doing (she used to work at the college too) and was so excited that we’re getting married! Although, she couldn’t believe I wasn’t keeping my name 😂.
I wanted to write this post to praise and thank an amazing lady (who is completely against anything social media related, so I’ll be emailing her the link to this post – she never changes 😂) and let her know how much of an impact she had on my life. Yes, I might not be working directly in fashion, but I made my own opportunity through this blog and I can’t imagine where I’d be without it.
Let me know if you’ve met someone in your life that’s changed it for the better in the comments below.