As we all know, that fateful night of 23rd March 2020 changed many of our lives, with Boris Johnson addressing the nation and telling us all to “STAY HOME. PROTECT THE NHS. SAVE LIVES”. My generation and the generation before us had never experienced something like this, and to many individuals, something of that magnitude really hit home and struck the fear within them.
Then, the future really was unknown, but, fast-forward to the present day, some 22 months later, and there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of not only the NHS, but researchers and doctors worldwide. However, jumping back once again through those tumultuous 22 months, we can attempt to draw some positives out of what I like to refer to as “The Great Reset”.
So, why “The Great Reset”? Personally, I believe that through the pandemic occurring and life almost grinding to a halt, as shops, offices, and many of the things we take for granted were no longer possible to experience, this unusual time in our collective history was one where we had all of it. Time, that is. We seemingly had all the time in the world to really sit down and think about ourselves for once, to take a break from the fast-paced lives we’d come to know. And, well, to reset.
Speaking from my own perspective at least, the pandemic was initially a sign of the times. The thought of this new and unknown virus instilled great fear in me – I can’t lie. Not only that, social media was rife with conspiracy theories, as well as unqualified “in-the-know” researchers pulling bits of information from anywhere and everywhere. With numerous emotions rushing to me – from anxiety due to the uncertainty of the furlough scheme, to boredom, to genuine daily fear tied to the threat of the virus – my mental health (along with many other people’s) took a hit, and I realised that I seriously needed to keep my mind busy and focus on myself whilst everything else around me was so uncertain.
I’d always been interested in music, photography, film and, to a lesser degree, fashion – mainly in the form of streetwear – and initially I wanted to find a way to combine the lot. I’d toyed with the idea of creating my own brand, as I was inspired by a fellow school student who created his own brand called Gramm, which has been worn by the likes of numerous Mancunian artists, from IAMDDB to Children of Zeus. The concept of my own brand actually came to fruition months before the first initial lockdown. In fact, by November of 2019, I had already sourced the logo and some generic designs. However, as the old adage goes, best-laid plans often go to ruin. As life took over, my plans had to be put on the back burner but were brought back to life as the pandemic and The Great Reset came about.
Since the restart of sorts in 2020, the brand has gone from strength to strength with multiple clothing collections dropped or refined, enriched with love and colour, and reflective of my home town, Manchester, which I am so passionate about.
As initially planned, I combined my main interests to come together as one and birthed FREEQUENCY. As a means of operation, I wanted to recognise and acknowledge the talent that comes from our city and put that into our brand, particularly as we looked to expand our clothing and streetwear range from the time of the initial launch. This meant I had to liaise with a number of different parties, from the artists themselves to their management, as well as any agencies that represent them, their record companies, etc.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, the situations I had literally thrown myself into – headfirst, having had no experience of it to this magnitude – were setting me up to succeed within a Project Management role here at Embryo. Not only did I have to manage client services in the form of models and collaborators, but being the owner of my own brand meant that I was responsible for the creation of designs, managing shoot locations, and scheduling collection drops to be ready to buy online. In a way, each collection that dropped was a mini-project within itself – from concept all the way up to the release – again, unknowingly setting me up for my current role at Embryo Digital.
With all that in mind, once I returned to work, I felt that it was time for a change. Not only had creating my own successful clothing brand inspired me to progress my career further, but time away from work whilst being furloughed lead to a breakthrough in self-realisation, enabling me to understand that I actually had the skills to succeed within a Project Management role – a role that I had always longed for in fact. Through creating my own brand, I was able to develop skills such as website coding and design, client relations, photography and videography skills, graphic design, business management and most importantly project management.
Whilst we can’t look past the tragedies that have come from the pandemic – not only nationwide, but the world over – I have always been the type of person who tries to find the positives from whatever bad comes my way. The 18 months that made up the three lockdowns that we experienced in the UK weren’t just advantageous for myself, I would assume that a large number of individuals from my generation were also able to reset and realise their potential with the time we were afforded whilst the country slowed down.
Having been at Embryo for close to two months now, I’m glad I was afforded time to develop my skills in what may seem like an unconventional method during the pandemic, thus securing my dream role at a forward-thinking company like Embryo – I may be biased, but I think we’re a perfect fit.
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