The Very Early Years

Creating a Fashion Designer

Have you ever wanted something so badly that it possessed your body and your soul through the night and through the day.
Until you finally get it, and you realize, that it wasn’t what you really wanted after all.
And those self-same, sickly little thoughts now go and attach themselves to something, or somebody, new.
And the whole God-damned thing
All over
The The, True Happiness This Way Lies

For more years than I can count, I wanted one thing and one thing only.  I wanted to see my name in lights, or on the label of a line of clothing to be more precise. But there were the in-between years, the years I fancied myself an academic with a passion for sewing. It wasn’t until I had graduated from the University of Oregon, moved to San Francisco, began taking classes in art and photography, that I realized that maybe a career in the arts was a possibility.

It isn’t a stretch to imagine this. I began sewing when I was five years old, and that is no exaggeration. I remember sitting on the floor by my mom, making clothes for my dolls while she sewed clothes for me. My grandmother was a master tailor, reminiscing fondly about tailoring classes with the famed Madame Palmatiere. I graduated to making tin-foil clothing and costumes of chicken feathers when I was in grade school. and by junior high I was actually sewing my own clothes. One particularly memorable project was a cute shirt made of a Budweiser print fabric. My mom was out of town and my dad gave me the money to buy the pattern and fabric. Mom was horrified and wouldn’t allow me to wear the shirt in public. My favorite store was Jennie’s Yardstick in Beaverton. I could wander the aisles for hours, running my hands through the fabrics as if it was a horse’s soft mane. Of course, every fabric that caught my eye was the finest and the most expensive.  I spent hours browsing the pattern books, Vogue being my all-time favorite, especially after they launched their Individualist Collection that featured designers such as Issey Miyake, Betty Jackson, and Claude Montana. Throughout high school and university I was sewing almost every piece of clothing I owned. The Christmas of my junior year my parents gave me my very own sewing machine – the best and most appropriate gift I have ever received!

I spent my university years studying anything and everything that interested me, interspersed with dance classes, physical education, and the master’s swim club. I declared myself a business major upon enrolling in the University of Oregon, but that lasted about one hot minute. I was just too curious about too many things and business did not excite me. Much of my course work skewed towards history, media, and film. Like my erratic course load, I was unable to physically stay in one place. Before the end of my sophomore year I packed up, moved to our family houseboat in Portland, and studied at Portland State University for six months. During that time I added a lot of art classes to my portfolio and worked three to four jobs in order to save money. I decided that I was going to study in London, so every bit of my focus was on saving money and preparing for my big trip across the pond. By this time, 1984, I fancied myself a bit of a punk and was making my clothes to look the part. Little did I know that I was really more goth than punk, potatoes potatoes. I wanted to soak up the London punk scene, especially Vivienne Westwood. Sadly, by early 1985 punk was dead, except for a few corners where groups still hung out around King’s Cross. I was absolutely horrified that Tears for Fears (blech!) was all the rage! But I was able to immerse myself in some pretty awesome music and fashion, including Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Pogues, New Order, The Smiths, The Cure… Goth for sure.

After six months studying in London, with holiday adventures in Ireland and Greece, my mom joined me for a three-month odyssey throughout Europe. It was probably the most mind-expanding, exciting, and incredible year of my life. Not only did it solidify my love of fashion, it instilled in me a desire to travel the world. I came home a changed woman – mentally and physically. My dad didn’t even recognize me at the airport!

Intent on finishing up my college degree, I returned to the University of Oregon for my final two years, settling upon a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising. With my years long love of history I had to do little more than write a research paper to earn my double major. The 1980’s was the heyday of the advertising age in San Francisco, home of dominant ad agencies. I loved San Francisco and I knew I would move there and get a job as a creative director at one of those big agencies.

But life is often very different in your dreams.

Sheila Moon

I'm a dropout of the USA, living la Vida Loca in Todos Santos, BCS, Mexico. I'm a recovering Lyme Disease Warrior. I play in the dirt and I wander the beach with my three faithful companions. When I'm not doing that, I try to craft words for your amusement and enlightenment.

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