When I met Kristen Gonzalez, I was a confused freshman in college. I had moved out on my own for the first time ever, into a tiny room shared with two strangers. I had an undeclared major, had little to zero passion about anything in particular and was still very lacking in self-confidence.
Then along Kristen, a fellow student majoring in music with an emphasis in recording technology. She played the piano, bass, guitar and drums. She sang. She danced. She sewed her own clothes from scratch. She sketched and painted art. She even skateboarded to and from class, much to the aghast of campus security. Although I was in awe of her strong sense of self, we became fast friends (i.e., the same stupid stuff makes us laugh, and the same music makes us dance — if you ever meet Kristen, ask her to dougie for ya).
A lot has changed for both of us since our first encounter. For Kristen, she moved across the country to Brooklyn, New York and graduated from Pace University with a bachelor’s degree in business. Now 22, she funnels her energy and time passion into fashion design as a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) for Fashion Design in its One-Year AAS program. Ever the self-starter, she founded her own fashion line, Hummingbirds Design, which has been featured in nonprofit fashion shows (some which Kristen coordinated) and has been sold in a Brooklyn collective shop. Last but certainly not least, she’s the first of many Young Creatives, a series introduced in this post, to be featured.
She faces no shortages of challenges, particularly the fickle foe of time. In fact, Kristen could only squeeze in answering the following questions while commuting via subway. It’s all worth it though. She explains:
I knew I wanted to stick with “Hummingbirds” when I switched to fashion because the woman I design for carries hummingbird-like qualities: sweet, hardworking, elegant and strong-willed, all while moving a million miles a minute.
Also, being accepted into FIT was a big deal for me. I was rejected at first, but placed on a waiting list. I didn’t apply to any other schools because I had my heart set on this program, and I’m also someone who believes in fate and destiny — if I didn’t get in, then it wasn’t meant to be. But thank goodness I did because I am learning so much!
Once you make your brand image known and you are identified as someone who is easy to work [with], then opportunities will start to fall in your lap. The encouragement of my friends and family keep me strong and inspired. Without them, I would be not where I am today.
Happy and proud to have such a talented and beautiful (inside and out) friend as my first subject for this series of inspiration. Be sure to follow Kristen’s journey through her website, Hummingbirds Design.