Interview of Hannah Birkett by Hannah Fordsike // Photographs by Holly Edwards
Hey Hannah, How are you?
Hey! I’m great!
Where are you living right now?
I live by myself in a studio in Brisbane.
What do you love about where you live?
It’s close to everything, so I can ride my bike everywhere. Living by yourself can be challenging, but it’s so nice to make a space your own. In terms of city, Brisbane is great because everybody seems to know everybody; it’s a great community.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a 22-year-old creative. I say creative as I’m a true ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ type. I dabble in photography, styling, graphic design and events management and I am obsessed with aesthetics and aesthetically pleasing design.
What are you up to this year? Uni? Work?
I’m just finishing up uni at the moment – I’ve been studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries (Fashion Communication and Visual Art/Art History) for the past five years… So I am well and truly ready to be out! I actually just secured an internship at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair as part of the Fashion Show Production team, which is really exciting. I’ll get to work with a bunch of talented designers, choreographers and creatives on some really amazing projects.
Aside from that, I’m mainly focusing on working as much as I can right now, as I’m moving to Paris at the end of the year! I never had a gap year after high school so I’ve pretty much been studying non-stop for seventeen years, which is kind of soul-destroying. I’m lucky enough to have a dual UK citizenship so I’m hot-footing it to Europe before Brexit kicks everyone out.
What is something you’re passionate about?
My two biggest passions are animal rights and sustainable fashion. I’ve been vegetarian for eight years and attempted veganism more times than I care to remember (I’m an ENFP, we aren’t known for our sticking power – I’m working on it). I think it’s really important that people educate themselves on the impacts of animal agriculture, particularly the environmental aspects.
I’m also really passionate about sustainable fashion and knowing where your garments are from and who made them. Fast fashion is a horrendous industry that causes so much damage to the environment, not to mention the terrible working conditions for most workers. I go by the mantra “buy less, choose well,” so I’ll save up for high quality, well-made garments and always keep an eye out for natural/organic fabrics and transparent brands.
Why is feminism important to you?
Every person deserves to be treated equally, regardless of their gender. Simple.
What do you love about being a woman?
Lately, I am so overwhelmed by the community of creative, smart, beautiful women I am surrounded by. I am so proud of the work my friends do and love seeing women express themselves creatively. I’m very proud to be part of a generation that is changing the definition of being a woman/female and what that will mean for future generations.
What do you wish you could tell your 15-year-old self?
I had a terrible relationship with body image throughout all of middle and high school and would constantly compare myself to other girls. I spent the better part of ten years hating myself and the way I looked, when in hindsight, I would have been much better served channeling my time into productive/creative outlets. If I could go back I would study much harder and stay focused on school. Learning and knowledge can open so many personal and professional doors and you should learn as much as you can (while it’s free)!
Where would you like to be in 10 years?
I’d like to be living somewhere in Europe where it’s cold all the time and summer is actually something to look forward to! As someone who’s been working in hospitality forever, I would love to be in a position to work freelance as a creative, particularly in graphic design/publishing. My ideal situation would be earning enough to pay my way and having the time to explore endless hobbies. If I could make a career out of my dabbling, I would be very happy. (I would also accept the role of Creative Director at i-D, thanks.)
What advice do you have for teenagers wanting to pursue creative industries after school?
Honestly, I would tell them to consider all the pathways that can take them to their goal. University can be the best way in a lot of circumstances, but the creative industries are built substantially on hands-on practice and networking. You might get more out of a year of interning and working in your field than you could out of your degree. It’s also a cheaper way of finding out if that field is right for you (I only just looked at my HECS debt and I’ve got to say, I could have ‘found myself’ for a lot less $$$). But saying that, I was a lousy student and didn’t take advantage of the opportunities around me. Work hard, work for free, intern and volunteer as much as you can — all of the little things will count for a lot with future employers.
Check out Hannah’s Tumblr here.