#FCareer: Odessa Paloma Parker
July 13, 2016
The Globe and Mail fashion editor and founder of the Vintage Crawl Toronto, Odessa Paloma Parker, creates dynamic projects and aims improve lives through the power of fashion. The Six's style guru shares her insider secrets to making it in the competitive fashion industry in our very first FCareer feature.
When and how did your career path become clear to you?
When I realized that I loved both styling and working on set with creatives but also editing and writing, I knew that I needed to be in a job that would let me have the freedom to do all of this (and more).
Was it what you¹ve always wanted to do?
I think so, yes. I've been consuming fashion media (television, magazines) since I was little, and I always wanted to work in the industry in some capacity.
If not, what did you see yourself doing while you were growing up?
I also wanted to be an opera singer, writer, makeup artist, fashion designer. Teenage dreams!
Was your secondary school curriculum relevant to your current career?
Not really. Aside from doing extracurriculars which allowed me to explore my creativity (drama club, music program) there wasn't a fashion program in my high school.
What else would you be doing right now if it weren't for your current position and why?
I'd probably be running a vintage store or creative agency. If I could draw, maybe I'd be a fashion designer!
What is a memorable challenge or moment that¹s stuck with you so far?
Nothing specific comes to mind but there are always days when you have what seems like an insurmountable to-do list, or everything seems to be going wrong. Managing those kinds of moments while remaining calm, cool, and someone your co-workers still want to be around is definitely difficult but you just have to pull through.
Have you ever wanted to give up? What stopped you?
When I had to fold my magazine, Plaid, it was definitely discouraging. I thought that other people in the industry would see me as a failure, which is hard to swallow when you're already disappointed in yourself. But the reaction was actually that I had done something great and inspired and helped people, and now I look back at that time feeling accomplished instead of bummed out.
What do you do just for you?
I always try to carve out time for myself on a weekend to do some personal care, whether a face mask or a long nap. I love being social and it's a big part of my job but sometimes I just want to tune out.
How do you integrate work and life together?
It's really hard, and having a partner who¹s creative and engaged with your industry definitely helps. There are time when I wished I could just hang out at home more often but attending previews and launches are part of the job. I just try to focus on building relationships with people who are genuinely chill instead of trying to schmooze with the riff raff, so it makes being out and about much more fun.
Who were you in high school?
The artsy girl, but I was pretty friendly with everyone.
Favourite advice you've heard or like to give out?
I'd rather work with someone who¹s good at their job and an amazing person, than someone who¹s amazing at their job but a terrible person.
What's next for you?
Oh, I have no idea. Something fun I hope!