This is unfortunately my last week in Madrid, and I truly cannot believe it; my time here has absolutely flown right past me. This experience has taught me so so much not only about Spain, its culture, and new internship skills, but also about myself. I feel that this experience has helped me grow into such an independent and secure person in a way that will truly prepare me for my future. I have a passion for travel and have always wanted to explore the world post-grad, but have been a bit scared to do this by myself. I now know, that if I was able to survive (and enjoy) two months in Spain on my own, that I can go anywhere and I will be okay.
This past weekend I had the pleasure to visit another one of Spain´s beautiful cities: Valencia. This is a beach town full of culture and tradition – and one different than that of Madrid. Valencia is in the lower region of Spain and has a very large Arabian influence. I was lucky to see a traditional Valencian parade on the city’s boardwalk, and its music, dress, and dance was very different to than what I have seen of Madrid. The boardwalk is filled with shops of traditional souvenirs and of course, food. I was surprised to see as many Arabian foods as I did – almost every other stand offered some sort of Arab dish and was decorated with Arabian fabrics or arches – absolutely stunning, especially as someone who did not have much prior on the Arab culture prior to my visit. Valencia is also the birthplace of one of Spain’s most traditional foods: paella! I came in with extremely high expectations for la paella valenciana, and it did not disappoint. I am extremely glad I was able to enjoy and Valencia, and its amazing culture, and I hope to return again someday.
There is actually a second location of my company in Valencia, which of course, I had to visit. It was very neat to see my same company, but operating in another city with another culture. In Madrid, I would say that my company is very focused around its message and spreading it: shop small, and sustainable. Since the founder is the owner of The Circular Project Shop Madrid, she ensures that everyone who enters the shop knows her message and the project’s purpose. Even if they do not buy any products, if she feels that her message got through to the customer, she feels successful. Yet, in Valencia, I would say the company operates more as a shop, where if someone does not buy something, it was not a success. I do not think this is the standard across the fashion industry, and definitely specific to The Circular Project Shop. My boss would define a successful employee as someone who shares passion for her project, and works to not only spread her message, but to find partnerships, brand deals, and sponsorships to grow her project and, ultimately, its message. Of course, growth of the company is positive across all industries, but, this specific type of growth comes from spreading awareness for sustainability in the fashion industry, rather than being financially motivated, like the majority of companies.
In the United States, depending on the industry and company, a successful employee can look many ways. To focus on the fashion industry, I would argue that a successful employee is someone who is very creative, observant, and passionate of their ideas. The fashion industry is ever-changing, and in order stay relevant, companies must adapt to the trends (and prepare for future trends as well) and the public’s interest. Therefore, employees must be observant of what is happening in the fashion world, be creative enough to bring forward new ideas, and propose them to their superiors with passion and confidence. Even if someone is not particularly working behind the scenes and in the creative department, the front of the house workers’ fashion choices should still parallel with this type of employee. Since The Circular Project‘s main focus is its purpose, the clothing/accessories sold in store are more basic in hopes to fit more peoples’ tastes. The company, although concerned with the trends of the fashion industry, try to stay as constant as possible with its products.
The definition of success varies across companies, industries, and cultures, but at least I can say with confidence that my experience in IIP Madrid has been an absolute success.
Con mucha felicidad,
Here are some photos from my trip to Valencia, and The Circular Project Shop Valencia.