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frederickandsophie-pris_notes-happiness

Illustration: Maya E Shakur for FREDERICK & SOPHIE

Exploring style throughout the ages has been at the heart of my former life as a fashion & lifestyle journalist. What is style, where does it come from, how do you find it? As my career path diverged from freelance writer to editorial entrepreneur, my explorations diverged from style to happiness. What is happiness, where does it come from, how do you find it?

 

In my early 20s, I’d just entered the freelance writing game and I defined happiness as seeing my work published in a newspaper or magazine, getting another assignment, being able to finish an article within a tight deadline, getting asked to write features, expanding my client portfolio with more magazines, brands, advertising agencies, and the occasional celebrity stylist. To me, happiness was the outcome of outside recognition and “a win.”

 

This changed when I left Amsterdam. Here I was, a 30 year old newlywed, a new mom of Indy, then a five week old baby-boy, a dog-mom of a rather large eight month old Newfoundland pup, and I had no idea what would come next. Markus and I got on a plane with three one-way tickets, two suitcases, a Stokke stroller, and an XL dog crate and headed for “the second star to the right, and straight on till morning.” Or, actually we headed for life in Los Angeles, after a family honeymoon in New York. It was my first giant step outside of my comfort zone. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of me buckling up and rollercoastering down to a multitude of new places.

 
My first giant step outside of my comfort zone.
Amsterdam –> New York –> Los Angeles as a newlywed & newlymom. My first giant step outside of my comfort zone.
 

In Los Angeles, I would find myself on set as the writer, director, and producer of scripted online video content, I’d write screenplays, integrate brand messages, and pitch to networks and brands alike.

 
Directing the pilot episode of scripted online series, “Messed Up Life,” in L.A. / Photography: Charles Divins
 

In Berlin and Milan, I’d use my storytelling skills to create an own fashion label. I’d manage our atelier, design capsule collections and an e-commerce site, find yarns, create fabrics, talk to a multitude of fashion buyers and press.

 
At our atelier in Berlin, designing & producing the Frederick & Sophie Collections with our team of tailors. / Photography: Stefan Brockmann
 

In Vienna, I’d pivot and turn our e-commerce site into an editorial lifestyle shopping destination. And throughout it all, I learned to combine motherhood, marriage, and business.

 

When you dwell outside of your comfort zone you learn new things through a plentiful of mistakes, failures, and picking yourself up and try again. In other words, it’s a path not of least resistance but of barreling forward and pissing some people off along the way. 

 

So, if “wins” meant happiness to my 20-something year old self, and making mistakes and failing has been part of my entrepreneurial journey ever since, have I been unhappy for ten years in a row now? The answer to that question is, “No.” Is happiness simply not that important to me anymore? The answer to that question is also, “No.” Neither have I become an expert in the art of daily meditation and found happiness in my ability to live in the present. I’m still pretty future oriented. But, I did learn to look into more directions than only the future. I learned to look back to remind myself that once I dreamed of being where I am right now. And believe me, once upon yet another late night staring at my computer screen, buried underneath fabrics and needles, working my way through plugins and layouts and legal disclaimers, feeling guilty of not being able to bring Indy to his next day playdate, I dreamed of calmly sitting in my office to write this post.

 

The more I learned to look back and realized how far I’d come and how much I’d learned, the more I picked myself back up after yet another wrong turn, the more I grew into a more confident version of myself. And the more I grew in confidence, the more my definition of happiness changed. 

 

Slowly, happiness wasn’t anymore about the absence of problems, but in my ability to deal with them. In being able to manage my life in the many different shapes and sizes it has presented itself to me, so far. Nowadays, happiness is the outcome of my emotional resilience. In knowing that whatever comes my way, in work, marriage, or parenthood, I have the skills to turn it into something that I can manage. 

 

Not unlike style, happiness is an effortless confidence in being yourself. It can take a while to find out who that you is. Sometimes it means that you have to become who you thought you should be, only to learn that there was nothing wrong with you in the first place. And that’s okay, because happiness is making your continuous learning and growth process, the measurement of a life worth living. 

 

The ghosts of all the women I used to be, are proud of who I have become. Now that just makes me happy. 

 

With Love (and Happiness!), 

 

XO, Pris

 

Illustration: Maya E Shakur for FREDERICK & SOPHIE

 

The Look

Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow, and an orange jumpsuit feels like the epitome of ease and joy. Accessorize it with white mules or sneakers, a white handbag and white earrings for day, and add a dash of fuchsia-fun elements for a #staysafeathome dinner-in-the-garden date.

Day

 

Dinner Date

 

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