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Inclusive social change for sustainability and equity

“The fact that I was not able to hear for a long time affected me and my expression. Although I have this defect, it is not a disadvantage.."

What are the obstacles for us, what are the special needs for us? Are we an inclusive society? These issues must be the starting point for building an inclusive individual and an inclusive society. As a professional associate, I had the opportunity to work and grow up with Ksenija, a sweet adult girl who was deprived of presenting herself and her world through words, but not through drawings and artistic expression. Yet, today, observing her work and progress, her growing up, my heart is calm and full. Ksenija has always emphasised her best knowledge, and in fact, she made a mature decision about what she wanted to be when she grew up. She has turned her best into her life’s calling, and what I wish for her with all my heart is success in her right choice. Below is an article about a young designer, a former student of my school, who is a real example of improving her best knowledge and skills and becoming independent; she is an example of inclusive sustainability and equity.

“Ksenija Đurković from Nikšić is a student of fashion design at the Faculty of Multimedia and Design at UDG in Podgorica. She presented some of her creations, together with her colleagues, at the last edition of the Montenegrin Fashion Week, Mercedes-Benz & Master Fashion Week Mne. Ksenija has a hearing problem, which did not stop her from investing in herself and her talent. On the contrary, she learned to be persistent and fight for what she wants because of that defect. As a child, she realised that design and fashion were what could be her life path.“ Even as a child, when I couldn’t explain what I wanted or needed, I explained it by drawing. I used drawing as a common language. I’ve always noticed the details very well, and my drawings generally did not look like the drawings of my peers. My talent was recognised and supported by my parents and teachers. The most common theme of the drawings were human figures. Like every girl, I loved dolls, so I started creating for them. Since drawing became my hobby, I thought how nice it would be to pursue it. With the help of my family, I learned that there is a Fashion Design course at the Faculty of Design and Multimedia in Podgorica, and with a little luck, I managed to enrol in it.”

Ksenija is one of the students who presented their models at Fashion Week. It was a great obligation for her but also a responsibility. “Professor Ana Vasiljević chose my colleagues and me to present some of our creations at Fashion Week. The whole event aroused different emotions in me: nervousness, pleasure, excitement, stress, but I managed with the selfless support of colleagues from my department. They encourage me. I have their great help; when I didn’t understand something, they explained it to me. My appearance at the Fashion Week is a great responsibility because I did not represent only myself and my work; we participated as a team, and we were all representatives of our department at the faculty.” Every designer has some authenticity. We were interested to know what Ksenija’s recognisability is and what inspires her. “I am just at the beginning of my design journey. I’m still finding myself, I’m working on my style, and I think I’m cut out for designing the short, tight dress. When I compare my latest works with those from the beginning of the year, I see that I have made a lot of progress and that both style and inspiration change with new tasks. I must mention that the lectures and expertise of professor Ana Vasiljević are something that means a lot to me. It helps me develop ideas and creativity and inspiration“, explains Ksenija, who especially loves the work of designers such as Alexander McQueen, Stefano Gabbana, and Valentin Yudashkin.

Being unable to hear did not stop Ksenija from investing in herself and her talent, proving there is no obstacle when something is loved and wanted. “I have always done things my way. But, of course, the fact that I was not able to hear for a long time affected me and my expression. Although I have this defect, it is not a disadvantage in certain fields. Because of it, I learned to be persistent and fight and look for what I want. Sometimes through need, sometimes through desire, and then through a hobby, I developed my talent. Obstacles exist for me and everyone else, but they can be overcome with effort and perseverance. My family is a great support to me. Throughout my schooling, I was greatly supported by my teachers, professors and assistants. Everyone had understanding for me, pushing me to be as better as possible. But my biggest support, my biggest critic and advisor is my sister,” says the young designer.

Author: gracija.me/Mirjana Popović

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