So my hobby sort of took off; being the fidgety type, I couldn't watch TV without entertaining myself on the side. Soon I had a folder full of leotard images that looked something like this:
I brought my leotard folder on every trip, always with my bag full of my favorite markers. After a few years, I had about 500 leotard designs. Also in my leotard supply bag: I sent away for leotard catalogs, or took my coach's cast off ones, of the big three: GK, Alpha Factor, and Valentine's. I can still picture every page of those catalogs!
At fifteen, I finally did something tangible with my leotard obsession. I sent one of my favorite designs to GK to have it custom designed. I still remember that $85 price tag, I couldn't believe I was spending that much of my own money! And my coach was happy to humor me--I got to wear my own design in my final optional competition.
This hobby directly led me to my college major, in fashion design. And in a dream job scenario, after graduation, I flew up to Pennsylvania for a job interview with GK. The most surprising part of my interview was finding out that the design team (at the time, at least) didn't have anyone with gymnastics experience. I discussed my design aesthetic and my likes and dislikes for competition leotards. When I mentioned that I preferred designs that elongated the arm--a vertical stripe down the arm is flattering, while sleeves with asymmetrical horizontal stripes going across one arm can look distracting--they actually said they hadn't thought of that! While I didn't get the job--admittedly, I was a terrible interview and probably looked like an underage child wearing mom's best church clothes--it was an amazing experience.
Has anyone ever been this obsessed with leotards before? It would be great to know I'm not the only one!
|This was 1992, before gymnastics parents were expert action photographers.|
|Clearly a deduction for pausing too long before a skill, since my folks were able to catch this photo of me being still long enough.|
|My leotard sketch folder was lost in Katrina but I salvaged my original leotard!|