WHAT I LEARNED FROM LIVING IN PARIS

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Ah Paris (and pronounce that with a French accent!) – is one of the world’s biggest fashion capitals. There are still quite a lot opinions about Paris, Parisians and fashion in Paris. One is that life in Paris is quite harsh especially if you’re in fashion industry. Days are long, people are rude, salary is bad, but it’s worth it because fashion is so amazing.

… Is that really so?
Let’s find out! There are some important do’s and dont’s that you should know when living in Paris or planning to move there.
Designer Riikka Ikäheimo has lived in Paris while studying fashion design and has worked as a sales person in an accessories store.

Here is what we learned from her:
SHOULD YOU KNOW HOW TO SPEAK FRENCH IN PARIS?
I didn’t know a word when I arrived to the city, so I would say no. But I fell in love with the city and after the summer course in ESMOD University it was so clear to me I wanted to stay there. I didn’t speak a word, but it didn’t mean I couldn’t learn. I think when the road is not easy, it can give you a lot more and mostly a valuable lesson. So for me it was even better I didn’t know the language. Now I speak and understand French well and I visit Paris many times a year!
HOW TO GET A JOB IN PARIS?
I printed 50 CV’s each morning and went from door to door. I had no other option, simply cause I didn’t know any French. It was pretty hard and took a lot of courage to start over and over again each morning and give your all.
But my determination was rewarded when my boss saw how much I wanted to stay in Paris and thought my determination would also be seen in the job. So she gave me a chance. I got a place as a sales person in a boutique close to Louvre. It was a dream come true and even after all these years I keep thinking the skills I learned there.

BEST AREA TO LIVE IN?
This is the hardes question ever. Simply because Paris has something to everyone. If you love classy things and glamour like me you propably would love areas 1,2,9 and 7. I lived close to Notre Dame and later in Issy Les Moulinaux. They will always have a special place in my heart!
And if you love more art and easy going life, then 18,10 and 5 would be perfect for you! But like I said, everyone sees Paris differently. One thing is for sure: It will take a piece of your heart and you will never get it back!
PEOPLE?
Friendly, beautiful and polite. But remember we are talking about the city that has millions of people. Not everyone are the same, but I still love France!
I still miss the autumn mornings when the air was crispy, I bought a fresh croissant and coffee to go and old men each morning lifted their hats and said ‘’Bonjour madame’’ while I went to the metro. It’s actually those little things that will mean the most in the end.
PARISIAN STREETSTYLE?
Amazing, amazing and amazing!! You can find people wearing winter boots and furry hats in the middle of the summer and fashion is there to show who you are instead of being there to match the weather!
French women dress very simply and make it look absolutely stunning. I also loved the fact men dress up very well to work. Dressing up is a way to respect people around you and it’s a way to build self confidence aswell.
I found my own style while living in Paris. The city is so inspiring. You can find new ways to dress up all the time!
It was more than worth it. Life is very short and if you are able to fill it with adventures and memories that make you go ‘’ Ohh I lived my life the fullest’’ then yes, you did good!
Paris changed me a lot as a person and I will always own to the city. I hope I will be living in another beautiful place like Paris soon enough!
DID YOU GET ANY INFLUENCE FROM PARIS TO YOUR CURRENT DESIGNS?
Yes. I found myself as a designer and since then things have happened like it was all meant to be. I went to Paris to find myself and there I realized I can’t be found… I must be created. So I created a well known style from lace and I try to make each dress with a glimpse of that Paris I know.
Like I said Paris will take a piece of your heart and you will never get it back. But then on the other hand, it might give you something else as change that might change your life.
Know more about Riikka on her website: riikka.fi
And follow her in social media: @riikka.fi 

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