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Dreams come true

Many people probably had a childhood dream about what they would become as a grown-up, dreams they later decided to drop and instead choose a more ordinary profession offering a more secure living. But while ideas like building airplanes or travelling to space might remain only sweet memories, others possibly get more and more realistic with the passage of time. The BBJ now introduces two women who, after working for decades in other fields, finally took the risk of working out their fond dreams and entering the world of fashion and design.

The jewelry maker

"I have always wanted to become a jewelry maker, but I knew a very talented woman who made beautiful jewelry but, as she could not sell enough of them to make a living, she had to waste her talent on pieces that fit the average taste better,” Veronika Lázár told the Budapest Business Journal, explaining why twenty years ago she decided to become an architect instead of following her heart. "My family is rich in architects so my choice was obvious.”

As architectural design is also a creative process, she has not regretted her decision so far. "I still look at buildings with an architect’s eye,” she said. However, as the years went by, she kept feeling the desire for something more personal.  

"Architecture is not a feminine profession,” Lázár pointed out. "The scale is so large. And, of course, we plan houses for people to live their lives in, but I still felt that I wanted to do something that was more directly linked to people.”

In the meantime, the crisis has rolled in Hungary, practically knocking over the construction industry. Although Lázár’s employer, A&D Stúdió, was among the lucky few who could keep on working without significant layoffs, the crisis left a mark on the everyday work of everyone in the sector. "Cost-efficiency has become the new catchword, which practically reduced creativity to zero,” Lázár said. At the same time, the eyes of Hungarians have opened for unique design in the past decade, meaning that the old fear of having all the nice pieces of jewelry left on the shelf unsold might not be valid anymore.

So it was now or never. Three months ago, after having been trained by renowned masters at the Budapest art school center Budai Rajziskola, Lázár finally decided to switch her planning table for jewelry making tools. Her colorful but still elegant necklaces and rings are already available at design fairs such as the monthly WAMP event but, according to plans, will also soon be offered for sale at jewelry galleries.

"Designing jewelry is very similar to architectural planning,” she said, adding that coming from a different profession sometimes means more freedom. "I look differently on some materials,” she explains referring for example to glass mosaic, which is an architectural material and had not been used for jewelry until Lázár decorated one of her rings with this.

"It is said that to become a good jewelry maker it is good to be a bit mature,” she continued explaining why she did not feel at a disadvantage for taking up the line with a delay. "Will my new profession accept me? This I don’t know. But why wouldn’t they?”

The designer

Krisztina Hornok left her finely developing career in communications to realize her childhood dream and become a fashion designer. She launched the first collection of her brand, called Design 13, three months ago. "At first, some of my distant acquaintances thought that I was responsible for the PR of Design 13,” she said illustrating the surprise of those who did not know that before becoming a journalist and PR agent, she had studied to become a dressmaker.

"As I could not get into the fashion department of the college, I chose communications because I had always been interested in languages, arts and literature.”

While she was very happy with her position as PR manager of Budapest’s Four Seasons Hotel, her thirst for something more artistic has never calmed down. "There are so many things I am interested in that I might be a bit too much sometimes. This is not always an advantage. So I kept looking for someplace where such a Renaissance person can be useful.”

In the meantime, she spent years in a multinational business environment where she took up several skills that she can take advantage of now, as a designer. "I know what casual business means and I know what dress is required for such an event,” Hornok said, adding that a lot of people nowadays have problems finding the balance between elegance, effeminacy and ordinariness. "Everything you wear has a message, and a deep-cut shirt is not something to prevail with at a workplace. And anyway ordinariness has nothing to do with being an attractive woman,” she said when explaining why she designed somewhat classic-tailored clothes that gain freshness through vivid colors and light materials.

While admitting that the Hungarian market is very small and the locally-made design sector is already quite full, Hornok is optimistic as "there is an increasing trend in Hungary to buy clothes from local designers.” Also, if she was a fresh graduate from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, she might have better connections with industry insiders who could help kickstart her career, but she rather sees the advantages of coming from outside. "My independence is one of my strengths. I do not follow anyone,” she states proudly.