Making it big, without the paperwork

One of the most important pieces of paper you can acquire is a university diploma. This document states how an individual spent a certain amount of years at an institution accredited as a university, becoming educated on the intricacies of their desired field. These formative years have turned out a polished and prepared young professional, ready to take on the real world

In a perfect story, this is how an academic career plays out. Toronto designer Kai Baker-Bossert did not follow this ideal, however the choice was not his.

Bossert applied to OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) for advertising and fashion, and was accepted after his initial portfolio review. Two weeks before the school year was to begin, Bossert received an email from OCAD informing him he his acceptance had been revoked. His Grade 12 english mark was 67%, and the acceptance average cut-off was 70%.

Bossert was lucky. He had started a fashion brand in Grade 12, and was able to devote his attention full time to his project. The rejection ultimately kickstarted a fashion career he had sought to start post-university.

A lot of students who don’t make the university grade are not as lucky. Getting turned away from post-secondary education is a quick route to a career in minimum wage service jobs.

Establishing a professional reputation without a degree is an intimidating task, and harder than it should be. The fact that 3% spelled the end of an academic career is a stark reminder how easy it is to get spit out of the academic world. And the ulterior life is not entirely appealing.

Complex Magazine Canada article on Pale Black:

Pale Black online store:

Photoset containing Pale Black pieces, styled by Kai Baker-Bossert. Photos by Chrris Lowe:

Feature image courtesy of Pale Black

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