Horticulture vs. Fashion Design vs. Berna

As Wian and I drove from Piet Retief to the farm tonight we talked. The conversation soon turned a bit intense when we couldn’t find a conclusion. We spoke about my future and the decisions I’ve recently made. All this talking got me thinking – and I would like to tell my side of the story.

Last year, during my gap year, I taught myself fashion design. A year’s worth of learning came together at my fashion show. I think the fashion show was a huge success. After the show people accepted that this is what I wanted to be: a fashion designer. To be honest, for a moment there I was also convinced this was my future, Berna van Zyl, Adanna’s fashion designer.

Now I have decided that I want to study Horticulture starting next year. Most people don’t know how to react to my decision. “But aren’t you going to do fashion design???” I know that Horticulture is the last thing someone should be thinking about after a having a fashion show – but it is something that has been growing in me for quite some time now. If I lived my life doing what most of us think is the ‘right’ thing to do, I would not have ended up exploring my love for constructing patterns and sewing clothing. Now my heart and my head are telling me to try Horticulture. My heart and my head are also just as confused as the rest of you. I also don’t always know what on earth I’m doing. I often tell a person one thing and then tell the next person something totally contradicting. This is not easy. I feel like there are two poles in me pulling in opposite directions. How does fashion design and horticulture go together?

Basically I still can’t write a conclusion to this because I still don’t have one. But here is what I think...

I did fashion design because I loved it – and still do. It fascinates me. I do it because I want to. And I want to study horticulture because it intrigues me. Not because I necessarily want to become Horticulturalist, but because I want more knowledge about this subject.

I am not a fashion designer. And I am not a horticulturalist. I am Berna van Zyl. I have an interest in nature, and growing seeds and my own food. I also happen to make most of the clothing I wear.

I don’t know what I’ll be one day. Maybe I’ll still just be Berna. Maybe I will actually find a path in life where nature and fashion comes together... And maybe I won’t even do that. Whatever happens, at least I’ll know I tried everything and loved every part of it.  


  1. No longer Bernatjie... These two years have molded you into a full fledged woman with great unorthodox plans. Live it! Love it! You are unique and your eyes see a world, unseen by most. And an even bigger rarity; your fingers have touched this world, shaped it to your image of romance. That is where Adanna will live on forever. There, and in our hearts. Thank you for sharing Adanna with us Berna Van Zyl.

  2. Not all those who wander are lost. JRR Tolkien


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