Photo Credit: Maegan Tintari
I was recently thinking about the future of fashion, wondering what it holds for us and what my role would be. Do fashion schools have career counselors? If so, in my next life I think I’d like to inspire and guide young designers who want to take on the demanding, but oh so rewarding journey of fashion design.
So if I was a fashion career counselor, here are the top 5 things I would want students to know:
Get thick skin – This advice applies to life in general, but more so in the highly competitive fashion industry where “experts” are quick to shoot down your creativity. Just take criticism in a professional manner no matter who is dishing it out. There will always be haters, but you’ll realize that deep down they’re just jealous of your success.
Let the clothes do the marketing – Although I’ve never been a fashion designer, I did spend most of my working years as a fashion stylist/salesperson turned store manager for a women’s national retail chain. Then I worked for a major department store until I started blogging about fashion. What I’ve learned is that you don’t need celebrities to make your clothes look good. When someone puts on clothing that makes them feel good and look good, they’ll tell everyone about it, especially in this day of social media.
Know your “why” – Why is it that you want a career in fashion? Does it go beyond just being rich or famous? Or do you want to make an impact on other people’s lives? I’ve studied the careers of designers such as Donna Karan, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Alber Elbaz, and what draws me to them is that they’ve created meaningful careers that transcend fashion.
Here’s a short video of Donna Karan talking about her passions beyond fashion…
Get a mentor (or two) – Although experience is a good teacher, it’s also good to be around people who could support and mentor you. If you’re in London taking a fashion design course at Middlesex University or a school like FIDM in the U.S., you’ll meet like-minded teachers or other experienced fashion students you could partner up with.
Never give up – Whatever you do, never give up on your vision. You may face challenges along the way, but as long as you stay true to yourself and your dream, you’ll achieve any goal you set for yourself.
“I do think about what people want. People look for a dream and for fantasy in fashion.” –Alber Elbaz