How to become a fashion designer

read (and learn) the advices from the top fashion designers

This post is also available in: Italian

Being a fashion designer, dreaming your own collection (perhaps worn by celebrities), seeing your name on the cover of Vogue and in a shop window on 5th Avenue,  imagining  your collections during fashion week (with Anna Wintour in the front row) is the dream of many people and if you want to become a fashion designer of a great fashion house or yours, then this is the right post for you. After graduation I went up even more to the fashion world, starting to study it from the bottom. With courses at Bocconi, books read, much research and videos and the new course that I will begin tomorrow from Parsons and Teen Vogue (I know it’s amazing!) I’m learning a lot about this world, so I want to share this knowledge and help you too;)

Let’s Start.

How to become a fashion designer?

The work of a fashion designer may seem the most glamorous in the world, and in fact on the one hand it could be, however, it is not as simple as it sounds. I’m studying the stories of the most famous fashion designers and behind there are hard work, sacrifices and efforts. Trying to prevail, getting  noticed and becoming a designer of a major fashion house is not easy, but there are some guidelines you can follow to get what you want and become a fashion designer.

Firstly for a career as a fashion designer you think about attending a fashion school to learn the techniques needed to sew, create patterns and give life to your portfolio. Attending a school is always a good idea and most of the major designers have attended a prestigious one, you can find here the list of the best fashion schools.

However, if you’ve already started college or if you can not attend a fashion school, you should know that there are also cases that gained success without attending a fashion school by replacing the education with hard work. Also remember that now there is internet, there are hundreds of videos posts and online courses from which you can learn everything.

“ You cannot teach design. You can teach techniques and procedures, but design is inherent. I don’t care what anyone says you either have it or you don’t . Don’t get me wrong: It’s great to study fashion and to know the basics, like hot to sew and make patterns. But if you never have the privilege of going to design school, yet you feel that fashion is what you should do, don’t let a lack of education prevent you. There is more that one way.” Phillip Lim

Alexander Wang  interrupted his fashion school to start his own collection. Without completing his education, he was able to achieve great success as a designer of Balenciaga and Alexander Wang line.

“ It’s important to know what your options are. Only you can know if you are ready to take on. And you have to be ready because it’s going to come full force, and at certain point , there is no looking back .” When I was starting out , I went on every morning. If you know who’s growing and who’s launching, you can find here the opportunities are” Alexander Wang

Tory Burch deals with PR and advertising at Ralph Lauren and Vera Weng. She decided to stop her career for a while for her children. It was during this break that came up with the idea of her collection. Tory Burch is another example of how education is not required to achieve success.

“ When I interview designers for jobs, I look for candidates with portfolios that don’t channel us. I want to hire people who have a point of view and can bring something new to our team, because I want an interesting mix.” Tory Burch

Attend a fashion school allows you to know the techniques, allows you to compare yourself with experts and learn about the history, also is a good springboard for your first job. The best fashion schools, have the right contacts to allow you to practice what you have learned during the course of study.

“ I don’t think there is anything wrong with getting an education. There are plenty of designers with no fashion background, but it probably helps in terms of being recommended for your first job.”Marc Jacobs

Some designers have become famous thanks to the school, because they were able to present their collection during a fashion show. Talents in this way are discovered by the press, editors and buyers and is easier to be asked an order of a collection.

That is what happened to Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez designers behind the brand Proenza Schouler. Both started to attend different universities in different cities, but after they enrolled at Parsons. They both made the sacrifice of leaving their city and move to New York to pursue a career as a designer, it all paid off because their collection made for the final diploma was ordered by Barneys New York. The proof that the school can give a good exposure but that anyway  sacrifices are needed. proenza-schouler-rtw-fall-2014-01_00532733840.jpg_carousel_parties

“We hire people that have taste and education. It’s important to have a broad knowledge of both fashion history and contemporary fashion. You need to be aware of what’s happening and what other brands are doing. At the same time you have to be able to separate yourself from that and stay true to yourself.”

Completed the studies, to practice a career as a fashion designer all the most famous designers started with an internship. Do not underestimate this very important step, which, at the beginning of your career, can give you a chance and can be your precious time to show what you’re worth.

“Interning for a small company is a great way to gets a lot of experience. They tend to give their interns a great deal of responsibility, which may be a lot of pressure , but it’s an excellent way to get your feet wet” Pamela Love

Even if you do not find an internship as a designer, accept it and show the best of you. Alexander Wang, for example, did an internship in publishing at the beginning, to Teen Vogue. Every new experience can teach you so much and allows you to understand more about the world of fashion and also in this way you can create you first contacts. Networking is very important in fashion, someone might know someone else and suggest you to a new job, one day all your contacts may come in handy.

“Take every opportunity and use it the best way you can. Flexibility is important. If you are gifted , it will only impress people later, once you’ve started a job. Accept any job offer in fashion if you want to be in that world”.Karl Lagerfeld 

So here we are at the end of this post in which I explained you how to become a fashion designer with advices from the best. Are You ready to become a fashion designer?  quote

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