How to become top fashion designer

How to become top fashion designer

You know that you are destined to be a fashion designer if a) you spend most of your childhood making clothes for your Barbie dolls instead of playing with your friends; b) read fashion magazines instead of your school books; c) opened a shop in your basement at the age of 10. In other words, if you want to become the next Yves Saint Laurent, it is better to be completely and completely obsessed with fashion.

However, the profession has many aspects. Working as a fashion designer may as well mean supervising a team of designers in a sportswear business that produce a label under your own name. Although the first career does not seem as glamorous as the last, it will make your life less stressful. Creating your own label takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work. Not to mention living just above the poverty line for several years.

Choose a strategy

There are as many different ways to get into fashion as there are styles of design. Ralph Lauren's Polo Empire was based on a small collection of ties that he sold to Bloomingdales. Helmut Lang decided to open his own clothing store when he could not find a t-shirt he liked. Michael Kors has built a network of customers selling clothes at a trendy New York store. However, most people find that the best foundation for a career in design is to get a degree in fine art fashion from a prestigious school. In addition to teaching you the trade, a good school will add credibility to your resume. "We live in a brand company, and having the name of a good school behind you really helps," said Carol Mongo, fashion department director of the Parsons School of Design in Paris.

Register in a school

There are a lot of colleges that have fashion programs, but only a handful has the kind of reputation that can really advance your career. It is difficult to enter these schools because competition is strong and they tend to be very selective. You apply by sending a portfolio of drawings of your creations. "We can not teach you how to be creative - you have to bring us your creativity and let us guide you on your way," Mongo said. She recommends that students acquire a sewing experience before applying.

Drawing is also an important skill for a designer - it's the way you communicate your ideas. In order to build an impressive portfolio, it is wise to have some experience of drawing; Taking art classes will help you understand the shape and proportions. But you do not have to be an expert in drawing to be accepted into a school. "The most important quality we are looking for in our students is that they are really passionate and exuberant about fashion," said Mongo. "If you have fantastic ideas but you can not draw, there are always ways to get around them, like putting your designs on a manikin and taking pictures."

Which school will do for you

Most fashion programs last three to four years. During this time, you will take courses in fine arts and study drawing, color composition and form. You will also learn the techniques of patronage, draping and cutting. One of the most important advantages of design schools is that they work closely with the sector. Parsons, for example, has "designer critical projects" in which successful designers such as Donna Karan and Michael Kors work directly with graduate students.

Ambitious students also have the chance to win prestigious awards and scholarships, which brings them a lot of attention and financial support. A fashion show at the end of the last semester, during which the graduates present their collections. Many celebrities in the fashion industry attend these shows to find new talent. It is also an opportunity to be really scandalous and to be noticed by the media. Hussein Chalayan, for example, became instantly infamous when he showed rotting clothes that he had buried in his yard for his graduation parade in Saint Martins.

Alternative routes

"Let's be realistic," said Carol Mongo at Parsons, "The school is not suitable for everyone - if you just want to get a job in the fashion industry - not a design career - you probably do not have a job. need to go to school. "If you want to work as a seamstress or as a model maker, it is probably best to apply for an internship at a fashion house and progress. However, there are many examples of famous designers who started as trainees without formal training. For example, Hedi Slimane, a menswear designer, was a journalism graduate when he began working with men's clothing designer José Levy.

Nicolas Ghesquière de Balenciaga is another example of a brilliantly successful designer who learned to work on the job as an assistant at Jean-Paul Gaultier. Usually, you apply for an internship by sending a portfolio to a fashion house that interests you. But it's a good idea to call them in advance to find out exactly what they need. It is also important to note that the competition is fierce and that, unless you have personal connections, it is very difficult to get an internship without training.

There are also designers, like Luella Bartley, who started their own business after working as designers for several years, creating an industrial network and a good sense of marketing.

Understand the company

Unfortunately, it's not enough for a designer to be creative; you must also have a business sense. As fashion is increasingly business-oriented, it is important to know the business climate and understand the mechanisms behind it. By religiously reading newspapers like "Women's Wear Daily" you will get a lot of valuable information. If you want to run your own business, you have to be extremely organized and at least learn the basics of economics.

Many fashion schools are currently multiplying business courses in their programs. "Our students need to be smart enough to know how to negotiate a contract or choose a business partner," says Mongo. Perhaps it's indicative of the fact that many successful creators today, such as Calvin Klein or Tom Ford, are involved in every aspect of the business, from licensing strategies to advertising campaigns to by the design of clothes.

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