Here’s What You Need to Know
Being a fashion designer requires more than having a keen eye for style. Even if you are a burgeoning fashionista, the industry is highly competitive. Landing a job as a designer is no easy feat. Whether you are fresh out of high school and embarking on your career or have been working for several years and are ready for a change, there are several things you need to know if you want to be a fashion designer.
From spending some time working in retail to using wholesale t-shirts as the basis for your first designs, here are a few tips and suggestions for anyone who is thinking about entering the fashion industry and pursuing a career as a designer.
Working in Retail Is One of the Best Ways to Break into the Industry
While it isn’t mandatory, spending some time working in a retail clothing store is one of the best and easiest ways to get your foot in the door when you want to pursue a career in fashion. Working in retail allows you to learn about the fashion industry and the steps that must be taken before a designer’s concept becomes a product that is available in stores.
Depending on where you work, working in retail could also lead to opportunities to meet designers and stylists. You might even get to rub elbows with celebrities and form connections with people who can help you out as you build your career.
Real-World Experience Is Better than a Degree in Fashion
There is no denying that going to school for fashion is beneficial. It is no substitute for real-world experience, though. If you are thinking about pursuing a career in this highly competitive industry, earning a degree is a great starting point. But if you only do that and don’t gain any experience in the fashion world, you are going to have a very hard time building the career of your dreams.
Interning at the right companies, studying seamstress work and learning how a garment is made is vital if you are serious about a career in fashion. You do not have to be great at sewing, but you do need to understand the process and why it is important. And, unfortunately, you cannot learn those things in a classroom.
Working with an Established Brand Is a Smart Move
Spending some time working with a well-known brand isn’t a mandatory step in becoming a fashion designer, but doing so is incredibly helpful. Working with a well-known brand provides an opportunity to boost your knowledge of the business of fashion. It also provides opportunities to meet and form connections with people who are already working in the industry.
Starting with a smaller brand and then switching to a larger one is an excellent way to learn the ins and outs of the industry. No matter where you are working at any given time, though, a willingness to work hard is crucial. Be passionate about what you do, and always be willing to accept criticism. Whether you are at a small company or a huge, well-known brand, use every day as a learning opportunity.
Being Proactive Is Crucial
As you start creating your own designs, you need to be proactive when it comes to contacting retailers. If you wait around for someone to notice you rather than reaching out to retailers and sending look books to their fashion directors, the odds of your work being noticed are not good. Even if you have previously reached out to a retailer without getting a response, keep reaching out every season. You never know when you might get the answer you are looking for.
Contact every shop and retailer that you feel would be a good fit for your aesthetic. And don’t focus solely on well-known shops and national retailers. You might get your big break by having your designs featured in a smaller boutique.
You Don’t Need to Spend a Fortune on Fashion Shows
Early in your career, there is no reason to spend money on fashion shows. While shows are a great way to draw attention to your brand and designs, it is better to start with venues that are willing to host shows for free or with minimal investment. Venues that have outreach teams and ask influencers and celebrities to attend shows are awesome, too.
As your career advances, make sure you are never spending more on fashion shows than you are making. The shows are glitzy and glamorous, but spending too much to participate in them is an easy way to put yourself out of business. Profitability should always be your top priority.
Understand That Working in Fashion Isn’t Easy
Being a fashion designer isn’t all about glamour. Just like entering any other business, it is a lot of hard work and requires a lot of dedication. Designers do much more than make clothes and have shows. They need to handle important business decisions, manage finances and collaborate with vendors. The fashion industry is a business industry, and it’s important to never forget that. Working in fashion and following your passion can be a lot of fun. But, you still have to deal with not-so-fun things. Like budgeting, advertising, taxes and all the other aspects of running a business.
If you want to be a fashion designer, be prepared to put in a lot of long hours and work every day to prove yourself. The industry is highly competitive. It takes a lot more than a degree from fashion school to build a successful career. If you think you have what it takes, are willing to put in the work, you could be the next big thing in the fashion world.