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Tips & Advice for Breaking
into a Career as a Fashion Designer

For many women, becoming a fashion designer is a lifelong dream.We all love to wear beautiful clothes and make ourselves feel good from the inside out.

We often imagine what it feels like to actually make money doing something this great: dressing people up and making them feel good, models catwalking the runway gracefully to showcase our designs, stylists working frantically at the backstage and we are introduced as “the designer” at the closing.

Ah, pretty tempting, indeed, but somehow it feels so surreal. Can I actually become a fashion designer?

Despite the misconception that only those who graduate from New York prestigious fashion schools can make it big in this highly lucrative and competitive field, many fashion designers literally work their way up working from home.

Karen and Warren Hipwell, for instance, started and still operate design studio from their residence in Massachusetts. Despite their humble start, now their products are sold in 110 retailers nationwide. Pure luck? Think again.

You, too, can become a fashion designer even if you have never worn “designer” clothes, don't have a fashion degree, can't draw or sew, and live far away from New York or Los Angeles. These are no more than myths. Let me briefly explain them to you.

Myth One: I have never worn “designer” clothes.

Reality: All clothes, including those in your closet, are designed by fashion designers. Many people confuse designer “collection,” which means high-priced seasonal line designed by top designers, with “the person” who designs clothes.

Myth Two: I don't have a fashion degree.

Reality: Unlike the medical professions, which require extensive classroom and hands-on training, you can learn how to design anywhere. No special education is needed. You'll be surprised to know that many established designers don't have any special training.

Myth Three: I live far away from New York or Los Angeles.

Reality: While NY and LA are great places to find an internship position with established designers, fashion is a part of life and fashion designers can be found everywhere. Whether you live in a city of millions or a town of 10,000, there must be at least a few local fashion designers.

Myth Four: I cannot draw or sew.

Reality: Nobody knows how to sew at the beginning. Strong motivation and perseverance are more important than how well you can draw or sew. Such skills can be learned easily (including using some free resources and by visiting online sewing forums).

Myth Five: I don't feel comfortable working in a high-profile industry.

Reality: Well, this glamorous image is no more than the most over-rated trait of the fashion industry. This image is created by the media with the help of fashion publicists and marketers to boost sales. Thus, the purpose is pure business. The better the coverage, the better the sales will be. Fashion designers work very hard for 18 to 24 months to deliver the best designs of the season.

Now you're ready to plunge into this often-misunderstood field, here are some tips:

  • A fashion designer is an artist and an entrepreneur in one. Why? Because if you design in the name of art without considering the marketability, it's very likely you won't be successful. Many designers fail because of this.

  • You can choose your design specializations from a long list of classifications, such as beach and leg wear. These are highly profitable products and relatively easy to produce compared with haute couture pieces.

  • Understand what your career goal is. You can choose whether you want to work for others or for yourself. Whichever one your choice is, apprenticeship is always a great option for new designers.

  • Keep up with fashon trends as well as haute couture designers Travel and read a lot to be informed and inspired. New insights will keep your creative skills fresh and ready to roll.

  • Persevere. Perseverance is the most important virtue of all because without it, nothing can be completed. Perseverance is your ticket to the peak of your career.


Jennie S. Bev is an author and the Editor-in-Chief of StyleCareer.com. StyleCareer.com publishes eGuides that help fashion job seekers breaking into and succeeding in their dream careers.


also see -> Tips & Tricks to Fashion Photography

New York Fashion Week

More about becoming a fashion designer around the Web:

Fashion Colleges and Schools

U.S. Department of Labor: Designers

 

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