Are you considering setting yourself up as a fashion designer? Do you have ambitions to conquer the world of couture? If you have lots of brilliant ideas, a strong creative drive and an excess of energy, you could have a go at breaking in to the competitive world of fashion design.
Coco Chanel, the celebrated French couturier, achieved great fame as a clothes designer, but she came from humble origins. How was it possible that a poor girl from the provinces managed to establish herself as one of the most famous names in fashion?
Well, if you are interested yourself in setting up your own fashion empire, you may be fascinated to learn that Coco Chanel learned the basics of sewing and garment creation in her teens whilst under the guidance of nuns at the convent of Aubazine, in central France. Right from the beginning, Chanel understood the practical basics and mechanics behind clothes design, identifying early on what worked. Her use of Jersey fabric in high-fashion outfits was ground breaking and became popular quickly with the Parisian elite for its softness, flexibility and practicality. Later, she was able to translate her seamstressing skills to her Paris haute couture collections, where sublime design and fine fabrics combined to create stellar fashions, stunning the staid Parisian clothing scene. Her success story is inspiring because she lacked any formal design qualifications, yet survived on an innate taste and skill that allowed to build up a global empire that continues to thrive today.
Formal qualifications or hands on experience?
Fashion design qualifications are not necessarily the be all and end all of success in this line of work. One of the most important skills is the ability to visualise designs and then render them accurately and in detail on paper. Add to this the ability to communicate your ideas verbally, strong team working skills and a solid grounding in the practical side of garment production. Higher education courses covering fashion design will have additional modules covering marketing, business management, costing and budget flow and forecasting – and whilst such topics are useful, they are also something you could pick up along the way, working for other fashion houses. An internship with an established fashion designer will teach you about the business from initial concept to finished product in the shops, so if you have the opportunity to do such a thing, grab it with both hands.
Keep the ideas flowing
Fashion designers need to nurture an entrepreneurial streak and be unafraid to test out fresh ideas. Fortunately, the risks attached to such endeavours have been scaled down considerably with the advent of modern manufacturing processes. Working with companies that enable you to design your own t shirt open up a wide creative world to explore, at minimal risk. Translating your ideas into actual products, whether you design your own t shirt using screen print methods or embroidery, or put together a whole collection of clothes, today you can access the type of manufacturing fire-power on a scale to suit you, that previously would have seemed unimaginable. Whether you are selling clothes to friends and family, on a market stall or online, the reality of your fashion collection can now be facilitated by cutting edge garment printing services. Investigate what’s out there, you will be pleasantly surprised at the options, and where they may lead you artistically and financially.
If you are overflowing with artistic talent and brilliant design ideas, you really have an edge over the competition. Because know this, there is a lot of competition in the fashion design business. People consider this line of work to be very glamorous, and this attracts many bees to the honey pot. To stand out in a crowded and competitive market, you need to develop strong networking skills, good interpersonal skills and a real desire to succeed. Add to that unmatched management and organisational prowess, an almost super-human stamina, a well honed instinct for future trends and an unrivalled commercial acumen, and you should be doing okay. At the end of the day, your business succeeds or fails on the quality of the product and if you can sell it. If you can create something the market wants, you are onto a winner. And if in doing that, you manage to satisfy your artistic and creative ambitions, and preserve some of that initial passion that pushed you along this road in the first place, then you will be the envy of fashion designers everywhere.