Fashion Design: The Reality

Friday, December 16, 2016

Before you go to school, you go in to talk to a counselor and you're going to be promised bells and whistles like:

1) Your internship is going to be amazing, work along other fashion designers.
2) You're going to find a job, and we're going to help you when you graduate.
3) You'll have a network of people to help you start your career when you graduate.
4) We will teach you everything you need to know about the fashion industry.

No offense to the schools out there, but can you be any more wrong???

In my honest opinion, I've learned more on my own, than in school. With that said here is the reality:

1) Your internship is going to suck, and you probably will be a cashier helping a boutique that doesn't even have clothes yet. You can offer to make clothes for it, but the owner of the shop isn't even there to ask, she's working her other job to keep that store open.

2) I graduated in 2011, I have yet to find a job in the fashion industry. The school didn't help me at all. Right now I'm a CNA, before this I was stuck with a reception job. I have used the money from working to get the materials I need to start my own business.

3) You will graduate and you'll be on your own. The network at your school doesn't want to be bothered with you, and you're stuck listening to their voice on their voice mail. Why leave a message, they wont answer anyways. You're better off making your own circle of friends using Social Networking, with people who have similar interests, even better those you graduated with.

4) No, you wont learn everything you need to know. It's impossible. The school will teach you the basics, you need to teach yourself the rest. In my honest opinion, you learn about 60% in school. The rest is on you, especially if you want to be something in this business.

It can take YEARS, and I mean 5+ years to be recognized for the things you do. Your friends and family probably wont take your dreams seriously, and consider them a hobby. Don't get discouraged, my own family does it to me too, including my fiance. It's not that they don't care, it's just that they don't understand what you're trying to do.

I work my day job, and work an additional 8+ hours at home, sewing, social networking, eBay, Etsy, and more. Finishing your garment is just half the battle, trying to market it is way more harder.

Be careful with those around you. I worked with a girl before I graduated, we completed a few fashion shows, won first place, and guess what...She stole my designs, stole the final garments, claimed them as their own. She didn't even say I did everything, or we worked together or that she even knew me.  She just stood there saying "ohh I like that zipper," "another button will be cool." She never learned how to sew in school, she had people do it for her. I don't know how she graduated. Come to find out she moved out of state, ripped my designs at the seams, made new patterns out of them, and her and her sister now have a failed boutique that didn't make it past the first month. She even refused to give me the photographs of us at the fashion shows, It's like I never existed there. 

Just think about what you're doing. Every move should be calculated, and every person should be trusted. It's a long journey, prepared to get hurt, clean up the mess and do it better next time.

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