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February 1, 2011

From my mail box

Image via weheartit
 
I've recently received two similar inquiries, looking for an advice on how to be a fashion designer. I was really flattered that I was asked. Although I don't think I'm in the position to be giving advice on this, especially because I don't really consider myself as a "designer" (I'd like to be called "seamstress":) )I tried my best to give my honest response to the girls.  


This might bring some controversial discussion, especially regarding my opinion on fashion degree (I'm sure some of you will hate me..), but I decided to share it here. Any opinion and comments are welcomed!

In addition, I really recommend reading Gabby from Hopeless Lingerie's "Starting from Scratch" series.  I 100% agree with her opinion!


P.S. the girl's name has changed for privacy purpose. I do have her consent to share her email. 
 
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Hi,

My name is Christina, 14, and I was looking through some of your collection, and pieces online and I absolutely love them!
I hope to be a fashion designer when I am older and was wondering if you had any tips on how to improve.
I have made a few pieces, but your style is exactly what I love.
If you have any free patterns that I could start off with, that would be great too.

Kind Regards,
Christina

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Hello Christina,

Thanks for contacting me.  I am flattered and humbled by what you said....very much undeserved.  Any way I can encourage or help you is my pleasure.  I don't have any patterns but there are many online, for instance, burdastyle.com is a great site to go for sewing tips and some free patterns.

First let me say I do not do this full time.  I have a full time job.  Secondly, I never studied fashion.  Thirdly, good tools are important.  Fourthly, patience is key.  Lastly, Practicing the craft is the only way to produce quality fashion.
-On my first point, my company has been experiencing growth recently but it is certainly not something that could support me. I hope someday to do it full time but I am not sure how feasible this is.....in other words plan on doing this as a hobby/part time job in your free time as a start.  Find regular employment that will keep you fed and let fashion pay for your vacations :)  That is what my husband and I do. We both work and my Vivat Veritas money keeps us in the black with enough extra money to enjoy vacations and fun things like that.

-Secondly, let me be quite honest about degrees in fashion or majors in fashion, I really do not see the point.  At a fashion school you are not be taught anything that google tutorials cant teach you.  I have known many who have gone to fashion design schools, and many of them ended up working at a coffee shop. I recommend training yourself on how to make clothes.  If you are interested I can provide you with links and sites for self teaching.  I don't mean to sound harsh but I would recommend studying something like chemistry, law, math, education anything that can get you a good full time job upon graduation....fashion jobs are few and the vast majority do not pay well. 

-Thirdly, I recommend that as you have the ability buy good tools.  Invest in a good sewing machine and good serger.

- Fourthly,  I have been at this since 2008 and I didn't sell much of anything for the first 6-8 months.  Even now there are times when sales are just dry and all my stuff sits on the shelf.  That is how business works.  when sales come, be happy, when they don't, be patient and use the time to expand your collection and market.
I think opening an etsy shop would be a great idea for you to practice and see what response people have to what you make.  Criticism is your best friend.  Get making things, take criticism, define what you want your style to be and have fun doing it.  Study blogs you like, try to find ways to stay ahead of trends:)

Hope this helps any more questions feel free to ask.  I wish you all the best and will look forward to seeing how you grow, learn and expand over the next few years!

Chie

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6 comments:

Ai said...

this is a wonderful entry for the day chie. honestly, i just stumble upon your blog before but now i would say i am a fan of your site. It inspires me a lot. I was about to email the same thing but this entry today answers my supposedly queries.

having a 14 year old fan is really flattering and inspiring too.
kudos to u!

Cindora said...

I totally agree with your opinion of fashion schools, it's the same like art schools you normally learn the basics but not to survive with your works.

emmalemma said...

Thank you for this blog.

You are one of my favorite bloggers out there because you are so kind and honest and really comes through, even in blog posts.

Looking at your work and reading your blog always makes me happy!

Thank you!

::HARUNA:: said...

hi, chie!
I agree with you on the schooling, in any areas, actually... nowadays it's hard to get a decent job in your studied area unless you go to grad school... but one good thing I can say about going to school is that you can make lots of connections with people in the field you're interested in, and also that keeps you motivated and inspired. but you can do that anywhere anyway!
I've started reading this book called Creative Inc(she also wrote Craft Inc), which is on how to be a successful freelancer. it is a great source as many other great books on making your hobby into a 'real job'.

Susana said...

I have been following your blog for awhile and I just love everything you do. Your advice is great! I agree with your comment about Fashion Design school, you don't need to go to a school to be able to make clothes. Especially since most fashion schools focus on the aspects of design. I am attending a trade school, which I think it's much better than a "Fashion Design" school. The first week we were sewing, and those are the skills some so called designers lack.

vivatveritas said...

>Ai

oh that's funny that you were going to email me! what a coincidence that i decided to post it here..

im glad to be able to answer some of the questions you had:) xx!

>cindra

right..i ve known some friends who went to art school, who unfortunately could not find any employment. my undergrad is not related to my full time work either. if i were to go back to school now, i would have major something else! :p

>emmalemma

thank you so much! such an encouragement<3 xoxo

>haruna san

i totally agree. undergrad in the states had become like a high school diploma at this point.. if you want to have a career, you have to go to grad school most times. thanks for the book recommendation, i will sure check it out!!

>susana

thank you for following my blog:) and your comment! thats great you are attending trade school and learning how to sew:)