Written by: Victoria Lee
Things to know about an industry before entering. One, do your research. Two, talk to people within the industry. Three, play around make some mistakes. I understand it doesn’t always happen like this. Sometimes people are thrown into industries learning as they go, but this would be ideal. Before I fully submerged myself into the fashion and entertainment world. I was lucky enough to be a part of a community called Fashion Talks Miami, check it out on IG here. The purpose of the community was to and still is, to educate individuals on fashion and bring together all types of creatives. Truly knowing if you want to be present in the industry.
I will start of by saying the fashion and entertainment industries are tough cookies. Yes, both can be very competitive and cutthroat, but always remember. What is for you, is meant for you in this life. So, in layman terms focus on your path and how to be better at what you do; everything else falls into place.
Anyway, back to Fashion Talks Miami. We were freshly out the COVID pandemic at least here in Miami and starting to get out and explore again. Fashion Talks decided to have their annual in person event to help get creatives back into the swing of things. I was newly getting into the industry and felt it would be a perfect opportunity to network, so event planning here I went.
It took a whole group of us coming together. We had a fashion production company, fashion designers, and fashion stylist involved. We discussed for a whole month on how to lay things out and plan the event. I was in charge of the speakers, didn’t know it as this time but my interviewing skills were about to come into play. I was in charge with making sure they were comfortable, feeling special and ready to be on a live panel.
The day arrived and I was to take care of three speakers, stay with me. The first speaker arrives his name was Daniel he does a lot with fashion licensing. I kept him busy by talking to him and in between checking on the other speakers, while getting things set up. Then one of major designers shows up with an evening gown for display, and she was Kimaya McPherson. She was a bridal and evening wear designer with beautiful voluminous designs. The second fashion designer and probably one of the key focal point of designers arrived. He had been on Project Runway season 19. Now, keep in mind at this time I had never watched any of the Project Runway seasons. Which if you are wanting to be a fashion designer it’s a great learning tool. However, the designer was Dope Tavio who specializes in punk rock and hip-hop streetwear. As they arrived, we set up both of their designs on mannequins, and I got them comfortable in the back area of the room before the panel.
Now, was my time, time to discover the secret sauce of fashion. No one really knew it but during that time I had just recently launched my own clothing line called Uniquely Victoria. I was dying to know how to be successful in the fashion industry. So, we all started to talk among ourselves trying to get to know one another. Here is where the interviewing skill came into play. I started drilling them with questions, at first, they were happy and thought how nice it was I getting to know them, which I was. But then, as I continued, they asked “is this our pre-warm up interview? (with laughs) Are you getting us ready for the panel?” However, that is just my nature I like getting to know people and asking tons of questions. They were grateful because both were nervous about the panel and speaking. So, in my own way I did prepare or warm them up for the live panel – job accomplished.
During my pre-warm up interview, here is what I learned from both designers:
Fashion takes major creativity, passion and out the box thinking. Most people have creativity in them, but in fashion you must be creative along with structural. When I say structural you must understand how the body and fabrics work together. Most designers try to create something that has never been seen before, but in actuality most things in fashion have been done in some version or another.
Most designers have a curvy path. They typically will go work in other creative areas like interior design, graphic design, or modeling like these two. However, they knew since they were kids that they were in love with fashion and wanted to do design.
Passion if you don’t have a strong passion for fashion, you won’t make it in this industry. Although, fashion is a business you have to treat it more than that. You have to understand your designs will resonate with some niche market, but it may take time.
Community oriented – by this I mean niche market oriented. Fashion, apparel, clothing however you want to phrase is. Is all over-saturated, there are very limited non-broken into markets within fashion. So, it is very important that you as a designer understand what type of person you are designing for. Is it the misfits, the bolds, the preppies or the brides. That is something you need to grasp.
Toughness! Not everyone is going to love or understand your designs. The fashion industry is beyond opinionated watch project runway for a perfect example. You have to be able to stomach critique and still have confidence in yourself and your designs to make it in this industry. Knowing that one collection or design maybe hideous and the next one amazing. Believe in yourself!
Expensive having a fashion business is not cheap. From buying fabrics, accessories to photoshoots. You then have to learn to market it all whether you use money or pure creativity, majority will cost you. You have to pay for everything in fashion before getting a return.
What I’ve learned, there is definitely more to fashion than just the glitz and glamour, honestly. It’s a lot of pressure, work and navigating muddy waters. I don’t preference it exactly like The Devil Wears Prada or Project Runway, that’s more for dramatic affect. However, those both do have a somewhat concept of how the fashion industry is. Fashion is very fast paced so get ready, hopefully this helps and good luck on whatever journey you choose.
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