Back in July, I was invited by Hector Landrau, my long time friend and host for "Behind the Scenes" radio show, to have an interview where we can talk about my origins and life inspiration which as lead me to my adventurous career in fashion. Laundrau is very concentrated in inspiring entrepreneurs of the Hampton Roads to do more in their perspective industry and asked me interesting questions in regards to what preparation you need before becoming a fashion entrepreneur. I really hope that my answers were informative and helps prepare others in their field.
Is there any formal education needed in becoming successful fashion designer?
At first glance, getting a job in the fashion industry may seem exciting. It also may seem that there is a lot of money to be made in a career in fashion, especially if you have dreams of becoming the next Ralph Lauren, Steve Madden, Calving Klein, or Donna Karen. That romantic passion of becoming the next big top fashion designer needs to be justified with lots of hard work and dedication that it takes to become successful in the field.
When it comes to fashion, there are so many fields in which one may want to be involved with before they can find their true love as a designer.
Styling, visual merchandising, editorial styling, fashion journalism, fashion buying.
As a fashion designer, you must be extremely artistic and possess a great deal of creativity in order to be successful and stand up against competition. Courses in math, art, English, business, speech, and sewing can provide the foundation for a career in fashion.
I would recommend attending a school or college that focuses in art or costume design.
In my case, I always excelled in the arts while in middle school and high school. My art work was often placed in art galleries and competitions. Later in life, I graduated with a Bachelors in Fashion Merchandising.
Would you say you need some sense of skill? And how to develop it?
I would say, you need a sewing skill, practice, master it. When it comes to garment construction, you need to be able to have an engineer type of mentality in order to put pieces together like a puzzle. It is a lot different when we compare looking at a beautiful dress on a mannequin and making/ constructing this garment while it is made up of 10-14 pieces that are to fit on a curved body. That is where the puzzle solving skill need required.
How important is it to learn about the business of fashion?
It is extremely important to learn about the business of fashion. No matter what industry you get yourself into. It is always a good idea to have a clothing line. Whether you are an:
Whatever industry you are in, you have the possibility to have your brand displayed on someone. This is a piece of your art which could be whatever you want it to be. It could be a tank top with your logo or the name of your business displayed artistically, or it could be a clothing line full of separates made up of complex designs that truly describe your artistic side.
Are there various styles of fashion?
Yes, we all have our own fashion personality!
Glam Girl, Tomboy, Preppy Girl, Hipster, Vintage, Bohemian, Punk, Goth, Grunge.
We, especially females, we tend to mix and match, and not go through a set of rules of a specific style, we simply make our own.
What styles do you specialize in?
I don’t specialize on a specific style, I specialize in what my client’s specifications in their garment making. I have made from church gowns to bathing suits, but I enjoy the making of cocktail dresses. I adore the A line looks, fancy trimming, and embellishments that I decorate them with. I could easily become artistic while verifying with clients that this is what they want.
How did you know you wanted to go into the fashion industry?
Thankfully, as a child I was exposed to sewing studios. I remember staring at one of my family members making garments for her clients and I would be one of those children who will be next to her without saying word, just starring. I knew that my presence was annoying, but I stood there, and that’s how I started having an interest. I remember picking up the left over fabric from the trash and trying to dress my Barbie. At the age of 8, I made a set of socks for my neighbor’s baby and I made it out of an old top I had. I got in trouble for cutting it the way I did, but hey! They lived through it.
What does the term realistic mean to you?
In regards to fashion, the term realistic means looking at the industry from different angles in order to make conclusions that are reasonable. It is very important that if someone wants to get in the industry, they not only look at clothing from a consumer’s point of view, but know that there is a complexity in the making of these garments, marketing them, sizing them, choosing the colors that are suitable depending on the environment in which consumers live in. Trend forecasting is very important. You don’t want to make a clothing line that will not fit into the wants and likes of people.
Where do you fit in the industry?
I would say that as a designer seamstress. I fit in every single aspect of it. I am very much in love with my career and I have involved myself in the retail, marketing, visuals merchandising, and other branches of the industry. However, my strength is in garment construction.
Building relationships in this business, how important is that to you?
It is extremely important. Building a relationship with someone may lead you into having other connections that may possibly shape your career in ways that you may not even expect.
How does a designer know where the market is going?
Designers should always be looking at trend reports, attend fashion events, I am a big fan of NY fashion week. Trend forecasting is very important. When you do your research, then you have a better idea on what patterns and colors to add to your collection.
How has the internet and social media helped or hurt your business?
It has helped my business in a tremendous way. Having a website, facebook page, twitter, pinterest, gives an opportunity to people to be able to see the history of your business, your portfolio, fashion events, and simply updates. Also, you can sell your work online. I started selling my items on ebay and I made small profits at the beginning. When I learned the market, what people liked and the price range, my profit increased. Later, I made a blog and it was amazing to see the number of my page views go up as a matter of minutes.
Who are your motivators?
I have one main motivator. I owe it all to her. Back in 2010 I did my internship with DFS, and on a daily bases, I worked with one of the co-founders. I remember telling her that I wanted to make a collection that is inspired by the Incan culture. She shared her ideas on it. She said: do it!. I would love to see you succeed. One day she asked me to make curtains for her and alter a few pieces of garments. So I did. As we got to know each other while doing my internship, she advised me to get a business license and business cards. Later, she connected me to the right people. She has always pushed me to do more. I am very thankful that she led me into this path. She is such a special person, and I adore her.
How is the business of fashion, different from any other business?
I haven’t really been involved in any other type of business to make that determination, but from my experience I can say that the fashion industry is like an art that people wear and they adore you for it. Fashion designers are artists that are not afraid to show their talent. Fashion is like people. We are always evolving.
What role does fashion play in today’s entertainment industries?
The entertainment industry and the fashion world have been interlinked for hundreds of years. However, what probably started as getting dressed up for the theater has evolved into intertwined fortunes in which entertainment drives fashion, and fashion drives entertainment. Tv shows, cinema and music are not just outlets for creativity anymore, they have become outlets for fashion to such as extent that fashion, in some cases, has become the driving force behind the “creativity” of entertainment.