Q. I want to break into fashion, but I haven’t graduated school yet, and I’m married. But for the past few years I’ve been wanting to design clothing and have others wear them. Now that’s all I ever seem to talk about. I get so upset because nobody will help me, and I feel that I’m so lost, it seems as though it’s completely taken over me. Please help me on how I’m able to get my fashions out there. Thanks.
A. First question: are you in school studying fashion design? If not, why not if that’s your passion? If you’ve just realized that designing is your dream and you’ve still got some courses left, meet with an adviser about taking some marketing, advertising or business courses that will help you develop a plan on how to reach customers or employers when you graduate. Many colleges offer co-op opportunities that allow you to make money at a job and receive college credit as well. Or how about an internship? Either way, next question: do you know how to sew, make a pattern, drape a muslin? This is where the co-op or internship fits in. Work with a dressmaker, a tailor or seamstress in your city or town. Buy some patterns and visit fabric shops and start making your own clothes and see if you get compliments on the fit, color choices and fabrics. Take apart or reconstruct clothes you already own. Pay attention to detail and check out what other designers are doing each season.
Also, realize that not every great designer creates their own collection; many work for other designers to learn the business and build a resume. Many get those jobs with minuscule starting salaries. And there are many people who hold regular jobs, but become custom clothiers (meaning they can create great skirts, tops, dresses, etc. each season in different fabrics or customers go to them with specific needs) on the side until they can financially sustain themselves.
It’s great to be hyped up and excited about taking on a new career or challenge and remember, it’s your dream so go after it, but don’t assume that other people are there to give you a helping hand. Some people may be holding back on encouragement or giving support until they see you take steps towards actually realizing your goals. Do some research, good luck and stay jazzed about your dream.