4 Success Tips to Be Your Own Fashion Designer

Boutique Business

Success Tips to Be Your Own Fashion Designer : If you want to make your own clothes or be a fashion designer on your own,these insights will help you.

You can be your own fashion designer. It helps to attend a good fashion designing school but even if you can not take time off from your busy life and still want to be a designer, you need some success tips. 

These tips are based on my experience of about four decades and I found them to be useful. I hope these are useful for you too.

To do anything in life, a commitment is necessary. It’s important to understand that you really want to do, what you want to do.

Things and emotions which arise out of an outburst or impulse are like a bubble. They fade out as soon as they are up.

Decide, if the Fashion Industry is Right for You

Assess your skills and personality honestly before pursuing a career in fashion design. 

You may love clothes but clothing is only one part of the story when undertaking fashion design. You'll also need - 

  1. excellent communication skills,
  2. a willingness to work very hard (often 24/7),
  3. a tough hide when criticized,
  4. an ability to cope with stress,
  5. openness to having many different clients and/or bosses,
  6. an acceptance that there will be loneliness or isolation on occasion (depending on how you set up your design business or career) and
  7. an ability to be a self-disciplined self-starter.

Being a fashion designer is probably for you if: 

  1. You want to devote your life to this career / vocation,
  2. you don't mind uncertainty or insecurity,
  3. you are willing to stand up for what you believe in,
  4. you have distinct ideas about what is important in fashion,
  5. you listen to clients well,
  6. you know the fashion industry inside out and
  7. you live, eat and breathe fashion.

Being a fashion designer is probably not for you if: 

  1. You can't manage stress well,
  2. you don't like uncertainty or instability,
  3. you want a career without too many highs or lows,
  4. you need other people to praise your efforts,
  5. you need a lot of guidance,
  6. you hate being financially unstable and
  7. you have too many other interests in life.

1. Find your reason

Find out Why you want to design and stitch. There could be different reasons for different people.

For a person like me, it was numerous futile visits to my tailors and ruined dresses, which motivated me to stitch.

For one of my colleagues, it was her odd body shape and her inability to explain to her tailors about her requirements, which propelled her to design for herself.

Your reason could be just anything. To show your creativity, earn money by sewing, to put your imagination into reality, to save on big bucks on designer dresses, face saver on a last minute party night, for using stacked up gifted fabrics or may be making a cute little dress for your baby or pet.

It could be anything but find your reason why you want to design a dress to get yourself motivated.

2. Set Goals

  • Set out some doable goals that you can attain a long way towards getting where you want to be.
  • Decide which designing field is your main interest.
  • You may need to start at the bottom but you do need to have some goals in mind as to the type of designing you want to undertake lifelong.
  • Are you interested most in haute couture, ready-to-wear, fitness/leisure gear, the mass market or niches such as swim wear?
  • Each has advantages and disadvantages that you'll need to explore before reaching your final decision on which pathway to pursue.
  • Within these major fields, you'll also need to decide on a few sub-set areas for your fashion design.
  • Don't over-extend yourself as it's better to perfect your designing within one area and then experiment when you've already got a good foothold in the industry.
  • Some of the examples are :Women's day wear, women's evening wear,Men's day wear, men's evening wear,Boys' wear and/or girls' wear; teenage wear, Sportswear/fitness/leisure wear, Knitwear, Outdoor, adventure, outerwear, Bridal wear, Accessories, casual, Costume design for theaters, movies, the advertising industry and retailers etc.

3. Get education or experience

  • While some people may make it in fashion design without a formal education, a formal education and training will put you in front of people who may be willing to employ you, or at least point you in the right direction. 
  • Invest in education, skills building, and building a resume that will get you where you want to be.
  • Get a degree in fashion design. Most programs are three or four years long.  You will study drawing, color and composition, pattern-making, and draping.

 In addition to learning practical sewing skills, you will also be working with industry professionals who may serve as important contacts in the future.

As mentors, they may give you first-hand advice and feedback on your work.

  • If you feel that real-world experience will be of more benefit to you, then find a fashion internship.
  • You will need to have an impressive portfolio to apply and be willing to start at the bottom; interns are often given menial tasks to do. 
  • Again, the connections you make through your internship or apprenticeship will be vital as you pursue your career in fashion.
  • Working with industry professionals will give you an opportunity to pick up important skills first-hand.

Once you have found your reason to design then decide what do you want to design.

  • Draw a human sketch. It need not be a perfect sketch. Just an outline of a human figure. No eyes, ears, nose etc. required.
  • If you can’t sketch at all then trace a human figure.
  • Now, draw the dress you wish to design on this figure.
  • Fill desired colors in the dress.
  • Use all your imagination to embellish your design.
  • Your design should be practically wearable.

4. Polish Your Skills

Many people think that fashion designing is an easy career and anybody can be a fashion designer.

But the reality is, you need to polish your skills regularly in order to be relevant in the industry. Therefore, it becomes highly important that you assess your skills, cultivate them and polish them. 

Successful fashion designers have a wide array of skills, including drawing, an eye for color and texture, an ability to visualize concepts in three dimensions, and the mechanical skills involved in sewing and cutting all types of fabrics

Besides, these are some of the skills you need to excel in the fashion world :-

#1. Be Creative, Artistic And Realistic

Creativity, artistry and imagination can give you the instincts necessary to turn raw materials into a beautiful finished product.

And at the same time, be realistic. That means recognizing that it's pointless trying to sell a lot of haute couture to people who only want career clothing in a semi-rural town while it's no good trying to sell bikini to the Inuit.

Remember too that seasonality impacts fashion designing and may have an impact on the type of clothing you're producing and where you wish to sell it.

Consider the power of online selling also.

#2. Learn Drawing

Strong drawing skills are a must in fashion, as designers need to be able to take a concept and get it down on paper.

If you're lacking in this area, you can take classes to practice drawing ball gowns, dresses, pants or whichever garments you envision yourself designing.

#3. An Eye for Detailing

It is often the detail that makes a product unique, so this skill cannot be overlooked, even if you're great at visualizing and drawing.

#4. Understand Texture, Color and Fabric

Design requires a good sense of texture, color, and fabric. For example, you'll need to know whether a garment would work best in silk chiffon or another material.

You'll also need to know which combinations of colors will be most flattering on a piece of clothing. It is these differences that make a design stand out.

Designer dresses are a by product of thinking from a different angle. They may not be unusually different but usual dresses with a different touch of color and texture.

Understand how fabrics move, drape, breathe, react when worn, etc. Your in-depth knowledge of fabric is absolutely essential to using it properly when designing.

Also know where to source materials from.

#5. Practice Visualization

Prior to the drawing phase, a good designer must have strong visualization skills. 

This enables her to translate ideas onto paper, so that her colleagues have a sense of the look she's aiming for as they work toward a finished product.

Learn how to create storyboards and product ranges.

Be good at researching trends through media, comparative shopping and trade shows.

#6. Develop Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Designing footwear, clothing, and accessories requires collaboration with colleagues. 

It also requires strong people skills. This not only helps designers encourage their teams but also enables them to effectively share their vision with colleagues.

#7. Cultivate Business sense

An understanding of the business world, including finance, sales, and marketing, is essential to becoming successful in the world of fashion.

Creativity is the essence of fashion, but without a good understanding of business, it is difficult to sustain a fashion brand and make it profitable.

Many talented fashion designers have ended up bankrupt because they had a poor understanding of fashion's financial side.

Keep yourself updated on the happenings in the fashion industry by regularly reading trade journals.

Many fashion design programs include courses in marketing.

If you've already undertaken a course but missed the marketing/financial side of things, consider doing short courses in these aspects of business.

Learn beyond design. 

#8. Create Competitive mindset

To create innovative designs, a competitive mindset is necessary. 

You should not lag behind the competition or follow their lead. You should be a trendsetter, and having a thorough understanding of the economy and the fashion industry will keep your ideas fresh.

Learn from existing designers, their backgrounds, their signature style, the learning that they undertook, where they studied. Knowing this will help you to borrow and build on their ideas.

There is always a 'gap' which you can fill by identifying existing supply of products.

Know your competitors. Always keep an eye on what other fashion designers in your area of interest are doing.

At a minimum, keep up.

Better still, surpass them while still meeting your customers' needs.

Trade fairs are an excellent place to develop deeper understanding of how the fashion industry works and what will work for you in terms of meeting customer needs and staying competitive.

#9. Ability to Work Well With a Team

A strong sense of collaboration and camaraderie between departments at a fashion house allows creativity to flourish and contributes to its overall success.

There is an entire supply chain involved in the fashion industry and you need to understand what each person's job is.

So, you can see things from their perspective too, in order to make compromises, meet demands and understand where things get held up.

Research what others do, such as buyers, merchandisers, pattern cutters, garment and fabric technologists, quality controllers, graders, sample machinists, sales people, PR and marketing people, fashion journalists, retailers, event organizers, fashion stylists and so forth.

#10. Learn Sewing

  • In order to run a fashion boutique, it’s not necessary to know sewing and all the nitty gritty of it but it helps a lot to understand the intricacies of a design, if you know sewing yourself.
  • Understand sewing / stitching basics. You can watch videos, read articles, take some sewing classes, take help from someone who knows stitching to help you with your maiden venture.
  • Measure, Cut, Stitch but don’t loose heart even if your first attempt does not give you desired results.

#11. Know your customer. 

This skill is basic and essential and a fashion designer must never lose sight of your customers' profile. 

  1. Know how much your customers spend,
  2. what their lifestyles are,
  3. where they like to shop,
  4. how they like to shop and
  5. what they like and dislike.
  6. Know what are absolute needs and
  7. what are the things that only get bought when disposable incomes are less tight.

If you have done marketing, you should have a solid understanding of how to work out customers' needs.

#12. Assemble a portfolio of your work.

Your design portfolio will be vital when applying to design jobs and internships, as it is your chance to market yourself and your work.

Your portfolio should display your best work, and highlight your skills and creativity.

Use a high-quality binder to show that you take yourself seriously as a designer. Include the following in your portfolio:

  1. Hand-drawn sketches or photographs of these sketches
  2. Computer-drawn designs
  3. Resume
  4. Mood or concept pages
  5. Color or textile presentation pages
  6. Any other pieces that fairly reflect what you're capable of doing and evolving into.

How to Avoid Boutique Disasters

# 13. Practice makes a Designer perfect

Devote hours of time to perfect your skills. A little bit everyday will make you gain an understanding of fashion on the long run. 

Sometimes, top designers achieve their great designs by accidents. Who knows, what you designed by accident could be tomorrows fashion fad.

But don't wait for accidents, keep perfecting yourself.

In some cases, being versatile will help you a great deal, just so that you get the experience and then jump across to your real passion later.

 And in most cases, you'll need to be persistent and apply to many different places to get your foot in the door.

For starters, some places to apply to include:Existing fashion houses and designers - look for internships, entry-level paid positions, assistants to designers, etc.

Costume positions with movie studios, theaters, costume stores, etc.Online advertisements through various online job agencies.

Word of mouth––use your college or fashion industry contacts to get you through the door. In an industry that values what people who already are well positioned have to say, this is a good way to get started.

In short, keep learning, unlearning and relearning. Good designers are not made in a day!

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