BY STELLA OKEMUO
If you have seen the film, “The Devil Wears Prada,” all of the myths about what it’s like to work in the fashion industry may seem true. However, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, that’s not the case.
The following are common misconceptions about fashion designers and the industry:
You must know how to sew
No, you do not have to become a seamstress to operate in the fashion industry. But if you really want to learn how to sew, then please go ahead. Just have it in mind that sewing alone does not guarantee you will run a successful fashion business.
The fashion industry is glamorous
Umm, I don’t think so. Don’t let what you see on the runway confuse you. Fashion Shows are not a form of entertainment. They are business tools for fashion designers, and a lot of (messy) work goes on behind the scenes than at the front of the runway.
You need to be able to sketch to be a designer
That may have been true once but now with computers, you can get design programs to develop a sketch. Or if you can, get an illustrator. Of course, it is better to learn how to sketch, so you can put your thoughts on paper. But if you cannot draw, then work with an illustrator.
Designers dress in designer clothes every day
Well, some do, but most can’t afford it. Some aren’t even stylish at all. They don’t all look like Victoria Beckham day-to-day.
You have to be very creative to be a fashion designer
Well, not really. Most designers get ideas through researching magazines, social media, and the runway. As a matter of fact, a lot of designers copy other designers and just tweak a few things. In the past, some of the biggest designers in the industry have been sued in court over intellectual property theft.
Everyone in the industry is skinny and does extreme dieting
While “skinny” has long been the status quo for fashion models, designers, and influencers, the fashion industry has evolved to be more inclusive. Major brands now feature curvy and plus-size models like Ashley Graham, Kate Wesley, in order to represent a realistic segment of the population.
You can learn all you need to know about fashion in a masterclass
First, you cannot learn everything there is to learn about fashion, and even if you could, definitely not in one masterclass. In fashion, you learn every day.
A fashion designer must be able to sew all kinds of clothes
Jack of all trades, and master of none? You must not design menswear, womenswear, corporate uniforms, bridal wear, at once in order to be successful. It is advisable to focus on one thing at a time before moving into another line. Giorgio Armani is famous for the clean, tailored lines of his menswear collections, Louboutin is known for his own line of women’s shoes, with bright red soles, Herve Leger is most famous for the brand’s iconic bandage dresses, Zac Posen is known for his red-carpet gowns and bridal.
You’ll have more time for yourself and your family
It is a demanding industry and that’s why it’s not for everyone. You may have to work overtime on some days in order to deliver results. Most designers experience lots of stress during fashion weeks. Being a fashion designer is sheer handwork. If you doubt it, watch Project Runway.
All designer items are expensive
This is really not the true picture. While some fashion pieces are very expensive, most fashion brands have items that are affordable to regular people. For instance, a Chanel suit may cost $2,000, while a Chanel perfume cost $150, a Versace boot may be $1,500, while a Versace perfume is $100. Designers understand that celebrities and socialites do not do red-carpet events every day, therefore, they have to diversify by producing pieces for regular people. Besides, some celebrities get free clothes for red-carpet events. So it would be unwise to depend on them.
All fashion brands are independent
This is not true. As a matter of fact, some fashion brands merge or operate under other brands in order to keep business afloat. The Versace and Jimmy Choo brand was acquired by Michael Kors in 2018, Rihanna’s fashion brand Fenty operates under the LVMH’s brand, Kate Spade was acquired by Coach in 2017. So please, don’t beat yourself up if the operating cost of your fashion business becomes too much, rather than go into massive debt, merge or operate under another brand if you can.