Millie’s Guide to Fashion Design
Love dressing and styling? Consider doing those professionally! Find out exactly what a career in fashion looks like from people that have already gotten into fashion.
Millie heard from four professionals in sustainable fashion design in Millie’s Guide to Sustainable Fashion Design panel. This article will focus on the fashion side, as the panelists have done in the panel.
Our panelists were:
- Jillian Carey Colin: Design and Visual Communications (BA) at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (‘17), Founder and Owner of Trouve Moi Vintage
- Lianne Trowbridge: Fashion and Apparel Design (BA) at Istituto Marangoni (‘18), Project Lead at The Sustainable Angle & Fashion Design Tutor at Istituto Marangoni
- Andrea (Navarro) Rebolledo: Fashion Business (BA) at Istituto Marangoni Paris (‘18), Co-Founder of FREEFORM CULTURE
- Ali Hendra: Philosophy and Sustainability Studies (BA) at Concordia University (‘17), Retail Sales and Administrative Support Associate at Annex Vintage
What kind of people get into fashion?
There are many routes through which people enter the fashion world. Andrea, for example, was a bit introverted and enjoyed expressing their creativity and enthusiasm non-verbally, which got her to explore fashion. You might be undecided until the last minute like Jillian was, but figure out in the end that your passion and interests lie in fashion. Lianne actually comes from a scientific background, which is unusual for many people working in the fashion field. Ali had a similar experience, as she studied Philosophy and Sustainability Studies in university.
As obviously demonstrated through our panelists’ experiences, it is not always the case for students to know exactly that they want to study fashion and start preparing early. Hence, even if you aren’t studying fashion formally, find the best choice available for you, for instance, taking fashion-related courses, or building your own portfolio.
What do you have to study to get into fashion?
Basically anything. Here’s what our panelists mentioned about how they benefited from their degree in terms of their fashion careers.
For Andrea, taking Fashion Business at university meant an opportunity for her to gain confidence and determination in what she wanted to do. Her degree taught her fashion, as well as other areas like finance and marketing. She also learned how to realize a vision, and getting used to this creative process has been extremely helpful in her career.
Lianne studied Fashion Design, and in her university, this was a broad degree that offered the students an opportunity to learn a broad range of skills and knowledge. This meant that she could design the course based on the niches they would like to delve into, and it prepared Lianne for her current path.
Ali has a Philosophy degree, which helped her become more proficient in communicating. Her degree was rigorous about deadlines but flexible when it came to selecting electives; Ali was able to take various art and design electives at university. Ali believes that her degree was the source of the confidence that drove her to pursue fashion that seemed completely unrelated to her major.
The degree itself is important in terms of how early on you can start planning your career in fashion, but you can realize your passion for fashion at any point in life. As Jillian emphasizes, the point is that you must try! Don’t be afraid to go through trial and error, as it is just an additional step for you to find what you truly love.
“The degree itself is important in terms of how early on you can start planning your career in fashion, but you can realize your passion in fashion at any point in life.”
What can I do to prepare for a career in fashion?
The best way to assimilate into the fashion industry is to get internships. During fashion weeks, for instance, there are many showrooms open that need people to contact the buyers, liaise with the models, and organize the clothes. By helping out, you will gain soft skills, such as client management and design insights. You can also gain a general idea of how the fashion world operates.
Another important takeaway from these experiences is network. You will be able to meet various people working in the fashion industry, and just by keeping in contact with the buyers, designers, and models you meet, you will have a much easier time finding future opportunities. The final point that our panelists mentioned about internships is that they were a perfect opportunity for them to decide what they wanted to specialize in the future, which is a difficult decision to make just by being in lecture halls.
“Internships can help you gain soft skills and network, which are extremely useful in your career in fashion.”
If these showroom internships are not accessible to you, try attaining extracurricular experiences. This was the case for Ali, who did not study fashion at university. She, in fact, gained experience by working in costume design and styling for theater.
You can also simply work anywhere fashion-related. Jillian had an interest in sustainability and worked in Lush, which focused on sustainable skincare, as well as luxury retail. These taught her how much she loved selling things and informed her career choices. You can think of the work experiences as a journey for you to find the best future path.
“You can get any kind of fashion-related work experience; think of them as a journey for you to find the best future path.”
If today’s article was interesting for you, look up Bethany Williams, who’s a London-based sustainable fashion designer. He is well known for using waste for his clothing collections, and his designs have inspired many designers to consider sustainability as a part of their work.
Our panelists share more stories about the shocks and caveats of sustainable fashion, as well as the reasons why they couldn’t but end up in sustainable fashion - hear them in the full webinar.
For more environment and sustainability-related resources, visit our website, or view Millie’s Guide to Sustainability Careers and Millie’s Guide to Geography Degrees & Sustainability Careers directly.