I just knocked out “Thinking Like a Designer,” the second section of the ten-week course in Fashion Industry Essentials with Teen Vogue & Parsons School of Design. I’m not going to lie — when I first saw the theme, I thought, “Hmm, designing…this isn’t really the direction I see myself going in.” I wasn’t sure if I would take as much from it as I did from the first part. But wow, was I wrong. Now I understand that designers are so central to everything about fashion. Whether or not you see yourself designing, it’s important and interesting to understand how designers think. I believe the more you understand and appreciate them, the more your career in the fashion industry will blossom.
It really became clear which of the students in my class are budding designers. These assignments involved much more creativity than last time, and I haven’t had this much fun doing assignments since art class years ago.
Four weeks into the course, I feel like I’m figuring out the area of the fashion industry I see myself working in. I know the skills I need to be successful and I’ve gotten advice straight from industry professionals who currently have my dream jobs at fashion companies like Gilt, the Accessories Council, and — yes — Teen Vogue.
The most valuable things I’ve learnt from this section of the course:
- Inspiration is everywhere – This section of the course has opened my eyes to all the different things in my daily life that spark ideas and act as inspiration for things I create. The same goes for designers, they reflect what is happening around them in the world in their collections each year. It’s crazy to think that all of the clothes we wear start with a flicker of inspiration which then turns into an idea and eventually a collection of designs.
- Be clear about what you want to create – As I progress through the course I’ve learnt the important of being consistent with your creations. This is particularly important for designers but can be applied to many areas of the fashion industry. In a business where visuals are so strong it is so important to have a strong and clear visual identity.
- Big companies start as small creative ideas – This course has every piece of information you would need as a new designer to learn how to showcase your inspirations, your ideas and your designs in a portfolio that can be used to present to potential buyers. It also helps upcoming designers learn how to market themselves by creating a strong visual style and identity. Teen Vogue along with many renowned fashion designers such as Rebecca Minkoff prove that success will follow hard-work & creativity.
- Leave it to the professionals – LOL, as much as I have enjoyed dabbling in designing, I definitely do not have the skill set to be a designer. As Amy Astley, the Editor in Chief of Teen Vogue, said “Even if you don’t have the specific talent to be a designer, the more you understand and appreciate them – the more successful you’ll be!”
After completing the second part of the course, I feel much more in tune with how the industry works. Like I said, designing is something I had little experience in before, and even though I know I won’t be the next Coco Chanel, I understand that the mindsets of designers and the production process is so important. This course brought me virtually into a design studio where I got to witness firsthand garments being constructed and manufactured. Some of the skills I learned in this course are things I can see myself always referring back to in my future career in fashion.
Photos by Edelle Kenny @edellecarmelkenny