It’s 3 AM, and you just finished watching “Dior and I" or reading about the good old fashion legend Coco Chanel, imagining yourself in their place, doing something this artistic and inspiring. But once the morning comes, together with the sunlight hits that realization that these dreams will probably never come true. Because your relatives say that being a designer or creating your own business in the fashion industry is a waste of money, your “normal” job takes all of your time, so by the time you get back, you don’t want to create, you want to Netflix and chill. And when you do sit down and start doing something to get to your goal, there are another million reasons that scare you: you don’t have the right idea, you picked up the wrong degree, and now it's too late, you don’t have enough money to start, and what if you’re not cut out for this? The truth is that half of these intrusive thoughts are actually myths that should be debunked once and for all.
1st myth. You must have a degree in fashion
While education is surely important, only a very few out of a whole bunch of people are sure of what they want to do and what they should study from a very early age. So don’t beat yourself up for choosing to have a degree in economics or medicine instead of fashion. A lot of great designers and entrepreneurs didn’t have any formal fashion education, but that didn’t stop them. The famous blue pumps that were worn by a well-known fictional fashion icon Carrie Bradshaw were created by Manolo Blahnik, who originally studied law and languages, and later realized that he wasn’t destined for that career path. It was revealed that it took him ten years to master his craft and his source of education was… factories. Instead of focusing on this “flaw", think of ways how to use the skills that you already have to place yourself where you want to be. Besides, there are a lot of other ways how you can gain knowledge, experiences, and even connections. You probably already know what works best for you to learn things. Whether these are books, podcasts, (online) courses, or various groups, everything is useful if you know what you want and need. And for those who are scared that they won’t look serious enough without a degree when was the last time someone asked you to show your diploma?
2nd myth. You just have to start a brand, and everything falls into place
A lot of us heard that the best way to start something is by just doing things. While that sounds very motivating, and there are a few acknowledged clothing brands that were started from having a simple idea, a few important factors play in this equation that determine the success of a company. Ideas are crucial, but it’s not everything. They can’t be poured onto someone or somewhere and then suddenly, poof! You’re the next Patagonia. Even if we look closely at those rare phenomenon stories such as Nasty Gal, whose creator, Sophia Amoruso, began her business endeavors by selling old clothes on eBay, she started her work with a single idea – to sell vintage clothing. While some are lucky enough to rely on their funds, being able to hire specialists, who would cover certain areas in the business (such as sales, marketing, or production), very often, a monetary contribution isn’t enough to keep the brand successful if it doesn’t have a vision and strong back story. Creating something of your own takes time, research, and passion.
3rd myth. You need to be able to sketch to be a designer or brand owner, as you will spend most of your time designing
The quite sad truth about wanting to do what you’re passionate about and doing it by creating your path (starting a brand, opening a company) is that the minute you become in charge, you don’t get to do what initially drove you to the point you are now. Love to design? Now you are needed to find partners and clients, so your business could expand. Would want to find a minute to sit behind a sewing machine and make a quick sample, but you have no minutes as you need to find some funding to get that machine in the first place? In reality, it’s important to define your role as you won’t be able to be everything for everyone. I guess it’s quite hard to imagine Miuccia Prada sitting down and writing a press release after a show or counting how many garments were sold. Oh, and did you know that this great visionary never made a sketch?
4th myth. Manufacturer can produce any of your ideas
Often many ambitious people delay the start of their business and making their ideas come true as they don’t know where to start and how to do everything efficiently, imagining that they have to do most of the things by themselves. But what is great about working in the fashion industry is that you aren’t alone. You can’t be alone as the path you chose is often full of like-minded people and potential partners. And creating a fashion business means that you will hardly manage it without the help of manufacturers. While they are there to make your ideas come true, in reality, it’s not enough to just provide them with a simple garment sample to have a smooth clothing production. Despite the fact that you’re giving someone else the authority to make your idea have a physical appearance, your engagement in the process is crucial. Meeting with manufacturers and having your needs defined, timelines planned, and a budget calculated alongside ready tech packs prove that you are ready to realize even the wildest concept.
5th myth. Providing people with fast and cheap trends will make your brand sell better
Have you ever been to a restaurant that seems to have everything on its menu? They serve you burgers, alongside seafood, and noodles. While it might save you from bickering with your friends on where to go, as everyone has different tastes and preferences, what are the chances that the food they serve is actually good? The same could be applied to clothing brands that now want to be sustainable and needed by many customers. And this is when many brands shoot themselves in the leg by offering cheap and fast trends, thinking that customers will fall for those striped long-sleeve shirts and puffed jackets for a “friendly” price, and their shelves will soon be empty. If your goal is to become another fast fashion brand that is sinking the whole fashion industry, it might work. But offering the variety of products that customers have already seen won’t create an established business look. There is a saying that you can’t please everyone, and the same is applied in the fashion business. If you want to position your company as a trustworthy and high-quality fashion brand, you will have to think long and hard about who is your target audience before even starting to create the garments. Not every person can afford the Birkin bag, but the truth is that not everyone needs it.
There’s never a good time to start making your dreams come true, so you might as well start NOW. And if you need that nudge from someone, let us just say that no fancy fashion school or a fortune inherited from a prince will prepare you for what’s waiting, but it’s a journey worth starting. And if you do get lost, feel free to contact us for guidance