I love fashion and I love learning about new designers, I have a short list of favorite designers both current and distant past. I also have strong opinions about what a fashion designer should know and learn in order to stand the test of time.
I strongly feel that to be a good fashion designer, one must know the fundamentals of sewing. A fashion designer doesn’t have to sew well, but a working knowledge of sewing should be required at even an elementary level.
I talked with one fashion designer, an excellent seamstress, who went to fashion design school and discovered that many of her classmates knew nothing about sewing. Apparently, it is quite common for fashion design students to draw out their designs and then take them to a professional seamstress to execute. They bring the finished item back to class, often times claiming they did the work.
If you follow fashion, you may be aware that Kendall Jenner is now a fashion designer and has never sewn anything and knows very little about sewing (admittedly too). This type of designer is becoming more common due to fashion corporations taking their cues from popular Instagram feeds and mainstream consumers.
Celebrity designers like Kendall rarely design anything that will be shown on the runway. When I say ‘design’ I mean that in the truest sense of the word. More often than not, they’re acting like consultants, picking colors, fabrics etc. for the already designed items. There are a few exceptions.
The Olsen twins and Victoria Beckham come to mind. They are fashion designers and are very much a part of the actual design process. Another distinction is these three are less about being a celebrity brand but have reached into the higher echelons of the fashion industry, winning awards and accolades from industry experts. This cannot be said for Adam Levine who is a ‘fashion designer’ for Kmart. Perhaps the title fashion consultant would be more apt for these celebrity ‘designers’.
The idea of being a fashion designer has risen due to television shows like Project Runway. But what’s edited out is all the hard work these up-and-coming designers go through. Fashion school is not all glamour and fun. It’s actually a lot of hard work and even math (yes! math).
Will the Kendall Jenner’s of the fashion world usurp Dior, Givenchy and Chanel their place in art and fashion history? Never.
I had the pleasure of meeting many of the designers from the Fashion School Crash Course series. I loved geeking out over fashion, design and, of course, sewing. They have an incredible amount of knowledge about their craft.
If you’re planning a career in fashion or are even a little bit curious you should ask yourself: would you rather learn from someone who knows very little about the subject or from someone who has a strong working knowledge of the all the ins and out of the topic?