Learn Fashion From The Pros

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.

designer 600 Learn Fashion From The Pros
Althea knows how to sew

AltheaHarper2 wf 500 Learn Fashion From The ProsI 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.

Gunnar Deatherage: Real Designer

GunnarDeatheridge2 wf 500 Learn Fashion From The Pros
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?

FSCCllquare300 Learn Fashion From The Pros
Let me know who your favorite designer is or what you think of the state of fashion today. I would love to hear from you.

 Learn Fashion From The Pros

About Jill

I write for the Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery blogs. I love sewing, vintage and would love to get a comment from you!
This entry was posted in Fashion School Crash Course. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Learn Fashion From The Pros

  1. Bunny says:

    I totally agree with you and definitely would define the Jenners and the Simpsons as consultants and untrained ones at that. The designs of Beckham and the Olsen twins have stood the test of time clearly show the difference their input makes.

    On a much more realistic level, today’s sewist has access to the traditional Big Four pattern makers as well as the hugely proliferating, blog based “designers”. The same opinion applies. There are those with professional pattern making training, the Style Arcs and Jalies, and there are those who take a class in using graphic computer software and believe this is all you need to make and sell patterns to the public and “design”. Like Jenner, they won’t usurp the Big Four or Style Arc and many will “grow” out of the trend as their life circumstances change. I do think they will be around for a while however.

    • Jill says:

      Oh boy, don’t get me started. That is a whole ‘nuther post. But, agreed. A pro pattern maker is going to stand the test of time too!

  2. Jill says:

    Glad you liked the Monica Bravo tutorial! Yes, the designer vs not a designer bugs me. A lot people have no idea the hard work that goes into it. And, as you follow PR, the mega-success is still hard to claim even if you are a winner. And by mega success I mean by what we outwardly judge as success: stars wearing the designs, being shown at fashion week, winning awards, etc.

  3. Jill says:

    But I want to also say that I appreciated your remarks about the difference between folks who come up with an idea for a design and those who actually turn that idea into a real garment from taking detailed measurements, size it for women of all proportions, select the fabrics that work correctly for the cut, construct the individual pieces that are beautiful inside and out, and make the final adjustments for the individual wearer. In Project Runway, we have seen the folks with only ideas (or sometimes just one idea) and the folks with the ability to deliver products on a timeline. Thank you for acknowledging that hard work, practiced skills and good concentration on the total design to delivery makes a true DESIGNER!