So it's pretty clear that yes, I am a fashion design major. Kent State University Fashion Institute to be exact. Great program. If anyone wants more details about the school in general, feel free to message me. Anyways...like any other major, it is obvious that this is not for everyone. The following is a guide that will help you if you are:
a. A prospective fashion student: you plan on attending fashion school be it Kent, FIT, FIDM, Parsons, etc.
b. A high school student still unsure of where they want to attend/ what they want to pursue, yet are considering a fashion design degree.
c. My favorite. A fellow fashion student like me whose daily life is a struggle between sleep and homework, deciding "what's more important? Drawing or draping?". "Wanna go to the football game?" Can't. I have to make a dress before class Monday. "Do you have a boyfriend" Lol. I'm married to a dress form. How have we not changed our majors yet? Because we love what we do and we can take criticism better than contestants on Hell's Kitchen.
So here are some valuable life tips regarding a fashion degree:
1. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT YOUR FRIEND:
What you ask? Well think about it: we're females. We love to post EVERYTHING. That wedding dress that you just designed in your sketch book that looks amazing that you just posted to instagram? Yeah guess what. Everyone saw it and now everyone's gonna copy it. If you draw/ make something amazing, keep it to yourself and reveal it when the time is right. You really think Karl Lagerfeld is e-mailing Donnatella Versace his designs for A/W 2015? Hell no. So why would you? Well, that's exactly what you're doing when you post your outstanding, one of a kind work. Bragging gets you nowhere, send it down the runway and let the press do the bragging for you.
2. FIND OUT IF THIS MAJOR REALLY IS FOR YOU
Fashion design school is not pinterest. "Having a passion for designers" or "liking clothes" or "passion for shopping" is not a valid excuse to go to fashion school, sorry. This program is not for everyone. Unless you don't mind sacrificing your time, money, and social life, everyone's going to pass you right up. Yes, we make mood board, yes we design our own lines. But don't forget that 85% of the work that goes into a killer design is the technicalities and THIS is why we don't sleep: think there isn't a difference between Pantone 630C and Pantone 640C? Oh, there is. You're supposed to do 1/2 ease, but oops, you only did 1/4". Is that ok? NO. Redo! Did you shade your figures hand wrong? If so, not-redoing it isn't even in our thought process. And don't EVEN try to trace a pattern off-grain, It's the nitty-gritty stuff like this that seperates fashion design majors from the rest, but it will all make you just a better designer four years later. That's why it is key that you find out if this major is really for you. How upsetting would it be if you were making your final collection out of muslin a month before you graduate and think "actually I don't want to do this for the rest of my life". That would be sad.
3. HOPE YOU ARENT TOO ATTACHED TO THAT SMALL TOWN
This statement can be debated. However, if you plan on working for someone like Chanel or Louis Vuitton or Christian Louboutin, you have to get to a big city where there's lots of street fashion, diversity, inspiration and umm...shopping. Yes you have to want to consider locating to a larger city: New York, Chicago, Pheonix, Los Angeles, etc. Unless you're designing camo gear, you probably wont find many jobs in North Dakota or Wyoming. HOWEVER I said this can be debated because it all depends on which area of design you want to go into. Me personally, I want to go into couture illustration , so I need to get my butt to New York ASAP.
4. PRONOUNCE IT RIGHT, PLEASE
Don't be that person that shows up to class pronouncing Haute Couture like "hot couture". *Facepalm! Here's a quick guide to pronunciation:
Haute: oat. think like oatmeal.
Louis Vuitton: LOO_E VWE_TAHN. Don't give me that Louis like St. Louis, Missouri crap.
Croquis: French word for "sketch" refers to a 10-head illustration. Pronounced CRO -KEY.
Pret-a-porter: High-end ready-to-wear. PRET- A- POR-TAY
Bvlgari: I hear this one wrong all the time. BUL-GAR-REE with an accent on the U.
^I'm sure there're more I just cant think of them right now.
5. YOU'RE NOT GOING TO MEET YOUR MAN HERE
Some girls go to college in hopes they will meet prince charming and be happily ever after. I am not saying you won't meet your man in college, I'm just saying, don't expect him to be some kind of Burberry CEO fashion design major like you. The chances of meeting a future husband that is a fashion major is like totally non-existant. I think you have a better chance at dating Ralph Lauren than you do meeting Mr. Right in your sewing class. Want to hear another bummer? We're fashion majors: we don't have free time. That means no time for dates =( awwww.
6. ONE WORD: CRITICISM
Be ready for the criticism and know how to take it. You will have teachers say your drawings blow chunks, you can't sew to save your life, etc. Don't let it define you, everyone views things differently. Just use the criticism they gave you as positive re-inforcement that your next project will just be that much better. Use their criticism to better yourself and beat them at their own game. People criticized Marc Jacobs 15 years ago for sending grunge down the runway. Now look at him: grunge is reaching a peak for yet the third time and the man in a millionaire 15x over with everyone from P. Diddy to Martha Stewart wearing his clothes. Also, be ready for your blood to boil when non-fashion majors say "Oh, so fashion design is pretty easy, right?" or "so what do you plan on doing with that?". Be ready. These people walk amongst us.
7. KNOW YOUR WORTH: ALL GRIND, NO SLEEP.
If you do have the guts, glory, and talent to stay in this major, you will absolutely love it and it will be the best 4 years of your life. Don't let a few bad grades/ nasty criticisms define you. I'd totally be lying if I said I never thought about switicing to something more practical. However, if I did, I would kick myself in the ass possibly for the rest of life since this is our careers we're dealing with. Just don't give up. You just have to love what you do and then everyone will see it. The day you doubt yourself/ your designs is the day everyone passes you up. Just stick to your guns and remember: no crying in fashion and no guts, no glory.
Happy designing =)