Being a fashion designer sounds like one of the most glamorous jobs possible, but the truth is it's a cutthroat business that takes tremendous talent and a lot of hard work. As the face of fashion is ever shifting, and designers play a game of musical chairs with fashion houses, it becomes evident how challenging the industry can be. If you're looking to make a name for yourself in fashion, who better to seek advice from than those who've established themselves in the field? We've rounded up words of wisdom from some of our favorite designers with their biggest tips for how to become a fashion designer. These lessons get them where they are today—successful forces in the industry with staying power.
Head below for sage advice on how to become a fashion designer, from our favorites.
"The main thing is to stay true to yourself as a designer. It's incredibly important that if you have the dream of having your own house, you don't pretend to be something you're not. Ultimately, it's unsustainable and people will see through. You have to work; you can't expect your dreams to be handed to you on a plate. And my advice is to approach the industry in a different way, come at it with some point of difference. We are at a stage when the fashion industry needs to be comparable with other design industries, whether with architecture or technology or furniture design. One has to listen to the new generations to think outside of the box." — Stella McCartney to WWD, 2014
"If you're designing your own label, then know yourself. When you become well-known as a designer, you give the world your taste. You sell your taste—it's no longer yours. You can only do this once. The DNA of your brand will become all your likes and dislikes. Once you hit the right chord, you'll then be typecast and often pegged into a certain slot. No matter what I do, I'm always pegged as the sexy designer who loves black. Miuccia [Prada] is the intelligent designer. Yves [Saint Laurent] was the delicate, suffering designer. And so on. So my point is, know what you want to say." — Tom Ford at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards dinner, 2013
"I never made a blueprint for my future and don't believe in setting rigid career goals. Career paths usually require a lot of trial and error, and you have to allow yourself the freedom to go with the flow. Sometimes you think you should go in one direction, but it doesn't work out or feel right. Occasionally, a better opportunity presents itself and you start over in a different area." — Rachel Zoe in Gillian Zoe Segal's Getting There: A Book of Mentors, 2015
"Having clarity. Knowing what you want. You don’t have to know how exactly to get there, but if you know exactly what you want, I think you figure out putting together the puzzle pieces and the layers. You figure out the journey, but you have to know what you want." — Alexander Wang to Business of Fashion, 2015
"I studied sculpture and architecture for four years before I moved into fashion. I loved Azzedine Alaïa [who had also studied sculpture] and I realized that I could express everything I wanted to say in fashion. But sculpture and art are in everything I do; they all work together." — Alessandra Facchinetti to The Edit, 2015
"Ask yourself: Do you want be famous or do you want to be a designer? Be honest with your answer, and if you really want to be a designer — and nothing else will satisfy — then you will probably make it. If you want to be famous, hope for a lot of people and money to be at the ready to support the cause!" — Thakoon Panichgul to Business of Fashion, 2015
Next up, take our quiz: Which fashion designer are you?
Opening Image: Getty Images