You know you’re destined to be a fashion designer if you: a) spent most of your childhood making clothes for your Barbie dolls instead of playing with your friends; b) read fashion magazines instead of your school books; c) ran a boutique out of your basement at age 10. In other words: if you want to be the next Yves Saint Laurent, it helps to be completely and utterly obsessed with fashion.
However, there are many aspects of the profession. Working as a fashion designer can just as well mean supervising a design team at a sportswear company as producing a label under your own name. Although the former career may not seem as glamorous as the latter, it certainly will make your life less stressful. To create your own label takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work. Not to mention living just above the poverty line for several years.
Choosing a strategy
There are as many different ways to embark upon a fashion career as there are styles of design. Ralph Lauren’s Polo empire was founded on a small tie collection that he sold to Bloomingdales. Helmut Lang decided to open his own clothing store when he couldn’t find a t-shirt that he liked. Michael Kors built up a network of customers by selling clothes in a trendy NYC boutique.