FUNDAMENTAL MINDSETS OF FASHION DESIGN STUDENTS
Today, I will guide you closer into the inner world of fashion design students. Below are the conclusions I’ve drawn from my own personal experiences as well as from my friends. I hope we can gain more of an understanding on this topic in this journey!
1. Worrying that you’ll fall behind others by constantly comparing yourself with them.
Fashion design is based largely on creativity, so there is no question that you will be surrounded by extraordinary creatives with seemingly limitless ideas, personalities and different styles. Perhaps before stepping into the world of fashion, anyone is subject to thoughts of worry and excitement, and a bit of hesitation.
But, worry not, because these thoughts are strongest only in the beginning. When you get used to the way things work, you will realize that no two personalities are the same, with different values and different ambitions so comparison is futile. Just be persistent and forward, and one day you will realize you are that special person you look up to.
2. The difficulty in finding your “signature style”.
In fashion design, one of the most important things to hone is your personal style and your creative dogma. If not, you will forever be perpetuated in a cycle of seeking inspiration from existing images online.
Back in high school, I would religiously use Pinterest for outfit inspiration, which would be a barrier to my design from gaining further depth and complexity. A year since then, I rarely turned towards the internet for inspiration and instead I just draw, draw and draw. After a while, I began to notice distinct features amongst my drawings and the clothing forms that I have a natural inclination towards. I am especially fond of design that places emphasis on “volume” (large shapes, eccentric forms, unconventional lengths and widths)
That is why we need the process of Research and Development (R&D) beforehand to understand your design process better and to restrict yourself from being dependent on secondary, online sources.
3. Being aware of criticism and competition in taste and aesthetic judgement.
Many prospective students will find themselves worrying over an anticipated competitive environment in fashion school where students will constantly discern each other’s unique styles. You may be anxious that your work will not be as “up to date” as theirs. However, this is completely untrue because every industry will have different types of people. In my school and workplace, everyone around me is civil and gracious and kind, always ready to lend a helping hand and everyone’s personalities are treated with utmost respect. This is the exact drive to fuel my passion for work.
On the general competitive aspect in fashion, it cannot be denied of its existence, especially when it comes to brand competition. But, if it is healthy and necessary competition, you need not worry yourself to death. I will discuss the competitive aspect of the fashion industry in further detail in later articles.
4. Sleep deprivation, feeling overwhelmed and burned out and setting healthy boundaries on the chain of deadlines.
Perhaps at this point in the article, you will find yourself relating to this statement. When you were younger, you would think fashion is drawing intricate and lovely designs on beautiful models. Only after studying fashion are you truly in awe of the aunties at sewing workshops…
I will never forget the long, unending days where I carried the kit, fabric and paper all in my arms while hauling my tote bag, which includes my sketchbook, paints and laptop that all put a strain on my shoulders. As exam week nears, there are nights where I didn’t sleep a wink just to finish a sewing project or complete a sketchbook page. Those days were the pinnacles of my caffeine dependency.
Why do I fail to set boundaries for myself when deadlines approach? In reality, if you don’t get to work on them every single day, they won’t wait for you any longer… SInce the first day I studied design, I no longer considered 4-5am as late…
5. Being nitpicky over spendings on your process to complete projects.
No matter how passionate you may be about fashion, there is an avoidable truth that you will have to, at some point, withdraw money from your own pockets to complete assignments, whether that includes completing a sketchbook, printing, sewing materials and planning photoshoots. If you have graphic design skills (using Photoshop, AI or Procreate, you may be able to save heaps).
This is one of the most common reasons why you may be unable to pursue fashion in spite of your passion. That is why I created THE FASHION ALLEY, with the purpose of sharing my experience and perspective to everyone who has a deep interest in fashion but are still beginners or unable to afford what the major demands.
6. Self-consciousness about your drawing skills.
Many prospective fashion students have come to me eager to pursue further education in this field but hesitant because of their “lack of drawing skills”. To that I would always say: “do it nonetheless!” There are countless respected fashion designers that, despite being able to only produce mangly, “incomplete” drawings, the outfits that ensue changed the course of fashion for the better. Thus, the answer to meaningful fashion may not lie in your drawing skills but elsewhere.
Fashion design includes your strategic and creative thinking in resource management, style, technical skill, application and many other aspects in reality. Without these, your beautifully illustrated design may never leave the paper it was created on. By studying design, you can certainly improve your technical drawing skills but it is only a foundation for you to truly express your creativity and prowess.
In the learning process, everyone’s drawing skills will improve over time, especially during R&D. So just be confident in yourself! In due time, you will see how much you have improved.
Are there any other mindsets that I should mention? Please share the ones you have in the comment section below!