The Business of Fashion is none of your business
Way back in 2009-10, when I was still very much a Fashion newbie, I somehow stumbled upon the Business of Fashion website.
This was back when it still looked like a blog rather than a newspaper, with fewer articles, reviews of the main Fashion Weeks, plus some interviews. But they already had that serious journalism tone to them that attracted me very much.
Like any 20-something kid that had just found a shiny new source of intellectual stimulation, I felt so damn cool and so much more cerebral than all the Japanese girly girls in Bunka Fashion College, with their high-pitched laughs and their J-Pop idols.
I was getting Fashion news with a brain (whatever that even meant) so imagine how excited I was when they added a new How to create your Fashion brand series right when I was leaving a soul sucking job.
Insider information for insiders
I loved to binge on news articles and wordy books but let's be honest, it's not like I fully understood them. I knew the meaning of the words, alright, but I couldn't get the information I needed to start taking action that would get me closer to achieving the successful Fashion career that I wanted.
That was exactly the case with the Business of Fashion series on opening your own brand: of course I could understand the words, but there was always something missing that I couldn't quite connect. The language was very corporate, the photos were just too neat, nothing on those articles related to my own experience working in Fashion.
There I was working at a very successful up-and-coming Womenswear label in Sao Paulo, sharing a long, narrow desk with the Marketing manager, the HR manager (they were the only ones in their department, so manager just meant they were not an assistant) and the receptionist, all of us squeezed in a small office space with rolls of fabric leaning against the wall and blocking the way to the water cooler; running to meet deadlines that were decided without any planning; cutting fabric in record time and minimal space to send for sampling; making tech packs and chasing manufacturers; helping the Marketing manager with Photoshop and negotiating when she could borrow the new samples for photoshoots or influencers; negotiating with the ladies in the showroom for a prototype that I had to return to the manufacturer…
My whole routine was grindy and messy and this fancy business blog was telling me a story of spacious, bright studios with colourful fabric swatches cut in neat little squares, and mood boards and binders that I would present to the industry gatekeepers during our meeting that was scheduled by… who was it again? The marketing team? My publicist? My agent? How did I even get to have these industry connections again?
Right, that information was not for me.
I didn't go to one of the right Fashion school in the right Fashion city (as in New York, London, Milan or Paris), my school didn't have guest lecturers involved in the Fashion week and it was not like my boss was going to introduce me to any big shots that could take my career to * cliché alert * The Next Level.
It took me an extra 2 years of Fashion education, a ton of money in tuition fees and another 2 years of freelancing/ semi-unemployment while seeing my friends go through the most badass MA courses and still feel uncertain of what the future held for them career-wise. But it finally hit me:
I need to be more critical of glossy free business advice laying around the internet.
Thou shall not be a sucker
I've embarrassed myself enough, it's your turn now:
Have you been binging on blogs, articles and podcasts hoping to find “The one trick that will get you a Creative Director job at Louis Vuitton in 3 months” or “Three easy steps to get a 6-digit collaboration”?
How can you tell when it's time to stop researching and start developing?
p.s.: as always, you can click the Contact link and ask me to be your friendly Guide on the side. No fancy fluff, just honest answers.