1. It’s all about passion.
“The first thing you have to have the passion, the drive, the desire to really be passionate about the business. I also think it’s very important to know a lot about culture, to know a lot about the arts, to know some of the business because as a designer, sooner or later you have to face the reality that it’s not only art or creativity but there’s also the commerce. It’s really art and commerce."
2. Go to school, get an internship.
“I really advice you to go to school. If it’s a technical school of fashion design I think that’s great but I also think that a [degree] in the arts is very important. Because as you know, a lot of designers are influenced by literature, they’re influenced by art. There’s so many connections with the arts and that’s a very important baseline to start out in. And then once you graduate, go for an internship. Do several internships. You have to experiment and see what you like. This is a business that can be very closed and very picky and it’s a phenomenal way to network. It’s also a phenomenal way to help you figure out what to do.”
3. Make the right partnerships.
“Foremost as a designer you have to have the creativity, but nowadays we’re dealing with very competitive markets. A lot of designers make the wrong partnerships. You have to be very careful about your partners. If you examine the designers who have really been successful, they always have a business partner. Valentino have Giametti. Tom Ford have Mr. de Sole, Marc Jacobs have Robert Duffy. Everyone [needs] to have that counterpart. A savvy business person to help you is integral.”
4. Take it step-by-step.
“The biggest mistake that young designers make is that they want it so quickly, they want to go to New York Fashion Week, they want to have that big runway show—NO. It’s step-by-step. The slower you go up, the better it is. The faster you go up, the faster you go down. So I caution you on that, take it little by little, but it is possible to do it. With the right strategy, with the right business plan, with the right steps, it is possible [to make it to the global scene].”
5. Stay true to your voice.
“Stay very focused, know very clear what [market] you want to target. And be very distinctive, you have to have a very distinct point of view. Know yourself, be unique and authentic to yourself. I’ve seen a lot of designers who try to imitate other designers. It’s about being yourself, it’s about being unique. You have to have the strength.”