Best Advice to Survive Fashion College

Fashion Journey: From College to fashion job

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We get it. You like clothes, you love fashion, you follow trends around the world and spend your nights watching movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's! We also do! Fashion is exciting, new, fresh and beautiful, and if you are in the journey of choosing a career path or if you already have a B.A. but you were wondering what a fashion job would look like, this article is for you.

My Story

Before we dive in, let me tell you a little bit more about myself.

So... I'm a Brazilian fashion designer with a bachelor degree in Fashion Design from Instituto Europeo di Design São Paulo; I worked two years with sales in two different Brazilian brands that you might have heard of: Osklen and John John Denim; also, worked for almost three years behind the scenes at John John and Rosa Chá design team as a personal assistant for the head of design and with the international woven fabric team for both brands. I also won an international prize that led me to the NYFW to present my first show, have been to fashion weeks and countless fashion shootings; worked with bridals and flat pattern for a bridal boutique; made so many presentations that I can't even remember and met many famous fashion people over the years. It took me 7 years and this is the first time I am, along with wonderful friends, building a sustainable fashion blog.

My College Experience

February 2011, my first day of college. I remember I was so excited and filled with passion that I couldn't get out of bed quicker. I always knew what I wanted to study in life, it wasn't a hard choice for me, I loved fashion design since I was a kid and I also talked with several people that worked in different areas of Fashion before deciding what I wanted to be, I remember that I also researched and visited a lot of universities until I decided to attend IED-SP, so when the day finally came, I was exhilarated.

I loved my fashion beginning! I studied in the morning; worked in the evenings and made my homework and projects in the middle of the night. I hardly slept back then, but I loved every bit of it. The college involved a lot of projects and not a lot of tests, which means that I had to put extra effort during homework to learn how to sew; draw and make all the crafts properly. I remember that the classes were extremely exciting for me, we studied visual language, art and fashion history; fabric; graphic design and a bunch of handwork like sewing and drawing classes.


Learning about Fashion Universities

So, why writing about Fashion Journeys?

Because there is a lot to consider when choosing to study and work with Fashion. In this piece, I'm telling you my version of the story, based on my fashion journey! There are a lot of opinions and stories out there and it's important to research and get prepared for whatever option you choose.

Fashion Design is all about learning to build and sustain an image and everything that is around it. You will have the chance to develop and practice all your handwork abilities as well as learn a lot about the past, present trends on fashion, how it's done and how we create it. From drawing to production, college will teach you the theoretical side of the industry.

About Networking

Network is everything. Whether you are aware of it or not, it's the relationships you develop that will lead you into your future, so be vigilant, the fashion industry is a great example of this fact.

Here it goes a great tip (I wish I knew that when I started):  do whatever you can to use college for your own good and instead of playing around like most of the students do, be mindful of your work and image; be the best student you can be and improve your connections by talking to your teachers and understanding what you want for your future in this field.  

College equals opportunity!

Be Prepared for the Opportunity

In my last year of college, Epson USA launched a contest among 12 Countries, both South and North America. Epson Brazil in a partnership with IED-SP came up with a tournament where 1 student would go to NYC to represent Brazil and also to present his/her collection. I was on the list along with other students, I mean, the competitors.

And I remember being in the room where they presented the contest and I also remember that I asked the questions that I needed the answers for. When I left the room I turned to my friend and said: I'm gonna win! Six months later I was on a plane that led  me to my prize: a fashion show in one of the most prestigious fashion weeks in the world the New York Fashion Week.

It was my dream to go to NYC, I had never been there before, and I'm thankful to God, because I know that that trip was an enormous gift from Him! The contest was super tough, I was up all night for several days, sewing, drawing, preparing the graphic material that would be presented during the show, and it… was… stressful! But I'd never have the same chance if I didn't prepare for that moment three years before at school, I simply wouldn't make it, I had to know how to sew, draw, make prints and develop a whole new set of skills  in order to be considered for the contest. So, it was quite important to actually pay attention to all the classes I took, it helped that I already knew how to draw a little and sew a little even before college, I felt that I was better prepared when I entered and won the only contest I ever participated in.

Go for what interests you!

Pay attention. Don't get yourself involved in every single opportunity your school has to offer, instead, sign up for the ones that you are truly interested in, make sure to choose a school that has this kind of portfolio and give it a try! Because of Epson and the contest, I was able to learn more in six months than I did in 3 years, I also had my final project fully covered by 2 companies, one of them was Epson (so thankful to those guys!). I didn't have to worry about the costs, as I had my sponsors to help me out, and it was amazing to see how good connections pay off.

So, let me say it one more time: build up your network!

For the next two articles I'll deep dive into Fashion Design from a career perspective! I hope you liked it and please leave a comment, we would love to hear about your dreams, questions and we would love to help you out in any way we possibly can!


Written by Mariana M. Iwanaga conjunct with Rafaela M. Glaser.