Central Saint Martins' students were lucky enough to hear some priceless advice last Friday from US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who was interviewed by Vogue's new international editor, Suzy Menkes. Wintour handed out some cold hard truths to the budding fashion designers, cutting through some of the false-truths that exist in the fashion industry, as well as stressing the importance of patience, longevity and realism for a young designer.
As is becoming increasingly obvious in the industry, Wintour acknowledged the importance of the resort and pre-fall collections as the real money-makers for designers. "The basic truth of the matter is that 80 per cent of what sells in stores are the mid-season collections…don't ignore it, because it's gonna be something that helps you pay the bills", said Wintour.
She also shot down the myth about the importance of the fashion show, in contrast to creative presentations, which cost a lot less, are more personal and just as effective. "I see people who are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on fashion shows, which I simply don't think is necessary", Wintour stated.
Within this, the notoriously hard-to-please editor explained that personality is key - "in today's world you have to interact…you have to present yourself. You have to know how to talk about your vision, your focus and what you believe in." But, she warned students not to rush going into business. "Get a job", she says - learn the business "from a designer you admire" and do not hurry starting out on your own.
Once you are ready? Get yourself a business partner who will handle the facts and figures as creative people tend not to manage alone and it could lead to your downfall. Also, recognise the difference between fame and success: "It's possible in today's world to be instantly famous…but it's a very different matter to be successful financially in the long term."
Although Wintour continually stressed the tough "reality of life" for young designers, she made sure they knew they were needed, particularly when it comes to dressing celebrities. Criticising the fashion choices at the Tony Awards in New York last week as an example of how over-manufactured red carpets have become, she said: "God, they need your help. Let me tell you, it was a disaster."
Source: The Telegraph