We took a group of students around the San Francisco Fashion Industry this Spring. Here are some of the things they learned.
As a student in Ronda’s Introduction to the Fashion Industry course, you essentially hold a backstage pass to the work spaces of the Bay Area’s fashion stars. I don’t think you could get that kind of access any other way.”
I resonated with the manufacturer that promoted, “Keep it fair, simple, and great quality.”
I liked how this manufacturer used pop up stores to test a market before investing in a retail location.
I really enjoyed meeting one store owner who didn’t get into the industry until she was in her 60s. It is never too late to start on a new path. She did it and she is successful!
It was most valuable to visit the designer studios and fashion businesses in San Francisco. It was great to hear what each fashion professional had to say about how they got started and evolved in the business. Each was so different, designers, manufacturers, contractors, fit model, sales reps, retailers, and production managers.
I appreciated the candor of our speakers about the challenges they face in their respective businesses. It is not easy to get the same perspective in the classroom.
Having this opportunity to see these businesses from the inside left a much more realistic impression of what to expect as I consider my own career goals in the fashion industry.
I learned that I do not want to become a large company, but to keep my business at an artist’s level, which I think gives me more flexibility. The other thing is to remain flexible, things change and you have to be able to change with them.
Visiting and talking with designers, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs was helpful in gaining a better understanding of what happens in the industry on a day-to-day basis. Seeing firsthand the inner operations of some of the companies we visited brought to life a lot of classroom curriculum learned in the fashion department. And the high energy and creative spirits of the individuals we met with was contagious and encouraged a deep reflection on how we can apply what we’ve learned towards our own creative goals.
One designer summed it all up by saying, “Just make stuff. Don’t over design. Don’t spend all of your money on the first line. Accidents can be happy.”