I can’t think of a more surreal experience than being in class at a fashion school, finding out your designs are on the cover of WWD, leaving class to go get a copy and coming back to your professor yelling at you. Exactly one year ago today, this happened to Alan Eckstein, one half of Timo Weiland. If that's not an indicator of good things to come for a brand new designer, I don't know what is. It seems like overnight, Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein--two very young self-proclaimed "fashion geeks" with no technical training--grew a small line of neckwear into a successful full-fledged men's and women's clothing line that will show at Lincoln Center on Sunday. Also an integral part of the team, Donna Kang, the only one with a technical fashion background, is behind the scenes helping to make beautiful things happen. Together, they are unstoppable. We sat down with them in their tiny garment district office/studio to try to figure out how they came together and made all this happen in such a short a mount of time.
Valentino started his brilliant and admirable career in the world of fashion in 1950 when he moved to Paris to study design. His classically elegant and feminine designs made women look utterly glamorous. The Italian maestro worked at houses Dessus and Laroche before going back to Rome to set up his business in 1959. By the mid-1960s, Valentino was a favorite designer of the world’s best-dressed women, including Jacqueline Kennedy. Among his signatures is a particular fabric shade, known as “Valentino red.”
We toyed with it on Vogue.co.uk during my decade as editor of the site from 2005 to 2015, with a shoppable version of the Fashion Illustrated Gallery (founded by William Ling; stocking the work of all the prominent modern illustrators including Downton and Ling’s wife Tanya), running alongside an illustrated blog by Downton himself written from the Fumoir - but it didn’t get huge traction. In contrast, today illustration generates great engagement, even recently making it into the realms of the still-controversial space of branded content with a campaign of illustrated fashion fairytales that ran across Vogue, GQ and Tatler which surpassed all commercial targets for a month-long campaign within the first 24 hours.
You don't have to know how to draw to be a fashion designer. Something that you can do is look at different books on how to draw, so that you can do simple sketches of your designs. Also, the more you practice drawing, the better you will become. If you are going to go to college for fashion, then there will be classes that can teach you draw and sketch.
Showcase your strongest ideas. You may not have the resources to make what you're designing, or you may not have all of the skills yet--that's okay. The person looking at your portfolio wants to see how you think and create, so show them your pen and ink sketches or your charcoal drawings. You need to have a couple of different examples of your work represented as well as figure drawings that will demonstrate your ability to represent three dimensions on a two dimensional surface. Anything more than that is bonus material.
Considered by many one of the greatest tailors of the century, Pierre Balmain was born in Saint Jean de Maurienne, France in 1914. After studying at the school of Architecture, in Paris he founded in 1945 the Maison Balmain as a couture house, with a lucrative sideline in fragrances. In that year he showed long, bellshaped skirts with small waists; a line that became popular in 1947 as part of Dior’s New Look.
Valentino is known for his flamboyant lifestyle and his love of luxury and beauty. He lives with his lover of 50 years in a series of lush villas throughout the world. His jet-set lifestyle and extensive collection of priceless art are not the only rewards he has received for his talents: France’s President Chirac also awarded him the Legion d’Honneur in 2006.
Coming from a mid class family from Dominican Republic, Oscar de La Renta moved to Madrid at the early age of 19 wishing to be a painter. In order to make extra money Oscar de La Renta started doing some work as a fashion designer. In 1965, De la Renta took over Arden, the company he was working for at the time and this open the door to start his own brand. The unique tone of red on his dresses became to be known as “De la Renta red”.
Surface designs are often a big deal in fashion. They can make simple pieces more interesting and even be a focal point within an illustration. There are only so many silky dresses that will go down a runway before patterns start popping. Being able to really show off a Moschino show in illustrated form would be nothing without being able to showcase the patterns created for their garments.
Meagan Morrison, the illustrator behind Travel Write Draw, on the other hand, got a business degree from McGill University in her native Canada and ended up working in fashion PR in Toronto, completely unaware that fashion illustration existed as a career. She later researched the field and enrolled in FIT’s fashion illustration associate degree program, which helped — but so did that business degree. “I don’t think you have to go back to school [if you want to become an illustrator]. For me, [FIT] was an amazing opportunity to come to New York and establish myself in the city,” she explains. In sum: Choose the educational path that’s right for you.
Intelligent and pragmatic, Chanel used her powers of seduction to gain a foothold in the competitive fashion world; in succession, she became the mistress of two powerful and wealthy men. Both of her lovers were quite happy to use their money and influence to give her a start in business. From a beginning as a milliner, she rose to prominence in 1920, when her signature fragrance, the incredibly iconic Chanel No. 5, was launched.
Ralph Lauren is worth $7.5 billion, and he got it all because of his fashion sense. In 1970, the first Polo logo was seen in Lauren’s line of women’s suits that was designed in the classic men’s style. Two years later, the famous short sleeve shirt with the Polo emblem appeared, and it soon became a classic. These shirts have been collected by men all over the world ever since. Lauren, on the other hand, has been collecting rare and classic cars. The collection is so unique that it has been featured in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
1. Create a good croquis. A croquis is the basic drawing of a model pose that you can trace over and over again while sketching your fashion ideas. You can find croquis to use online or in books, or you can create your own. I created my first croquis years ago by tracing a pose on a vintage pattern. Typically, croquis are exaggerated tall model forms. But what if you want to design for someone else, say a child or a plus sized woman? Make your own! Here’s how I do it…1. Print a photo that has a good pose and body form that you want to design for. I chose a couple photo with my husband because sometimes I enjoy designing “his and her” looks. 2. Using window light, trace the basic body shape on a new piece of paper. 3. Use your new croquis, by tracing over it with a fresh sheet of paper, to sketch your own new designs over and over again. Fun, right?!2. Don’t stress, just practice. Instead of stressing over getting the perfect sketches, just start where you are and practice. Before I shared any of my sketches (even with my friends) I was sketching for a whole year in secret notebooks. Each time a notebook was full I would rip out my favorite designs and start a new one, throwing the rest out. Nothing can replace quality practice time. It’s the only way to grow and develop. You’ll gain confidence as you go!
Carol Marie is an awesome New York-based jewelry line designed by industry vets and close friends Heather White and Jennifer Kramer. Their vintage-inspired statement jewelry launched for fall 2010 and has already been picked up by Henri Bendel, Shopbop, Revolve, Free People, Endless and several other smaller boutiques and websites. Both designers still work in the fashion industry--Heather in PR and Jen in editorial--but have managed to grow a successful jewelry line on their off-hours. The young designers have proven that it is possible to have success in the middle of a recession by making smart decisions and really cute jewelry. Despite juggling multiple jobs, Heather and Jen took some time to answer our questions. Click through to find out how they're making it.
A mother-of-four, Downie clearly has a knack for “accidental” success having initially touched upon the fashion scene via a short stint making jewellery at her kitchen table which was selling at hip Covent Garden store Koh Samui in the late Nineties - before “one day I was cooking fishfinger sandwiches and [Net-A-Porter.com founder] Natalie Massenet calls up to ask if she can buy some for this new online thing she was doing”. Whether professionally trained or not, she’s keen that fashion illustrators are worthy of being called artists regardless of their status in relation to photographers. Certainly her own work is now bought by collectors all over the world at prices akin to fine art, regardless of what her subjects are depicted wearing. Citing the work of her Gucci collaborator Ignaci, as well as that of Kelly Brennan and Jill Button, “it crosses the line of design and fine art”, she says. “Whatever that umbrella term can be called. It shouldn’t be relegated to just fashion illustration.”
Vivienne Westwood, the godmother of punk, is considered one of the most unconventional and outspoken fashion designers in the world. Westwood’s fashions woke to fame in the late 1970s when her early designs helped shape the look of the punk rock movement. The highly influential shop changed its name and décor with every collection, and would later be credited for setting off both the punk trend and the new romantic wave. In 1981, Westwood launched her signature collection and has since continued to shock and amuse the fashion world with her hard-core Anglomania.
Preppy girls, often named simply ‘preps’, love to rock a college-inspired wardrobe. Their hangers are lined side to side with girly blouses with matching collared tees as well as a-line skirts and tights. Her hair is almost always amped up with a cute little headband and she usually wears glasses- whether she really needs to or not! This style may appear geeky and slightly luxurious, but the look itself is really not expensive and extravagant at all.