by Claire Knebl
Couldn't make it to last weekend's Teen Vogue Fashion University? No worries! We're sharing the best moments from the seminars which featured speakers that ranged from models to editors and It girls galore. One of our favorite parts of the annual event? Hearing from the industry's leading designers, many of whom-like Joseph Alruzarra and Thakoon Panichgul-have grown up alongside Teen Vogue and its staff. Read on for Joseph and Thakoon's best career advice!
You don't have to study fashion to be a designer.
"I went to business school because that's what my parents wanted," Thakoon says. "I think fashion people want degrees that aren't in fashion, like something in the liberal arts. It's important to not just be focused on one thing." Joseph had a similar experience, studying art history at Swarthmore. "The biggest hardship I perceived when I was starting out was that I hadn't studied design, but sometimes not going to fashion school is a blessing."
But you do need to be humble.
"My biggest pet peeve is when interns exert too much personality," Thakoon says. "I hate when somebody comes in and thinks they know everything. Once you get started, relationship building is the most important thing. Make sure you show respect to everyone-you never know who is going to work where."
It's okay to learn as you go-and to change direction.
"I had always been interested in fashion and design without necessarily knowing exactly what they were or what they entailed," says Joseph. and "I think I really realized that during my first job at Marc Jacobs." On the other hand, Thakoon didn't start out in the design world at all-he worked in editorial at Harper's Bazaar. "I would go and do interviews with young designers, and I found myself spending a lot of time with them," Thakoon says. "I was more interested in what they were doing than what I was supposed to be doing."
Pay attention to the customer's needs, but don't sacrifice your aesthetic.
"While working at Givenchy, Riccardo taught me to be very steadfast in your vision," Joseph says. "But you also have to remember that women wear bras!" Yes, practicality must come into play at some point.
Know your process.
"I'm always looking for something that's the opposite of what people are into because I know that's eventually where I'll find the inspiration," Thakoon says. "But creativity should come easily. The hard part is staying focused." Accessories are also key for the designer: "When I'm thinking of a collection, I almost always see the shoes before I see the clothes!" For Joseph, more is more. "Every designer has a very specific way of working," he says. "I have a very iterative way of working. I just have to create a lot and edit down."
Connect with your fans on a deeper level.
"People really like things that they relate to emotionally," explains Joseph. "I think in this day and age, every woman wants to be everything," echoes Thakoon. "It's almost like you can't just have one muse. When I'm thinking of mine, I can't see her face, but I can feel her energy and her sensibility."
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