Top tips for aspiring fashion designers

For those who are aspiring to become fashion designers, on their way up to making their mark, or simply mesmerised by how fashion designers have broken through, to mark London Fashion Week in February, three top designers spoke to Yahoo Style. The saying goes “we all start somewhere” and speaking to those all of who showcased their designs on the LFW schedule: Henry Holland, Bora Aksu, and Fyodor and Golan (Fyodor Golan) reveals tips and tricks of getting into the fashion industry.

Holland, Aksu and Fyodor and Golan all reveal how their careers began in the whirlwind that is the fashion industry and gave insight into the steps they took towards their aspiration, as well as advice and top tips to those wanting to start out in the industry. 

The first step into the industry

Moving from Turkey, now 21 years ago, Aksu began his career in London down the route of study completing his MA at Central Saint Martin’s in 2002, and after graduated from Saint Martin’s Show during London Fashion Week. He revealed his difficulties starting in fashion, highlighting he “only had drawings … and came [to London] and went to Saint Martin’s for an interview and didn’t know anything about patterns … [and] I didn’t know the whole process … for me, it was a really painful time”. When Aksu eventually graduated from Saint Martin’s he participated in their show during London Fashion Week, and met his dream when him and Richard Nicoll both got sponsorships and “completed our first joined own label show” - highlighting that from there his “business slowly gr[ew]”.

Partners in both life and business, making for a remarkable creative dynamic, Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman details “We met a long, long time ago, when we were very young... Back in 2007, we started dating, moved in, got married and then launched a business later on.” According to Fyodor, having a person who is at “your core, your ‘coming to’ person, [your] stability” is key. Golan adds, “Just someone you can trust one hundred percent and that really gets everything you’re trying to do”.

Breaking free and creating a brand

When naming brands, Holland exposes sometimes that surprises come in all forms when thinking of brand, revealing he “spent all this time thinking of a new name” and as soon as a press release for Beyonce’s new clothing line called House of Dereon, named after her grandmother, came through, he had a real ta-da moment noting he “jokingly said we should name it House of Holland ‘lol’ and here we are, 10 years later, and it just kind of stuck”.  He adds, the name “recognise[s] the inclusive feeling behind the term [...] it is a house of Holland, we collaborate with people all over the world, it’s very much a group of people who pull together to work on things…it is a house of people”.

Discussing inspiration behind his brand, Aksu present he found his brand when considering his love of the human form, creating a doll collection. Aksu claimed: “Since I was little, … I’ve been fascinated by dolls … anything human form”. He also reveals he is inspired by female figures, especially strong women from history and “imaginative [figures from a] fairytale” noting: “I can relate with them more”.

While for Fyodor and Golan, they found their brand by being in  company, revealing “We go into things separately, but we always have feedback into each other’s work” and adds, that “There is this constant conversation happening, which can also be not so much in words. I always know what things he’s seen inspire him and he knows the same about me” . This process suits their brand as it “puts us in the same headspace; when it’s time to sit down to discuss what we’re doing, we’re already at the same point.”

Final thoughts on top tips...

Holland reveals the future of the industry, and what designers should be thinking about, noting it’s about “do[ing] it in your own way” claiming “we’re in a really interesting time in the fashion industry as a whole, I think there is no blueprint for how things should be done anymore... That’s really exciting, and thrilling and petrifying at the same time”.

When it comes to approaching the industry, i.e. is it pre-order? Is it rent the runways? Holland reiterates it’s finding your own rhythm, highlighting: “There’s so many different concepts being born out of the global online generation that we’re a part of that I think. The answer is you do it your own way. I think if the way you communicate to your consumer, sell to your consumer, and market to your consumer is unique to you and your brand then it’s just going to strengthen whatever it is that you have and you can just follow your path… essentially, who knows what the future holds."

Putting pen to paper is when designs begin to transform for Aksu, highlighting the process of creating from the page into garment, he realised “that this could become a longer journey rather than [just] an illustration … you draw something and then from that, there’s a garment that comes alive”.

Golan shares his number one piece of advice for aspiring designers is by having a partner, for Golan, he claims: “I always like there’s a lot of fights to be had with suppliers, with everyone, and… having him [Fyodor] makes me feel a little bit invincible. I would say if you want to launch your own label definitely find the right person to do it with you, cause doing it on your own seems insane to me.”

Reaching his 20th LFW show, Aksu reveals it’s about loving what you do, outlining: “It feels … weird … fashion is not something you can do if you don’t love it … for me, it doesn’t feel like it’s a job, it’s a blessing that you can do something that you absolutely love”.