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Starting my own label - Page 2

post #16 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen
I think that you are taking it a bit too far here Brian. Certainly, I am generally in favor of a well-rounded liberal education, but I believe that your 4-year university has a strong program in design, doesn't it? You are certainly not going to develop the practical skills that you need to succeed as a designer with a degree in philosophy (or mathematics for that matter). What's more, many of my friends who finished art degrees at four-year universities did choose to take an MFA (often with several years spent developing their portfolio in the interim). From what I can tell, they didn't do this just to waste time and money, but to gain contacts and credibility in a very difficult industry.

Well, the path I chose (4-year university with reputable and large design program) is going to bias my perspective in the matter. I didn't mean to advocate getting a degree in philosophy or another unrelated major and then going into design. In fact I agree with everything I quoted, I just worded my post horribly.

What I meant to say I am against is being a non-student who works or lives at home and does nothing, and going straight to art school with no background except the stuff you've messed around with in your sketchbook. It's a huge investment to go to a school with a big name, and unless you have a solid foundation and knowledge of design to work from, you're not going to get much out of that $15k / year tuition.

There are specific choices out there that are much better for someone wanting to learn skills - for example, Pasedena City College's design classes are taught by some of the same teachers at Art Center, which is the top design school in the country (or world). The people who produce really great work are the people who grind their asses on their projects, emailing the teacher in their off time for extra critiquing, and their work is just as great coming out of a city college than it would be coming out of RISD.

Graduate school is a bit different. I'm not there yet. I'd love to go to grad school at Pasedena or RISD (who knows if I'll ever be good enough). Getting an MFA maybe the only way to get you into a firm like Pentagram./

I guess I'm saying that, instead of paying the huge tuition to go to FIT, start with a city college or 4-year in a good area and save the fancy school till after graduation.
post #17 of 52
If you don't know how to thread a machine you shouldn't even be thinking about starting a clothing company.

I would stick to making stuff for myself and maybe a few friends if I was you.
post #18 of 52
As well, some of the best design schools, in terms of sheer progress, are located in Europe. For example the Belgian and Dutch Royal Academies and the English Central St.Martin's. There is also the iconic Studio Berçot in Paris.
post #19 of 52
Thread Starter 
I'm fairly unconvinced that art schools are very much worth it. While they provide great technical instruction, technical instruction to the exclusion of basically anything else does not foster art; it creates craftsmen. I'm not really interested in that, and, hell, from what I've heard of FIT, it's too often rather lacking even in technical instruction. And it doesn't really help that, in my experience, most art school students are breathlessly vapid. I am definitely planning on learning this on my own. I don't have family, let alone rich family to pay for school, so that is not viable regardless of my opinion of art school education. I guess community college courses out in California will be the way to go (yes, I like it, the traffic; I also hate it, the Connecticut), but if anyone has any books or websites advisable for an introduction to the subject, I'd appreciate some suggestions. I should note that I have no interest whatsoever in traditional clothing, suits, formalwear, or the like, and while I'm not averse to learning about how it's made, it's definitely not what I want to be involved with, nor, I imagine, where I should start learning about construction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max
If you don't know how to thread a machine you shouldn't even be thinking about starting a clothing company. I would stick to making stuff for myself and maybe a few friends if I was you.
This is really fucking useless. If I were, say, asking for advice on starting a label right now, without any experience or knowledge, then you might have a point. But I'm not, and I'm certainly not about to give up before I've started just because I don't know how to use a sewing machine yet.
post #20 of 52
If you have no interest in traditional clothing, do you plan to be desigining/making the UN-issue lycra/Coolmax/Smartwool space suits we will all be wearing in the near future? Be more specific about what you see yourself making/doing.
post #21 of 52
alexander mcqueen started out by learning on savile row ......

i think learning from such a background as what a tailor can show you would give you a breadth of knowledge that is unsurpassed by what a school could likely teach you, whether you just want to make tee shirts and denim or formal attire, as a tailor will show you construction and how to fit something on any body and make it look good which, i think, is the essence of any good piece of clothing, the fit ..... this can be transposed to any type of garment thereafter

however, the guys at trovata had no formal training and with some luck and understanding of clothing, they've certainly enjoyed some success

but remember, a label is only 40% design, it's also about 60% business and marketing and promotion as LAguy stated above - many a creative designer has failed due to being a poor businessman .....
post #22 of 52
Interesting topic. My wife graduated with a MFA from RISD, and she has mixed feelings about how good her education was. Her first year was excellent for her, because she put her nose to the grindstone and had great advisors around her. The second year was much harder, because the staff went through some upheaval, and her mentors were no longer there.

I will say that like anything, it's the amount of effort you put into it, but for my wife at least it was much easier to make connections coming out of RISD than it would have been otherwise, and getting your foot in the door for this kind of stuff is usually the hardest part, even if you have talent. And, I guess this isn't that shocking, but man, some of her fellow grad students were just not that good. It surprised the heck out of me, because I know getting in is hard as fuck.
post #23 of 52
Quote:
It surprised the heck out of me, because I know getting in is hard as fuck.

That's what they say, but from what I've seen and know from people who are in there, it's not that much of a challenge to get accepted.

That said RISD is a great school and I'd love to go there for my MFA in Graphic Design. I've heard some teachers tell me an MFA is what you need to get anywhere in the upper tier of the industry, and a few teachers that tell me it means absolutely nothing. So confusing.
post #24 of 52
in a creative field, an MFA's primary benefit is you can be a community college/college teacher....within the field itself your finished work and talent thereof is going to take you further than a degree since it's one of those tangible industries where one's work is actually physically manifested in front of you. I've thought of getting my MFA but have always decided against it. I dont have regrets about not pursuing it, so far.
post #25 of 52
Without formal tradition, you won't know anything. One of the few designers who didn't go to school, Vivenne Westwood, has an intense knowledge of traditional methods of cutting and draping, learned from Baroque paintings.
post #26 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arethusa
I'm fairly unconvinced that art schools are very much worth it. While they provide great technical instruction, technical instruction to the exclusion of basically anything else does not foster art; it creates craftsmen. I'm not really interested in that, and, hell, from what I've heard of FIT, it's too often rather lacking even in technical instruction. And it doesn't really help that, in my experience, most art school students are breathlessly vapid. I am definitely planning on learning this on my own. I don't have family, let alone rich family to pay for school, so that is not viable regardless of my opinion of art school education. I guess community college courses out in California will be the way to go (yes, I like it, the traffic; I also hate it, the Connecticut), but if anyone has any books or websites advisable for an introduction to the subject, I'd appreciate some suggestions. I should note that I have no interest whatsoever in traditional clothing, suits, formalwear, or the like, and while I'm not averse to learning about how it's made, it's definitely not what I want to be involved with, nor, I imagine, where I should start learning about construction. This is really fucking useless. If I were, say, asking for advice on starting a label right now, without any experience or knowledge, then you might have a point. But I'm not, and I'm certainly not about to give up before I've started just because I don't know how to use a sewing machine yet.
It sounds like what your interested in is being the boss and just telling other people to go and make your clothing?!?! There is plenty of technical instruction at FIT and Parsons and other schools across the country. Some schools are better than others. The schools will teach you how to sew, sketch, make patterns for clothing, market, choose fabrics, design on the computer (illustrator / photoshop) and many other things. A liberal arts education (if you are going to college regardless) might be good as one can minor in fashion and get a small amount of education while pursuing other interests. I am not sure what you mean when you say you aren't interested in "traditional clothing"? Almost everyone has 2 legs, 2 arms, 1 head, 1 ass. Unless you are going to design for handicapped people or people with deformaties (sp?), the basics of clothing construction are the basics, period. If you don't know them, you'll be lost. A guitar solo by someone who can't play the guitar is much different from someone's guitar solo with many years experience. Although, the players can tell you otherwise, the audience can usually can tell. I have a BA in Apparel Merchandising and Design and I realized (a little late) I wasn't into sewing, patternmaking, hours in front of a computer designing shirts/pants and whatnot but there were things I was very good at and really enjoyed. I went to a liberal arts school and was exposed to many different fields and that helped me to get more focused on (and pick) the things I really liked and head in that direction. There are so many areas of specialty in clothing that it's rediculous. There are endless opportunities. There are designers who can't sew, can't make a pattern, can't use a computer and whatnot, but that makes things much more difficult and these designers are the exceptions to the rule. (Yes I know a couple) Learning the basics of clothing construction (pants, shirts, blouses) is imperative if you are going off to create your new, fabulous designs that no one else has seen before. T-shirts may be a different story. The shirts can be bought and the designs put on, ironed on, silk screened, tie died, or however, and then sold. By the way, all of this takes $. (starting your own biz) Why not go to a fabric store and pic up a pattern on how to make a pair of jeans? There are plenty of books about all aspects of the craft on Amazon.com or elsewhere. I am not trying to be negative, just opening up suggestions and options to look at.
post #27 of 52
Don't be stupid. If you can't sew, you can't make clothes for a living. Go out to a fabric store and make yourself an outfit. Cut and sew a pair of jeans, some boxer shorts, a t shirt, and a light jacket for yourself. Then, once you have an idea of what you're getting yourself into, make a decision.
post #28 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max
Don't be stupid. If you can't sew, you can't make clothes for a living.

Go out to a fabric store and make yourself an outfit. Cut and sew a pair of jeans, some boxer shorts, a t shirt, and a light jacket for yourself. Then, once you have an idea of what you're getting yourself into, make a decision.

Sure you can. There are quite a few people in the tailoring business who cannot actually construct a garment. Some of them are very well regarded bespoke makers.

Ideally one should have the know-how but it's not necessary.
post #29 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
If you have no interest in traditional clothing, do you plan to be desigining/making the UN-issue lycra/Coolmax/Smartwool space suits we will all be wearing in the near future? Be more specific about what you see yourself making/doing.
Yes, in the future, everyone will wear my jumpsuits. Seriously, I wouldn't say I have an easily definable aesthetic, and as I only have sketches and ideas in my head right now, I'm reticent to go into specifics. I suppose, very broadly, a mix of very old designs and ideas (frock coats, justacorps, etc) mixed in with some very modern aesthetics (I can't really think of anything out there that is doing this, but perhaps G Star comes closest, visually). This, of course, sounds bizarre at best and schizophrenic at worst. All I can say it is also incomplete by far, hence my reticence to go into details, for now. I must not have been clear enough, because what I said about my disinterest in traditional clothing has been horribly misunderstood. What I am explicitly not interested in is making suits, or bickering over how wide or perfectly rolled lapels need to be for the perfect traditional suit. I have absolutely no interest in that, and while, as noted, I am not averse to learning about how those are constructed, it's not remotely what I want to do. Moreover, I find a ridiculous degree of hyperspecialization in this area that I do not see carrying over to really any other aspect of clothing, hence my assumption that while there are a number of technical skills I could learn from traditional tailoring and then apply elsewhere, there also are a hell of a lot that I could not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hermes
but remember, a label is only 40% design, it's also about 60% business and marketing and promotion as LAguy stated above - many a creative designer has failed due to being a poor businessman .....
That is roughly true for most industries, as far as I know, and, hell, you may be rather generous in your appraisal of the importance of design. But I am not really interested in getting into this for commercial success, and even if I were, i'm pretty sure I'd still be years away from worrying about commercial concerns.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
Without formal tradition, you won't know anything.
I disagree. Vehemently, in fact.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tck13
It sounds like what your interested in is being the boss and just telling other people to go and make your clothing?!?!
Heh. Hardly. As I said, I wasn't saying that I have no interest in learning or that I have no interest in learning how clothes are made. I'm only saying that I am not interested in, essentially, traditional men's/formalwear. I don't want to obsess over the perfect, most traditional suit or make a suit that is two sizes two small, add a silent h and e to my name, and declare myself brilliant for it. I am certainly not saying I don't want to know how to cut and sew a pair of pants. Not that I would mind being given a job in design right now and just telling people what to make from sketches, but that isn't ultimately what I have in mind, and it doesn't strike me as terribly realistic anyway (albeit not impossible, as noted). And, yeah, I realize all of this will take money. I don't really have much right now, and what I do have is going to be applied to moving across the country and trying to go to school (for philosophy, so clearly I'm going to make lots of money).
post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arethusa
I disagree. Vehemently, in fact.
How so? Clothing fit and silhoutte, no matter how avant-garde or crazy you want to get is based on certain traditions. You really can't analyze Heidegger without Kant, can you? And for that matter, the Greeks.
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