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Shawn Lloyd Interviews Author Lisa J. Springsteel on her newly Released Book "Becoming A Fashion Designer" A Guide To Careers In Design.
What was the most difficult obstacle you faced getting this book completed?
I found myself wanting to revise and rewrite sections of the book until I felt it was just right and sometimes you can go in circles doing that and it's just better to give it your best and move on.
I see that you have a chock full of interviews from some very notable designers such as Anna Sui, Manolo Blahnik, Ralph Lauren and Ralph Rucci just to name a few. Was it difficult getting these people to share some of their fashion business wisdom for your book?
It really wasn't. I found that these designers exemplified a passionate desire to give back and to help emerging designers get on the right path, since it is not always an easy journey.
I can imagine a lot of research went into the making of this book. Is there anything new you learned while writing this book?
Yes, there were countless hours of research that went into this project. There wasn't any certain fact that I learned, but what I did notice was a pattern in the advice that came from top fashion designers and industry insiders to aspiring designers which is to have a vision and stick to it.
How valuable would you say an internship is to someone looking to get into the fashion business?
An internship is a crucial component to landing a job in fashion design. Not only does it give you direct design experience, but if you make a great impression as an intern, you are likely to be hired on a full-time basis. It also allows you to develop your relationships and to network with other people who may know of job openings in other companies.
What networking advice do you have for someone who wants to get into the fashion business, but does not live in Los Angeles or New York?
Develop a strong network of industry professionals who can lead you to job openings. Become familiar with all of the fashion only job listing sites like www.stylecareers.com, which allows you to search for design jobs in your city.
Sometimes fashion designers are solely concerned with the creative and are overwhelmed with the business side of things. What do you recommend for someone who has zero experience writing a business plan?
I dedicated a section on how to write a business plan in the book in Chapter 5. There are so many resources out there that enable you to learn how to write a business plan, from books to visiting the small business administration website (www.sba.gov) to conducting internet searches on legitimate business resource websites like www.inc.com.
Who was your earliest fashion influence?
In high school, I was enamored by Jacqueline Kennedy! Her innate sense of style was so iconic and it completely transformed her persona, the world over.
What was your job title / expertise while working at Ralph Lauren Corporation?
I was initially hired as the Fabric Archives Manager in a position created by Mr. Ralph Lauren to create the company's first fabric archives and resource center. I eventually got into design and worked on the women's golf woven shirts line.
Can you describe a typical work day?
My day is filled with various promotional activities for the book, including media interviews, attending book signings, and partnering with organizations that support and mentor aspiring fashion designers. I am also a fashion writer for an online magazine and spend my time pitching new story ideas, and creating compelling content for my published articles.
How long did you shop the book before a publisher picked it up?
It happened pretty quickly. I spent a few months presenting my concept to literary agents and publishers and wound up landing a book deal with my dream publisher, John Wiley & Sons!
What's advice do you have for someone looking to get into the fashion business?
It takes equal parts education, experience, and perseverance.
What made you decide to write this book?
Being a fashion designer is such a fiercely competitive career path. There are not many resources out there that explain how to become a fashion designer using a no-nonsense approach. I wanted to present the information in a straight forward, easy-to-follow way. I wanted to give readers a solid understanding of what the work culture is like in the fashion industry, which is an often untouched subject. I delve into how an aspiring fashion designer can set himself or herself apart from the competition. These are all necessary factors in becoming a successful fashion designer.
How often did you write or work on the book?
Constantly! Let's just say it was not uncommon for me to be working on my manuscript until three in the morning. However, it was worth all of the hard work!
How long have you been working in the fashion business?
I began working in the fashion industry in 1994.
What was it like working with Ralph Lauren?
It was absolutely incredible! Being in design meetings with Mr. Lauren was one of my career highlights. He is such a genius that it is hard not to be constantly inspired by his creative vision. At Ralph Lauren Corporation, you are surrounded by some of the most talented designers, illlustrators, artists, and creative people and it makes for a truly magical working environment!
What made you decide to pursue a career in fashion?
I had an interest in child psychology and fashion and after completing an internship in high school in both areas, I knew fashion was the best choice for me. It just spoke to me and when that happens, you just know.