From Anna Wintour and Vivienne Westwood to Virgil Abloh and Rick Owens – we round-up the best advice for making it in the industry

TextDominic Cadogan

September is now here, which not only means the start of the new season of womenswear shows but also a return to school for the students of the world. Maybe it’s your first week at fashion school, or maybe you need some motivation to help see you through your final year – to make the transition back to classroom life a little more bearable, we have compiled the best advice from some of fashion’s top players – from Miuccia Prada to Marc Jacobs. You’re welcome!

ANNA WINTOUR

“In the end, I do respond to my own instincts. Sometimes they’re successful, and obviously, sometimes they’re not. But you have to, I think, remain true to what you believe in.” 

GIANNI VERSACE

“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” 

MIUCCIA PRADA

“I will say study. When they ask me how I can be elegant, well dressed – I say study! Study fashion, study movies, study art and after that study yourself. Probably to understand what is happening and the rest of the work is to try to understand the system of working.” 

VIRGIL ABLOH

“I think social media and everything means that people want success to happen faster but it happens at a certain pace, it can’t happen fast. It’s a good thing to just put your head down and get on with it. It takes years to be successful, it’s not something that happens overnight.” 

MARC JACOBS

“I don’t give advice but I can share my experience. What’s worked for me is not quitting, being more passionate about what I do and not giving up. And when I don’t believe in myself turning to other people who believe in me.”

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

“If you continue to pursue that, that’s how you become a designer if you’ve got the talent. It’s not just going to come out of you. You get out what you put in.” 

CHRISTOPHER KANE

“Don’t be something that you’re not. Do something else if you don’t want to be that big designer. It’s okay to dream, but realise what you’re good at and really focus on that. Like Louise Wilson said, there’s always someone better than you. It’s just human nature. So really work with what you have and prevail at what you’re good at, but don’t try to do everything because you’ll burn out.” 

GRACE CODDINGTON

“Three rules of success in fashion: perseverance, dream a bit and be passionate about it.” 

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

“As a designer, you’ve always got to push yourself forward; you’ve always got to keep up with the trends or make your own trends. That’s what I do.” 

DONATELLA VERSACE

“It’s no good being too easily swayed by people’s opinions. You have to believe in yourself.” 

RICK OWENS

“Learn to not take anyone too seriously and learn to listen to your gut. There are so many ways to learn — not just academically…Logic tells me that you have to decide what you really want to do, do a lot of it all the time so you can throw away your mistakes and your voice will emerge for better or for worse…I wish I knew that I didn’t have to try to be someone else – that I could just work with what I had…Be a hungry real artist.”

ANDRE LEON TALLEY

“You can’t go toward the future without some sense of the past. Everything in life goes in cycles, and you cannot have any strength if you don’t know what the masters did. Masters in fashion would be the history of Balenciaga, the history of Yves Saint Laurent, the history of the 18th century. How can you even talk about fashion if you don’t know the modern impact of YSL’s great, great body of work?” 

PAUL SMITH

“You can find inspiration in everything. If you can’t, then you’re not looking properly.” 

RUPAUL

“Good luck. And don’t fuck it up!” 

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