In the first of Alexa Chung’s Future Fashion series, the Voguecontributing editor gets into investigative mode to find out exactly how people can get started in the fashion industry, the behind-the-scenes jobs that are out there, and asks if attending a prestigious fashion college is a vital ingredient for success?
Having started out as a model in the fashion industry when she was 15 – before going on to assisting shoots, TV presenting, and ultimately becoming the country’s primary fashion idol – Chung is well placed to delve into the inner workings of the £28 billion industry, which – as the British Fashion Council’s Sarah Mower points out – is worth more to the UK than the automotive sector.
Mower explains to Chung how important funding is for designers to achieve their dream of becoming a household name and to ensure that “young and talented people aren’t prevented from going to university because of the idea of debt.”
“When someone is looking at fashion from the outside, especially when they’re young, that perhaps fashion is just being a model, a make-up artist, a hairdresser, but there’s a whole array, a real spectrum, of skills needed,” says Mower, such as those that are taught at the Condé Nast College where students learn about the vast number of non-design roles in the industry, progressing on to hold roles such as PRs, buyers, retailers, social media managers and event producers.
Christopher Kane concurs, telling Chung that his trajectory was made possible by the team of people behind him – not least his sister, co-creative director and main collaborator Tammy.
“It’s all about having this depth of knowledge behind the scenes. Me and Tammy have all these amazing ideas but how do we get there?” he laughs. “I know how to draw bags and handbags, but I don’t know how to make them! Practically you need those amazing, key knowledgeable people that are really hard to get but once you find them they’re like gold dust.”
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