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Five tips for fashion designers

Monday 21st March 2016

Emilia Wickstead

Emilia Wickstead was one of the judges for the iD International Emerging Designer Awards held in Dunedin at iD Fashion Week.  

The Auckland-born designer spent formative years in Milan before studying fashion design at Central St Martins in London, where she lives now.

She has worked for international fashion houses Giorgio Armani, Proenza Schouler, Narciso Rodriguez, and Vogue (New York and Milan), and launched her made-to-measure business in 2008, having since expanded into ready-to-wear collections.

Her designs are coveted by A-list celebrities including Alexa Chung, Poppy Delevingne, Laura Bailey and Suki Waterhouse and her most famous client—the Duchess of Cambridge—has put the spotlight on Wickstead as a globally recognised designer.   

Here’s some advice she has for young fashion designers looking to make it:

1 - Wear your designs.

“If people don’t comment on them you’re doing something wrong.”

2 - Show you’re confident.

“You have to believe in yourself and your brand. Once people see you have confidence they take you under their wing.”

3 - Try to balance your career and personal life, though it can be really hard.

“In the weekends I might be sitting at my laptop with my children around me and I feel guilty every single day.”

4 - Pay attention to detail.

“My mother taught me from a young age to look closely at how garments are constructed (by looking at the inside). If no-one tells you these things, then you don’t notice.”

5 - Think about the business.

 “Design school was all about being very creative, but they don’t teach you about the business side. Before I studied fashion my mother urged me to study business and it has been complementary to my skill set. It’s important to have a commercial vision because this industry is all about selling and I always wanted to sell my clothes.” 

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