A CONVERSATION BETWEEN FASHION SCHOOL GRADUATES

5 Fashion school graduates meet on Zoom to talk about their experiences in their school and break some clichés about Fashion. 

MEET THE GRADUATES

ELENA : It’s been a while since we’ve talked since we graduated. Let’s start with introductions.

MANON : My worst nightmare when we were in school. 

CLAIRE : My name is Claire Viveret, I’m 22 Y.O and I graduated as a Fashion Designer specialized in mesh. At the moment, I don’t do much. I’m a free-lancer but I don’t have a lot of missions, I left fashion and I work with a team creating sustainable shop windows, such as Caron. 

ELENA : I’m Elena, I’m 23 Y.O, I graduated as a Fashion Designer specialized in trends and I’m the founder of 2nd Try. I also am a Makeup Artist in Free-lance and I’m planning on taking a job in September to get a financial stability.

CORALIE : I’m Coralie Pinatel, I’m 22 Y.O and I also graduated as a Fashion Designer specialized in trends. At the moment I’m a stylist assistant in free-lance, I’m also making samples for a small brand. Since it’s a privileged field and I can’t wait for my paychecks to arrive, I got a job in retail. 

MANON : I’m Manon, I’m 23 Y.O and I have the same degree as Elena and Coralie. Now I’m trying to launch my pottery shop in September. I’am also a photographer for a band and I soon will be their stylist. And I also got a small job in the retail. 

ANNA : My name is Anna, I’m 23 Y.O and I graduated as a Fashion Designer specialized in warp and thread. I took a year off to think about what I wanted to do and I did some jobs as a model in free-lance. Now I’m getting ready for the CAMBR’s competitive exam in August. 

FASHION, THE REAL ONE

ELENA : I think we should start talking about the codes in Fashion because they’re so particular. 

MANON : It’s a toxic environment, there’s a certain competition, a race to the one who will be the more praised and seen. 

CORALIE : To me, it’s what you first notice when you go to school, you feel like there’s no space but it’s not true, there’s space for everyone, it’s such a diverse industry ! I think the problem of fashion schools is that they sell us only one version of the scenario. Of course it’s still an elitist industry working with string-pulling but there’s room for everyone and the competition we saw in school should be defused by the schools themselves because  it does nothing except ruin each other’s experience.

CLAIRE : But I think we worked a lot in groups so I feel like I didn’t really see the competition like you did. Our teachers always said we had to work in groups in the fashion industry. 

ANNA : I also noticed some competition. Certain people had the need to distance themselves from the others, thinking they should do better. At some point you realize we’re all fucked up and some people put their problems on others and they need this to exist. You can’t feel good, it doesn’t exist here.

CORALIE : I honestly think these are problems of our society  that adapt onto us, small fashion students. If we weren’t fed by the myth that in order to create, we have to destroy, we wouldn’t have people coming to school thinking they can’t function without all the downward slides associated to the industry. I’m talking about drugs. I think that if we didn’t sell these people the madness or borderline things as fuel for their creativity, they wouldn’t do it. I think we’re the products of the society in which we’ve grown, with creative people taking 3g of cocaine with their coffee in the morning. 

ELENA : It’s true that we grew up in the artistic industry with this terrible idea that the greatest artists are the most tortured ones. This is so peculiar, what does it mean ? If I’m not tortured my art will never be good ? If I want to create something great it has to be super dark ? 

CORALIE : That’s it, I have to force my demons out. You have to see on my clothes that in my head it’s a mess.

MANON : And by the way it romanticizes the mess and madness. As if it was something cool…

CORALIE : But I imagine that it’s valid in a way because it makes them feel good so why not. But I think we have to legitimate other points of view and that we no longer take these crazy and tortured things as THE reference. It’s a bit toxic. 

MANON : It’s a bit funny actually because when you first see fashion and you don’t really know it, you fantasize about the glam and luxury.

ELENA : It’s clearly what medias try to sell us. All TV shows or movies about fashion sell you glam and glitters. But when you made it to the industry, you finally realize that it’s not so full of glitters.

CORALIE : Personally I don’t like fashion, I find that industry awful and it’s really something I discovered in school because beside watching “The Devil Wears Prada” before, I had no idea we were stepping on each other and that everyone wanted another’s place.

ANNA : It’s a bit philosophical but it’s in our hands to create a new Fashion, the one that we love. 

ADVICES

ELENA : What if we ended this conversation with some advices for those who plan on going to a fashion school ? 

MANON : RESEARCH. I came to school with 0 fashion culture and I think I may have fucked up where I wanted to go. So I’d say research about fashion but also what surrounds it so you can hold on to something else later. 

ELENA : I’d like to pick up on what Manon said about researches, my very first advice is to not be influenced by fashion schools’ open days. Because they have a gift to make you believe that if you go to their school, you’ll find a job right after and you’ll have a lot of contacts. But once they get their money, they forget about you. So be careful. And If I had to give a second advice which is the most important one to me, you have to be confident about your work and never compare it to the others. Believe in your work and defend it because no one else will. Don’t compare yourself to others, each has its own level and creative universe! 

CORALIE : It might sound weird, but to me you have to be a vampire and feed yourself with whatever surrounds you. You have to be permeable and impermeable so that you won’t get absorbed by people around you. What will do or undo people’s experience in fashion schools is really to meet the right people. You have to be kind and find kind people.

CLAIRE : You really have to research what type of school interest you the most, some of them are more about creativity, others are more about the techniques…

ANNA : Yes, you have to know your angle even though it’s hard after highschool. 

CORALIE : Another advice is to take your time, I think it may be more interesting to go to a fashion school with more maturity. 

MANON : I’d like to end this with an after school advice. You have to know that when you graduate from Fashion school, you’re not stuck. It’s not because you finished your licence or master that you can’t find something else. It doesn’t stop here, you have to be curious and if you find something that calls you, you have to go all in. Don’t get stuck !

Huge thanks to Anna, Claire, Manon and Coralie for this conversation !
You can find them on Instagram : 
   Manon
 Anna
  Claire
   Coralie