The Fashion Fund Season 2 finale is almost here! But why is The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund so important for emerging designers? We let the finalists explain the importance of having a mentor, a big part of the award. To see who will get the coveted prize and the year-long mentorship, tune in to The Fashion Fund, Wednesdays at 10ET / 7PT on Ovation.
Question: Why Is a Mentor Important to You?
The potential of having a mentor was one of the most compelling components of this competition. It’s an incredibly difficult, competitive business, and to have someone look out for you and guide you would be amazing.
I have built my brand to this point on my own with no employees and limited funding. A mentor means everything to me at this pivotal time. Guidance and wisdom; helping to steer through the rough water of building a lasting American fashion brand. It is everything.
A mentor is incredibly important to a young designer and is crucial at this stage in my career. I feel it is vital to have a mentor as I look to the future and make decisions about how to grow my brand. Developing a relationship with a mentor will help challenge the way I operate my business, manage my team, and ensure that I grow my production in a successful way.
I always learn best by doing rather than by learning in a classroom environment. Finding someone like a mentor or tutor/teacher is essential because it is a major influence on how I grow and learn.
It is crucial to surround myself with people who have more experience than I do. I am constantly growing my “mentor” family and learning from them the tricks to help me grow in the industry. Being 28, I know my success lies in putting myself out there and seeking support from those who know more than me.
My first job out of college was with Monocle magazine, whose Editor in Chief, Tyler Brule, became and important mentor and helped me understand the importance of building a strong brand, which is at the foundation of Simon Miller. Being in The Fashion Fund has opened many new doors for mentorship, so I’m excited to see what comes of the relationships we’ve been building.
A set of eyes you trust, and someone who cares about you enough to be honest is invaluable.
The importance of a mentor cannot be measured, especially for me as a British designer starting my career in New York. When I arrived in the city fifteen years ago, the New York fashion system was completely new to me. I consider myself so fortunate that I found a mentor in Peter Speliopoulos, the Creative Director for Donna Karan. His generosity, kindness of spirit, and impeccable taste had enormous impact on my design work and me as a person. Michelle Kessler Sanders, now the Creative Director for Vera Wang, has also been instrumental in my career. It was at her urging that I took the step to both move to America and then, fifteen years later, launch my own brand.