Alexander Shumsky, President of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, in his recent interview, told in detail how an aspiring designer can achieve success, why it is worth choosing the latter between New York and Moscow, and how to properly monetize your brand.
Although the article was written by a clothing designer about clothing designers, the specialization of the designer is not so important as the approaches used in work, communicating with clients and promoting their own brand.
How can an aspiring designer succeed? According to Alexander Shumsky, the popularity of contemporary Russian designers does not always determine their success. On the one hand, there is a glamorous society that regularly spends time at social events, on the other hand, there is an ordinary Russian consumer, which in terms of coverage exceeds the number of the former. It is important for every novice designer to understand this situation and make the right decision for themselves: build a business or be in a get-together. If a young designer works fruitfully, there will simply be no time to gain recognition inside the Garden Ring, parties take a considerable amount of time, and it is almost impossible to keep up with everything at once. And is it worth it.
The real success of a designer is not involvement in the get-together, but the number of items sold.
Today, many are successful in the gossip column, but few are successful in building a good fashion business. Of the real interesting designers who manage to correctly build business processes, Alexander singles out Ksenia Knyazeva, who acts very thoughtfully, releases understandable commercial collections and develops sales well. The result is impressive: Ksenia has more than 25 thousand sales units annually; not all Russian designers can boast of such sales. At the same time, Ksenia is not so well known in the glamorous environment.
What is worth giving up is a misunderstanding of the fashion business in Russia, which often hides the desire of wealthy men to find employment for their wives and mistresses in society. This socialization trend has devalued the fashion industry for investors. People do not see talent and prospects in the industry, although they certainly are. On the part of designers, we treat investors as sponsors, which is fundamentally wrong. People think that when they design, they create. Of course, it is, but it is impossible to build a successful brand on this alone.
Designers need to move away from the habit of just spending investor funds and start thinking about how to return them in larger quantities.
Still, success is not a process, but a result. That is why the fashion industry in Russia does not even reach the level of European startups. In Italy, for example, fashion forms a whole chain of processes, where there is a unity of goals. The designer is the pinnacle of the fashion business, which only fulfills its function. In this business system, the lower levels are also important: factories and the same seamstresses. Together, they create a brand that provides jobs, makes a profit and drives the country’s economy. Until Russian designers are faced with the question of building the correct functioning of the processes, we will remain in the state in which the fashion industry was in the 85th year in the Soviet Union.
Many people lack professionalism, many lack the desire to build the right business ethics. It’s no secret that some designers have a boyfriend or husband in charge of finances. Every five years, aspiring designers enter the market and make the same mistakes over and over again. For example, they dream of entering the international market. But why? After all, the world has changed a lot with the advent of social networks and media, for success it is not necessary to go to Paris or New York. In addition, development abroad is not at all as easy as many people think. But here, in Moscow, this is a much more feasible task. There is a huge market in Russia that asks to do something. Therefore, today the answer to the question of how a novice designer can achieve success is to stay in Russia.
The demand for “made in Russia” has grown significantly recently – and this should be used by designers
Online trading today unites not only regions, but also countries. Collections can not only be shown to the whole world from anywhere in the world, but also sold. And even such problems as sending goods from Russia to Australia will be overcome in the near future. Moscow today is much more interesting for fashion than Paris or New York, because if large investments are required there for development, then in Moscow it is not. All major fashion shows, including Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, are broadcast online, which allows absolutely anyone to see the collections that are presented in Moscow. Online tools make the life of young designers a lot easier. The stereotypes that it is convenient and profitable to unwind through the large cities of Europe or America are no longer relevant.
In addition, there is room for new names today. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia also issues grants for participation in shows. New names are generally a new global trend. Our grant is a great boost for brands and designers. If we see talent, then we immediately provide a grant. So, for example, it was with Terekhov, he was 18 years old, when his first show took place on our site Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. By the way, it was in 2011 and they started together with Akhmadullina.
Smartphones are a very important and affordable marketing tool for budding designers
From a marketing point of view, great prospects are also open to novice designers today. In the Instagram era, all photos are taken by ourselves under normal conditions. It doesn’t become necessary for an advertising campaign to hire Mario Testino or travel to the Seychelles. The picture on the smartphone screen does not require this, as was the case with gloss. Today every designer is “his own director” – and this is no joke. Smartphones are a very important and affordable marketing tool for aspiring designers. The question of how a novice designer can achieve success today is the most relevant and most decisive. Now making a lookbook and a fashion film and promoting it on the net is also an affordable option for non-professionals.
Summarizing all of the above, we share a short application guide: How a beginner designer to succeed
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