"Do I need to take a contour fashion course to become a lingerie designer?" Is another question I get asked a lot.
And nope you do not.
That's not to say to give up on going, what a university degree does though is give you structure, a timely manner in which you have to complete your work, it gives to chance to get feedback on your work - although depending on whether you are producing something commercial or experimental the feedback may not be inline with your vision. I did attend a university to study contour fashion so went the pretty normal route and got a junior job in a design studio in a UK manufacturer, I also did work experience, it all depends on what you are wanting to do with the degree as I remember many people who didn't follow the deign route after the fashion course.
I was straight out of my 'A' levels when I went and used the time to explore how different fabrics worked in fashion, I got a really bad mark for hand knotting a body suit whilst a girl just used the patterns available in lace and got a great mark. I made a pair of trousers which were below hip level and had a pair of pants sewn into them. And also spent one semester making I made a bra out of Copydex glue! What uni taught me was to explore and give me time to complete my ideas ideas, gave me support and have the chance to pick the tutor's brains and make contacts. But if going to University is the only thing stopping you following your dreams of becoming a lingerie designer then brush off the idea that you need to go.
What you hold in your playing field is the naivety of the amount of work it takes to complete your brand. Let me digress: when I launch Vanjo, I had been to uni to study contour fashion and I had worked in a UK design studio, yet when I launched my brand because I had seen of how things worked in the industry; I felt at times that my brand wasn't good enough that I had to be bigger than I actually was, I couldn't just sit with where I was or what I was achieving, totally stupid right? Some brands that launched the same time as me were flying along, with no hesitation as they didn't have any previous experience, they just learnt as they went along.
WHAT TYPE OF DESIGNER YOU WANT TO BE?
Do you want to design and make everything, or do you just want to design and outsource everything else? Or somewhere in-between? With each choice you will have to have different expertise and different skills to learn. If you're not making everything then you don't need to learn how to sew, but then you need the ability to source manufacture or an in-house studio that will do this for you.
A LINGERIE CONTOUR COURSE
If you can afford to take a course in an area in which you think could benefit then I definitely would do. Whether that is pattern making, grading, business, sewing, that or if it helps employ a freelance designer to support you and push you along further. It can be lonely and slow going doing everything yourself. When returned back to the UK and was in the throes of setting up my own business I went to London College of Fashion for a 3 day course in Illustrator, which not only gave me the confidence to progress, but also gave me direction as I found there are do many ways to do one operation. Looking online confused me. And not only that, it was was so lovely to meet like minded creative people, even though I had to keep leaving the class to silently puke in the toilets as I was suffering from morning sickness.
YOU GOT THIS
The thing is I could give you a long list of pros and cons of doing courses, what it boils down to is you. Stop saying that you've love to be a lingerie designer and get started. Try on bras, decide what you like or don't like about them, what would you change etc... No ifs and buts, in two years time you will be two years older no matter what you do, wouldn't it be great if you were closer to your dreams?
Accept it will take you longer than you first thought, but don't accept your excuses you give yourself when it becomes hard. Start to read about designers/people behind brands to inspire you. It took Negative Underwear fours years to launch, they had no experience in the lingerie or fashion industry and had full times jobs. It all can be done.
So write down something now which you can either research or look at to get you one step closer.
Only you know what path to take, if you're still stuck on getting starting or have started designing but are stuck on technical side then these books may help you.
How to become a Lingerie Designer : This book is broken into chapters each covering different aspects of becoming a lingerie designer, from sourcing inspiration, approaching buying and sourcing a manufacturer - it also has mini interviews from independent lingerie designers on how they started their label.
The Anatomy of a Bra : This book covers the different type of bra, the components needed to make a bra and a look at international sizing.
How to Spec a Bra and Brief : A technical book about writing a specification sheet, it gives the industry measurements used between bra sizes and gives you step-by-step instructions and diagrams on how to write one.
How to write a tech pack for a bra and brief : With the same bra and brief examples used in the spec book, this technical book gives you construction terms and examples of what to put on each page of your tech pack so you can present it to a factory and get your lingerie produced.
Contact me if you have questions about the books or getting started and I will answer you the best I can or point you in the right direction if I don't have the answers.