"The only way that any new design concept will really come to light is when aliens come to earth and teach us new things."
And so the draping session with LFW designer Jean Pierre Braganza began. The self proclaimed heavy metal thrasher (hence the NIN song! They are his fave!) and sci-fi geek took a few hours out of his hectic schedule to teach us a basic draping lesson in the middle of Selfridges.
The draping aside (it was a super basic session to be fair), there were some serious life and fashion business related pointers that JPB was all to happy to impart. Frankly - it is this type of lesson that all aspiring designers need before entering the real world!
1. Take your time once you graduate and don't necessarily jump right in and use your name as your label name (although this is what he did!) It isn't an easy business and if it fails, you have not wasted your business name on a fledgling learning venture.
2. Be realistic about the fact that fashion is a business and isn't necessarily for arts sake - someone has to wear it! Jean Pierre's most interesting point was that many people in fashion are of the mindset "Ya well, I think outside the box" Which is absolutely fine but they seem to forget altogether that the box still exists!
3. Be kind to people. It is a very small world and an incestuous business and sometimes it pays to be on the right side of people. (And why not? Who wants to be a nasty fashion hag anyway?!)
4. Many opportunities and offers may come up but stick to what you want for yourself and your brand. You may be offered a lot of money but you may have to give up something you don't wan't to - is it worth it?
5. Push yourself. Jean Pierre is not financially backed as a designer and has had to be very frugal and decisive about the steps that he takes in his business.
6. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. JPB has kept his friends very close as they are mostly strong and intelligent females who know their own minds and have something to say about the world. On top of powerful alien fantasy women, these act as his muses.
7. Put on some loud music, light up a cigarette and get lost in draping through the night in whatever you have that can act as a studio. This is where his best (and worst!) design idea's have come from.
8. Allow yourself to have 2 parts. The strong, driven, business side and the real, down to earth, childlike version of yourself as both of these will shine through when you need them to.
9. Know what home is and go there, as time so easily slips by and you may one day realise that there was something there you were missing.
Thanks for the lesson Jean Pierre! You have armed me with some great knowledge and I shall enter this industry with the mind of a realist, the inspiring friends of my childhood and I hope to still think outside the box but might use it as a stool to sit on during a 2:00AM break from draping in my studio....