Schooled Fashion Designers vs Self Taught Fashion Designers

Reaching back to the 20th century, we see that most of the key players who helped mold the face of the fashion industry were all self taught. Designers like Lucy Lady Duff-Gordon, John Redfern, Mariano Fortuny, Jean Patou, Jacques Fath, Christian Lacroix, Rei Kawakubo, Cristobel Belenciaga, Christian Dior, Maria Ricci, Oscar De La Renta, Karl Lagerfield, Muccia Prada, Diane Von Furstenberg and Vivienne Westwood are all self taught fashion designers.

In this 21st century, education is playing a major role on various professions and fashion design is not left out. Most people and organisations now see education as an essential part of one’s skills and capabilities.

Getting an education in fashion designing may be expensive but it does pay off in the long run. Some of the peculiarities that come with being schooled as a fashion designer are:

  • Incurring debts as fashion design schools are expensive.
  • Your learning process is shorter because you are taught how to get things done.
  • Access to computer-aided software that make work less stressful.
  • Less mistakes to be made because instructors pass unto you mistakes they had made in the past that prevents you from making such mistakes again.
  • Ability to keep up with fashion trends since you are taught fashion history and trends that have made comebacks.

I believe it is possible to be self taught and have a healthy appreciation of design philosophy.

The process of being self taught is not for the fainthearted because to be self taught means to be self driven, dedicated and tenacious. There is a lot to be explored which means trail and error until you achieve that you desire. Some of the attributes of being self taught in fashion designing include:

  • Having real talent to be able to make an impression on the fashion industry.
  • Patience and tenacity are skilled required for self taught fashion designers.
  • Hands on experience of the real world unlike schooling to be a fashion designer.
  • Willingness to take up poor jobs to learn more about this industry.

Below are brief introductions on self taught fashion designers who have made a name for themselves in recent times.

Micheal Costello
Micheal Costello

Micheal Costello

Self taught American fashion designer and Project Runway contestant in season 8 and Allstars season 1 where he came out as a finalist. His designs have been worn by celebrities like Beyonce, The Kadashians, Tamar Jill Scott, Ashanti, Joanna Krupa, Angela Bassett, Kenya Moore, Xixi Yang, Serena Williams, Delta Goodrem, Yasmine Petty, and so on. He’s also appeared on Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and his designs are hallmarked with the ability to perfectly enhance the natural hourglass figure.

Scott Sternberg
Scott Sternberg

Scott Sternberg

He is an American fashion designer, photographer and entrepreneur with a B.S.C degree in Economics from Washington University.

His fashion brand ‘band of outsiders’ was first introduced in 2003 as a brand of men’s shirt and ties which later grew with the addition of womenswear. Some of his stokist include Saks fifth Avenue, Oxygen boutique, ASOS, Mr Porter, Candy Couture, Shop Bird, and the list goes on. Some of his awards include CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Nominee 2008, CFDA Swarovski Award for New Menswear Designer of the Year 2009, CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year (Tie) 2010.

Joseph Altuzarra
Joseph Altuzarra

Joseph Altuzarra

Is a French women’s ready to wear clothing designer with a B.A in Art and Art History from Swarthmore College. He interned for Marc Jacobs and Proenza Shouler after which he was an apprentice to Nicolas caito and then an assistant to Givenchy’s Ricardo Tisci. He lunched his clothing brand ‘Atuzara’ in 2008 with a debut collection of over 15 pieces. Some of his awards and recognitions include Ecco Domani Award 2010, Fashion Group International Rising Star of the Year 2010, Out Magazine 100 Vanguard of the Year 2010, CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award 2011, 2012 Forbes 30 Under 30, CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear Design 2012, US Woolmark Prize Winner 2013, Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40, CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award 2014.

Nicola Ghesquiere
Nicola Ghesquiere

Nicolas Ghesquiere

Is a 44 year old French fashion designer and current creative director of The House of Louis Vuitton. At 12 Nicolas was making dresses out of his mother’s curtains and earrings out his grandmother chandelier crystals. At 14 he started interning with French fashion designer Agnes B after which he interned for Corinne Cobson. After school he has worked for designers like John-Paul Gaultier, Poles, Marie-Amelie Sauve, Nathalie Marrec of Belenciaga.

Speaking of recognistions, Ghesquiere was named Times 100 Most Influential People 2005, Avant-Garde designer of the year VHI/Vogue Awards 2010, CFDA Womenswear Designer of the year 2011,

Fashion’s Most Sought-After and Influential Figure by American Vogue, British Fashion designer Award International Designer of the Year 2014.

Tory Burch
Tory Burch

Tory Burch

Is a 48 year old American fashion designer, philanthropist and business woman with a degree in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania. She launched her fashion label ‘TRB by Tory Burch’ in February 2004. Tory Burch has a net worth of 1billion USD.

Burch won the Rising Star Award for Best New Retail Concept from the Fashion Group International in 2005. In 2007, she won the Accessory Brand Launch of the year award from the Accessories Council of Excellence in 2007. Burch won the Council of Fashion Designers of America award for Accessories Designer of the Year 2008, being included inWorking Women list of the 50 Most Powerful Moms of 2015. Being constantly included on Forbes list of World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.


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