Fashion Quote: Tom Ford on Aspiring Designers

tom ford, fashion career, fashion quote, fashion jobsI’ve had a lot of people write to me recently about wanting to break into the industry, and several of the emails begin with “I am determined to make it in the fashion industry.” My first thought is, why? Why the fashion industry? And then I think, it would be much smarter to be determined to do something else. Like have a fun career. Live in a nice city. Have a great family. Travel. Take lots of time off.

Tom Ford talked about this in a recent interview with WWD. When asked about advice for aspiring designers, he said this:

“It might be the same thing that people used to tell me when I said I wanted to be an actor, which is, “If there is anything else in the world that you would be happy doing, do that.” I’m serious. This is the harshest industry. I have worked in the film industry with people like Harvey Weinstein, who is a great man but he is also very tough. But, I’m telling you, that industry is easy compared to what we do.”

I can’t say the film industry is tougher than fashion, as I have no idea what the film industry is like, but I can definitely say that the fashion industry is TOUGH. And I love the idea of considering what else would make you happy? Is succeeding in a field of your choice the key to being happy? I’m probably too young to be able to comment properly, as I don’t have enough years to reflect back on, but I’ve not heard of many people who claim that their job makes them happy. Did you read my New Years Resolution post? It is definitely worth a read. And to all my aspiring fashion people, think twice before you embark on a tough career route. These days, the people I envy the most are the ones with easy  jobs, good benefits, lots of time off, and the ones who never take their work home with them. THAT would make me happy.

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  • Rudolf Seabra

    That means I’m up for misery at my job. It’s either fashion or working in public service/charity, “helping people”.

  • Paige

    Haha, oh the irony. Tom Ford was the reason I got into fashion in the first place! His final years at Gucci and YSL are still some of my favourite aesthetic moments of the early Noughties. That being said, after having gone to school for Fashion Design myself, I agree with him and have since fixed my eyes on other (vaguely) fashion related ventures. It does make me happy though when I meet someone who truly is a designer. Talented, driven, focused, skilled. Some people really are just built to be on the pulse, and to bring a beautiful, wearable perspective to the world. Also, I’m interested to see how the fashion industry is going to change in the coming years. If the pressure of the industry continues to foil its greats the way it has, it won’t really have much to show for itself, now will it? Perhaps many will be unable to make it in fashion through the traditional channels…. but maybe those traditional channels should be open to re-evaluation anyway. 

  • Sally

    I know way too many struggling actors to believe that for a second.

    Also, I work in one of those ‘easy’ jobs. It sucks. Like, really sucks. I can’t wait to start my fashion education next year so I can put all my time, energy, money, body and soul into something I actually love and have a passion for, instead of just half-arsing it at something that pays the bills.

    Grass is always greener. Except for Tom Ford, who has access to every paddock.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Sally, come back to me once you’ve done your fashion education and you’ve worked in the industry for 5 years. I think you’ll have a different perspective. I used to think it was all about having a job that you loved. Now that I’m in my early 30’s with a kid, I realize I want time, security, and no stress. Those things are not options in most fashion jobs. And at any given moment, there is always someone who is willing to do your job for cheaper. It is not fun at all.

  • Starless27

    I have to agree that some people are more meant to work in
    fashion than others, I went to fashion school for a while before I realized
    that while I love fashion I never want to work in it. 

  • Info

    if its so hard why is it so uninspired what people are willing to dress and what people are willing to make is very limited i like what marcell shoes are doing but given the anthroplogical record we just make boring same old clothing with exprestionest motifs its as if everything must fit in one fashions gods thight vigina. as i wish that there was more viginas peoples insperations are limited to a few much like words. one straw revolution. a scan of cruse ship exiters will shock you just look around you are all the same.