Lisa Springsteel’s “Becoming a fashion designer”, published last month by John Wiley and Sons, contains an unparalleled resource of up-to-date information, which gives readers a better understanding of the creative process that drives the fascinating world of fashion. Packed with interviews from influential designers, stylists and entrepreneurs, as well as insider tips from industry professionals and step-by-step descriptions of various job positions, the book depicts what it takes to have a career in fashion. Covering everything from portfolio building and sharpening interviewing skills, to developing brand identity and writing a business plan, this in-depth fashion guide will provide you with necessary information to get your foot in the door, whether you are trying to find a job or launch your own line.
Irina Romashevskaya: What is your background in fashion? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
Lisa Springsteel: I am a twenty year fashion industry veteran having worked in design and global fabric research, development, and sourcing for such luxury design firms as Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, and J. Mendel.
IR: How did you come up with the idea for the book and why?
LS: When I started out in the fashion industry, there was no book that provided insider information, tips, expert advice and guidance to manage your career in the fashion industry. I wanted to put all of my knowledge and all the tricks of the trade that I had to learn on my own together in one place to effortlessly help people navigate through the rocky terrain that oftentimes exists when you launch a career in fashion design.
IR: What is the main focus of your book?
LS: "Becoming a Fashion Designer" gives you all the information and resources you need to start a career in fashion design, from receiving the appropriate education, to building a portfolio, marketing yourself and making yourself stand out from the competition, to landing your dream job. I also provided several original interviews from top fashion designers, such as Manolo Blahnik, Reem Acra, Anna Sui, Ralph Rucci, Stuart Weitzman, Peter Som, Daymond John from ABC's "The Shark Tank," and so many more!
IR: How did you pick designers for your project? What were your criteria?
LS: My criterion was to find the most successful designers practicing their craft throughout the world. What aspiring fashion designer wouldn't want to learn from the best?
IR:Who are your favorite designers?
LS: I am obsessed with Valentino and Elie Saab. To me, couture is perfection and nothing can compare, so I find myself constantly inspired by their work.
IR: What was the best style advice you’ve ever received? Who gave it to you?
LS: This is a great question, and with no intention of sounding arrogant, it actually came from myself. I feel it is of utmost importance to dress according to the occasion - not too underdressed and not too overdressed. I can't help but to shake my head at that person who attends a black tie gala in casual pants and a top. I find it extremely disrespectful.
IR: In your opinion, what are the essential elements of every woman’s wardrobe?
LS: Without sounding too cliché, it has to be those outfits that can easily go from day to evening, with just the right accessories. With everyone's busy schedules these days, it is all about maximizing your time.
"When I started out in the fashion industry, there was no book that provided insider information, tips, expert advice and guidance to manage your career in the fashion industry. I wanted to put all of my knowledge and all the tricks of the trade that I had to learn on my own together in one place to effortlessly help people navigate through the rocky terrain that oftentimes exists when you launch a career in fashion design."
IR: Would you call yourself a fashionista? How would you describe your personal style?
LS: I would be pleased if I was considered a 'fashionista' by my colleagues. I would describe my personal style as being fun, flirty, and festive, with a unique element of surprise.
IR: Have you thought about creating your own clothing line?
LS: Funny you should ask this. Yes! I have always dreamed of creating my own label and after writing this book, I have started to consider it more seriously.
IR: Once the book is released, are you planning to continue writing? Do you have any other creative projects in the works?
LS: Yes. I am currently a fashion writer for Making of a Mogul, LLC, an online based fashion publication. Right now, my top priority is working with my publisher to promote the book, but once that has settled down a bit, I would love to write a second edition of "Becoming a Fashion Designer" and have a very interesting idea for a second book concept relating to the fashion industry. Stay tuned for more details!
Interview Irina Romashevskaya
Photographs Courtesy of Lisa Springsteel