For instance, presently there are emerging designers driven by passion versus formal training. Before fashion schools existed, talent was fashioned through apprenticeships. No one does this anymore.


Internships are three month encounters with no immersion. The first five years, global research has revealed, are the most critical for any business. A fashion SME is no exception. Emerging designers survive largely, if not sorely, on their wits. In what is a chicken and egg question, the local industry does not institute the practice of hiring young talent to design under its banner. Upcomers desire to build their own name brands.

Youth, by definition, comes with indifference. This is perfect for fashion, innovation and self expression. Were it not extracted in the process of climbing the pyramid. A former BIFA teacher says “I think when designers get clients they start to conform to the demands of the clients.”

But, I ask her, don’t clients go to specific designers because they are drawn to an aesthetic? Why change that?” Thing is, a designer’s aesthetic is, in fact, changeable in their earlier years. Which is precisely what is supposed to happen. Those are apprenticeship years.

Opening a name brand straight from school forces you to grow up too fast, spread too thin, never enjoying the significance of playing around and experimenting with stuff; fabrics, free cutting, menswear, children’s clothing, draping techniques - who knows. Instead, mistakes are made on your dime.

Far more money is spent trying to stay afloat and pay wages or salaries while frantically attempting to create an online presence. At a time when a brand needs protection and nurturing before a targeted direction can be foisted on the market.

It is too much responsibility too soon with too much expectation usually from family and friends who will have lent money based on the reception of said designs. Of course, few make it to the top in any field. Only the tough survive. Looking at this industry though, I cannot help think the system is set up to make talent fail.

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