The path from a dreaming teenager to an own fashion label
I think almost every fashion designer dreams of having their own label at some point. I always had the feeling that I would do that one day - but had no idea when.
Even as a teenager, I was very focused when I set my mind to something. Ever since I saw a documentary about fashion design at 13, I wanted to be nothing else. Internships with big fashion companies in design, a dressmaker, a milliner as well as drawing and sewing courses followed during my school years. Before I had my A-levels in my pocket, I called through half the address directory of VOGUE to ask all the well-known German fashion companies what training their designers should ideally have. According to my tally sheet, it was ESMOD Munich at the time, so I took the entrance exam there and passed. Since I heard that ESMOD was one of the most strenuous and demanding fashion schools, I decided to do a one-year apprenticeship in Textile Technology & Clothing after graduating from high school before I started there.
The apprenticeship was a lot of fun, but extremely demanding. Which was not made any easier by my perfectionism. I remember working through three days and nights at a stretch, only to fall half-dead into bed. At times I felt like a Navy Seal, only in my fashion world. I learned a lot, saw almost nothing of Munich, but made friends forever.
After graduation came the application marathon. I assumed that it wouldn't be too hard to find a job. Especially since I had top grades, more internships and above all two internationally won competitions to show for it. But far from it. For the few design jobs that exist in the industry, hundreds of new fashion school graduates enter the market every year. It's a calculation that can't be made. I originally wanted to go to Paris, but none of the couture houses were budging. When I showed up in person, security wouldn't let me enter the house without an appointment or I was offered a sewing job with 20 Chinese workers in the backyard. With flags flying, I finally went back and decided to cancel Paris and apply to my favorites in Germany and Austria. For weeks I heard nothing. But one morning, in quick succession, two companies called with interest. I decided to go for the permanent position and against the assistant position and went to Austria. That was in 2007, and I remember being overwhelmed by the beauty of the area around Lake Attersee, where my new job was taking me.
Working as a designer for an international premium label for nine years was a lot of fun. I was finally able to show what I was made of, learned a lot and made good friends.
Then in 2015, everything came differently than planned and that was a good thing.
Building a house, getting married, having a baby. All at once. I would never have planned it this way, but when a stone starts rolling, everything rolls. That's also how it came about that during my parental leave I increasingly flirted with self-employment. If not now, when?
So I didn't go back to my old job and started my small business as a sole trader in 2017.
My son had just started childcare and so I had time in the mornings to set up the label and develop the first collection. Partly you need ten arms and legs to manage everything, child/husband/house/self-employment - but somehow it worked out in the end. Above all, dedicated grandparents and a husband who supported me through everything made it possible for me at all.
The thought that there is hardly any casual and stylish fashion on the market that you can wear as homewear super at home, did not let me go. In addition, it was clear to me from the beginning that it had to be fair fashion and as sustainable as possible.
Unfortunately, it is often enough the case that fashion is produced in low-wage countries under conditions that are inhumane. Even if you could get certificates: who knows what is as soon as the inspectors have left. Therefore, only fair production in Europe came into question for me. Where I can be on site the same day and know the factories.
The textile industry is also the second dirtiest industry in the world (after the oil industry). This is another reason why I avoid production in low-wage countries, as there are no relevant laws on environmental protection or waste disposal there either. So one thing led to another and the label slowly got its identity.
It took a year of preparation, some detours and apprenticeships until I finally launched my first collection in September 2018. At first the collection was only available on my online shop www.youlookperfect.at and the premium platform of German fashiondesigners, then also offline in a few boutiques in Austria and in wonderful 5 star superior hotels.
The dream is slowly starting to come true. Still, I have to work tirelessly every day to keep the label going, to win new customers, to develop new collections, to find more boutiques/hotels and to fight for my place in the shark tank of fashion. Everything else would be boring ;-)