Tips from a fashion Icon who never attended fashion school

21 Lessons from Diane von Fürstenberg (DVF)

I signed up for DVF’s online Masterclass and took the following notes.  They’re worth sharing because her experience is valuable and applicable to anyone interested in launching their own fashion label; whether it be swimwear or sportswear or clothing in general. 

1. Your product needs to stand for something. She said, “Your product must have an identity, a reason to be, offer something different, and it has to offer a personality.” The last thing you want to do is something totally generic…especially today where you can find anything and everything at any price. Competition is absurd so you have to find a niche, something that hasn’t been done. It has to stand for something. It can be a single product or type of fabric. It could be zippers, tie bows or the craft in the stitches. Push it as far as you can. It’s your DNA.

2. What does it mean to have a product stand for something? Just like a person, it has to have a personality, a reason for being, something to remember. Stand for it and stick to your brand DNA

3. Storytelling is very important.

4. Consignment is only good for market research and feedback.

5. Is it unique? What is it that you bring that makes it so special?

6. Logos come and go. The new generation don’t like logos as much.

7. People have a brand loyalty to you as the designer. 

8. As you design your product, you also design your life.

9. The last thing you want to do is something that is totally generic. You have to find a niche. You have to find something that hasn’t been done.

10. Trademark the name separate from the company because you may end up losing the name if you sell the company.

11. Never undermine the value of a good reputation. 

12. Marketing is important to tell the story but you have to have something substantial (a relevant product) to tell the story about.

13. The most important thing is to focus on your intention.  Why is your product different? What is special about your product?

14. Serving and pleasing a customer is a privilege.

15. You learn everything from your consumer. Be on the floor, talk to them and connect. Today it’s called data, data. Market Research.

16. Social media. The more authentic the better it is.

17. QVC – Quality. Value. Convenience.

18. Connect. Connect and Connect more with your customers.

19. Confidence is everything.

20. There’s no way to know if what you’re doing is right. You just have to pay attention to your surroundings, to what’s going on, to what you want to do. It’s your journey and you have to live it the best you can.

21. Success and failure live together at all times. Setbacks and failures are a part of what everybody has.

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