#1. Draping isn’t just for serious designers.
Draping can get very complicated, but the basics are useful in everyday life; from styling an outfit in a different way (i.e. turning a large scarf into a top or dress) to home décor inspiration, like creating a custom set of curtains.
#2. Technical terms can make you a better shopper.
Knowing how to look—and ask—for specifics like French seams, welted pockets and box pleats versus knife pleats means knowing the difference in quality and price point, especially when shopping vintage.
#3. Sewing basics go a long way.
Knowing how to hand and machine sew saves time and money in spades when it comes to last-minute alterations or changing a hemline.
#4. Hard work will pay off.
As far as fashion schools go, Parsons is one of the toughest around, and there’s a reason for such a high drop-out rate. There’s a lot of pressure and certainly no lack of talent. But being persistent in whatever you do pays off, whether it’s pulling all-nighters to finish a complicated piece or reinventing a look to perfect it.
#5. Books are your best friends.
In the era of everything digital, books really are special and infinitely useful—whether as reference for a technique, research, or purely for inspirational purposes.
#6. Networking is essential.
The most successful designers are often backed by an excellent business partner, just as the best business people often need a hand on the creative side. The fashion world is so much about collaboration, and networking with different types of people really is everything.
#7. Personal style is important.
Many fashion designers default to wearing all black, but for those who don’t and have a very specific sense of personal style—or even wear their own designs—people notice. This can lead to opportunities you’d never imagine.
#8. Presentation is everything.
How you present your work matters. With fashion being such a visual industry, a strong presentation goes a long way. The smallest details are always important.
#9. Always edit.
Whether it’s clearing out your wardrobe or revising a piece of writing, things can only get better with editing.
#10. Accept criticism.
After four years of Parsons’ famed critiques—standing in front of peers and teachers as they dissect the best and the worst—I’ve learned that accepting even the toughest criticism and knowing how to use it is a great benefit.