Business, Politics & Society

Designers: What It Takes to Succeed

Anna Wintour

Lesson time 13:45 min

Anna has launched the careers of some of fashion’s most world-renowned designers. She talks about what makes a designer stand out to her, and she gives essential tips for surviving as a creative today.

Anna Wintour
Teaches Creativity and Leadership
Anna Wintour gives unprecedented access to her world, teaching you how to lead with vision and creativity—and without apology.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] ANNA WINTOUR: Switching gears a bit, I now want to offer some advice directly to the young designers watching this class. I've been lucky enough to know, work with, and support the careers of many of the most exciting designers of our generation. Let me tell you a little bit about how you can stand out and how you can succeed as a designer. [MUSIC PLAYING, TYPEWRITER CLACKING] When I talk to students who come up to see us here at Vogue, or I go and talk to them at colleges, I always talk to them about not playing it safe. Try something that is the most extreme, that is the most creative because when you're doing that, you get to the true heart of who you are. And when you look at the risk-taking that you're making and you're looking at a garment that you maybe you have no idea what it is. It's got 100 sleeves or it's made of 16 different kinds of fabrics, you don't know if it's a coat, or an evening dress, or a pair of pants. Why not? I mean, fashion is a dream. It has to take people to a different world. So to understand all of it, you have to keep pushing the envelope. So you almost have to find out what's not right for you and what you're trying to achieve to know more who you are. [MUSIC PLAYING] One of the delights of working at Vogue is to be able to help put a spotlight on young talent, up and coming talent, and also for all of us to help support them, and teach them, and mentor them as much as we can. And I think talent, young designers can come at you from anywhere, and I think it's not just traditionally going up to look at a showroom. I mean, Alexander Wang worked as an intern at both Teen Vogue and at Vogue when he was at college. He was really one of the earliest proponents of street style as being the basis of everything he designed, and that's still true today. I was on an airplane going from Miami to New York when I received a note on a napkin from a young man who I was then able to help get an internship at Michael Kors, and he then went on to meet his partner at college and became a company called Proenza Schouler, and it's been so rewarding to see them grow from being the new kids on the block, straight out of Parsons into a globally renowned label. So I think it's really important to always be open to talent, not think that it can only come in one direction and very important to try and help people as much as you can. And what we all look for and what we will be looking for if we were looking at your portfolios, or your photography, or whatever it might be is a different kind of an eye, a strong point of view, something that doesn't look like a carbon copy of a famous designer. And that sensibility and that originality is what really moved me to help support a young designer back in London many, many years ago called John Galliano, who was obviously such a remarkable talent, but at the same time had absolutely no idea how to run a business. And we were able to help him find an in...

How to be a boss

A fashion and media icon, Anna Wintour has been driving our cultural conversation for more than 30 years. The Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Artistic Director of Condé Nast takes off her signature sunglasses and gives you unprecedented access to her world. See how Anna nurtures talent, makes bold decisions, and evolves a brand. Learn how to lead with impact from a visionary creative leader.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I need to watch it again, so many information!! Absolutely loved it and love Anna. Definitely being a leader is not for everyone but for sure many things we can improve to be more successful.

Very informative and insightful course! Always admired Anna Wintour and couldn't resist tuning in for her words of wisdom.

ahhh ....very inspirational. I will go through one more time and learn, first time was my pure joy. thank you Ana and MC!! Greetings from Slovenia.

she's fabulous! love all her management advice.


Amy T.

I absolutely love the comment about just doing as creative as you can to really discover yourself. I’ve been so bogged down with people saying, that’s too creative, I won’t wear that, it’s not wearable. I am so moved to go back to creating as creative as I can because my heart sings to do that. Thank you

Victoria M.

As a stylish African-American woman I’m always shocked to hear someone say something derogatory about an African-American woman representing style. I definitely commend Anna Wintour for putting Naomi Campbell on a September issue of “Vogue” because it proves she let’s inspiration rule over tradition and bias. May the industry continue on this path.

Francisco D.

Such vision and courage exemplified in every other statement Mrs. Wintour is offering through out the lessons. This particular this one resonated with me, because it reveals that she's not only a creative leader but a truly fearless leader: "This idea that everybody has to have a fashion show and also to have it at the same time is completely out of step...We work at in an industry that is about change; that is about leading people forward". With this statement she renders her publishing industry, her company, her position a target to potentially become irrelevant, because predictability in programming and scheduling is a cornerstone of the publishing industry and affects production cycles, talent management, and budgets. Yet she boldly makes the statement, confident that if and when things change, she will be ready—if not already leading that change! Brava!!

Lito M.

She's brilliant, her knowledge in the creativity is Amazing. Thank you! Ms. Anna Wintour

Margherita A.

She supported Alexander Wang from the beginning, but what is bold about his style?

Stephanie S.

I thought it would have been nice to hear where and when Anna cancelled an edition idea because despite all the work and trust in her team that one time did not work? And how the issue was saved

A fellow student

Amazing! I’m in a creative industry I certainly understand what she’s saying and will defiantly implement her advices and words of wisdoms x thank you x

Karen J.

I am so excited to know about this class in Masterclass. All videos are teaching me great wisdom and stories of fashion, leadership and business.


How about designers making clothes that fit regular people! That would be great business

Maria B.

I’ve always admired Anna Wintour. How fortunate to now be the recipient of her knowledge and experience. Thank you. I’m sure I will watch this over and over again!