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Design & Style

Developing Your Product - Part 2

Diane von Furstenberg

Lesson time 9:25 min

Learn how to position your product and brand within the market. Learn why your product needs to “stand” for something, and why your own perspective as a consumer is critical.

Diane von Furstenberg
Teaches Building a Fashion Brand
In 17 video lessons, Diane von Furstenberg will teach you how to build and market your fashion brand.


It is very important if you want to design, if you want to be a designer, that your product has an identity, a reason to be. And therefore, it has to offer something different, it has to offer a personality, or it has to have a marketing catch that is very unique and very special. The last thing you want to do is something that is totally generic, especially today, where you can find anything at any price. And therefore, that is a huge competition that is absurd to get into. So you have to find a niche. You Have to find something, a niche that is special that hasn't been done. It has to be a single-- it has to stand for something. So it either has to be a single product or a type of fabric or a type of something, but it is very important that you have one product. And when you start, you could actually imagine and design a collection. And then all of a sudden, you'll understand that, oh, there's one common thing. Maybe it's bows or maybe you work with zippers and you use zippers as ornament or whatever it is. You have to stand for something. What does it mean to have the product stand for something? That means that it's just like a person. It has to have a personality. It has to have a reason to be. It has to be something that you remember. We said that to have a product, or a single product, or single idea, it's very important to build around it. So how do you have that idea? I think, again, it's a question of it's an idea that makes sense, that [? doesn't ?] exist, and that I would like to wear or that my friend would want to wear. That's how you go about it. When you design something, you have to make sure that there is a market for it. And the market means desire. So you have to make it, go around, and see the reaction of people. See people react to it or don't get it at all. It's the demand that tells you that. You create-- there's the offer and the demand, and that is the basic principle of commerce. It's always good if you remember that you are a consumer. And so if you do a woman's product, I mean, that is something that you want to wear. It's something that you need. It's something that you don't find anywhere. If you are a man designer, it's important that your best friend wears it or needs it or likes it. You need to have that traction in order to know that it makes sense. All right, so the portfolio I have now in front of me is Inle by [? Suzanna ?] .. And it has a beautiful inspirational image of Myanmar, and it's very peaceful and the colors are very beautiful. I see a very interesting unique technique of a cover machine makes a little technique, and so I think that's very nice. And then I see kind of sweater dresses where that technique is used. Because truly, Suzanna, if you are interested in the things that you say, if you are interested in the workmanship of th...

Design Your Brand

In her 20s, Diane Von Furstenberg convinced a textile factory owner in Italy to let her produce her first designs. With those samples, she flew to New York City to build one of the world’s most iconic and enduring fashion brands. In her first online fashion design class, Diane teaches you how to build a brand. You’ll learn how to create a visual identity, build loyalty, stay true to your vision, and launch your product.


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

importance of connecting to your brand and customers

Yes I can do it! Build my brand. and compete in the market.

I can divide my life in stages and I have been successful with my first 40 years. Now is my second act, when I’ll do what I was born to do and this class has encouraged me to go for it.

I loved this class! Great getting to see how she approaches fashion, her business and mentoring.


Victoria M.

This was a very illuminating lesson. I completed a portfolio, but I couldn't upload the whole thing, so I've sent an image of the "Keepin' Up With Vicqui Line". It took me a long time to create it but I think it tells a story about the clothing I'd like to create as part of "Victoria's Closet". Geared for breast cancer and lupus patients doing the portfolio taught me how to further conceptualize my ideas.

Victoria M.

I really loved this assignment because it gave me a chance to use the environment around me. I took all of the photos, for my mood board with my iPhone, on the walk from "Kaiser-Permanente" to the "Plaza La Cienega Shopping Center".I went into a store I've been intrigued about for a while, "Moroccan Decor", and took a lot of photos of the interior and exterior merchandise and displays. I then saw a beautiful landscaped area in front of a building that reminded me of the Southwest, so I took photos of that. Then I met a man in a handmade silk jacket from India, and I asked him if I could take some photos of him, and I photographed him in the parking lot of a car dealership. The photos of the houndstooth jacket, plaid pants, and houndstooth garments were from the outfit I wore that day. The man on the bus in black and white was one of the three well-dressed people I saw that day, so I shot that photo while he was concentrating on his iPhone. Lastly, the snow-capped mountains were shot after we had a storm and struck me by their beauty so I shot them too. If I were to say what my inspiration for this mood board is it would be "Midday Los Angeles" and all of the gorgeous colors and people you might see during any day in the city.


Even though I am planing to work in art sales, I find this class EXTREMELY motivating and pushing to start doing something properly and in your own uniq way. Thanks a lot, Diane!

A fellow student

It will take some time to determine what your brand is. Look in your closet and that should give you an idea of what style you are drawn to.


I am not a junior looking for advice on portfolios but I am enjoying the lessons and I'm looking forward to hearing more from Diane as I have always admired her and the DVF brand.

Kateryna S.

To find a niche is aesy if you have the answer fot the question Why did you create your brand!

Vera Lúcia M.

As a high school graduate I don’t have clear idea, yet, in which product I want to specialize my future brand. Although, there are some trends that I identify myself with and I want to underline. First, I think one of big trends that is coming is the classical and simple silhouettes, used by Meghan Markle as Duchess of Sussex. Like the boat necklines, the penciled skirts, the 3/4 sleeves and the tops that are very fitted to the body. This trend are also seen in Givenchy’s Claire Waight Keller’s collections and at Dior’s recent collections by Maria Grazia Chiuri. When we look at these things we easily recall Audrey Hepburn’s movies where she was dressed by her good friend Hubert de Givenchy, as we also remember Dior’s New Look and picture Marilyn Monroe’s well-defined bust that was highlighted by extra fitted shirts. Another trend that I related with is the slogan mania, that passed from T-shirt with quotes to shirts with patterns that are, in fact, one or multiple quotes. The sayings also jumped into skirts, pants, sweaters and more, sometimes, just as a sided stripe. But, once again, this trend is also cyclical. Because slogan t-shirt was created by Katherine Hamnett and knew it’s big moment when it’s creator used a t-shirt with a political statement when Hamnett met the former UK’s prime minister – Margaret Thatcher. There is a last trend that I want to talk about, not because I consider it cyclical but because think it is innovative. This trend was created by Jeremy Scott for Moschino and Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga. Gvasalia and Scott made the most common things seemed luxurious. Who would want a Mc Donald’s’ paper cup? Maybe anyone, but if it was a Moschino’s little bag that was exactly alike a Mc Donald’s’ cup it would be turned into a must-have. And who would want a blue IKEA’s bag? The answer is the same but if the bag was turned into Balenciaga: “What a luxury!” I think the culture is more open and more diverse than for example 20 years ago. Which allows me to do more experiences and try spontaneous things in my brand.

Lucy B.

I think for what I want to do, it is really important to look at both street wear and high fashion. In street wear you get the exposure to the abstract world where any concepts could be brought in. Someone like Trevor Andrew has made a career similar to one I would love to have. This concept of bringing something organic and clearly created with your hand and a paintbrush as opposed to everything being crisp and printed. At the same time, Trevor Andrew is a great person to look for because he is bringing that street wear art to high fashion. All his work with Gucci is a complete and total inspiration to me. The fact that he will look up old designs of Snoopy or characters from old comic books and incorporate his own designs into them is really iconic to me. He is merging a brand that was created a very long time ago and for a totally different purpose and making them into his art by adding his touch. I make jean jackets and usually they are custom or have the logo from a company that is already established and then I put my spin on it. I am very interested in making a collection of jackets that all have a similar theme but no two are actually the same. The colors I put in my mood board are ones I want to go for or incorporate into the collection. I will source Levi's (I like the quality the best) jackets to create on. They are always the vintage baggy fitting ones and can be a little harder to find. As far as trends in the marketplace, I feel like this style has a real place in cities. People like to set themselves apart from each other and have new things that they know no one will have. In cities I think because a lot of people are interested in fashion and there is so much available to someone in a city that it can be hard to have everything different from the next person. Unfortunately, for painted pieces that aren't commissioned, these pieces can end up only making it on Etsy or a site similar. People have such different interests so its hard to pin point something everyone will like with one piece. I think the trends that stay the same with this concept are the accessibility to custom work, the uniqueness of each piece, and the continued availability to new pieces often. I think some of the things I have seen in the research that I have done that should change are staying relevant with the brands and ideas people are carrying with them that season. For example, right now a lot of people are taking old board games logos or cartoons and redrawing them to cater more towards the artist and their art but not so far that you miss the tie between the two. For example, you could use Charlie Brown as a concept but draw 5 of your friends instead of the characters from Charlie Brown using the same drawing style. Some of the styles from the past were a little less nice and not tied to cartoons that were very stylish. I am referring to something like the Betty Boop jean jackets or even Bugs Bunny. To me, its most important to stay up to date with the characters and the themes that people are touching on to create my own art. Some of the things I will be creating have nothing to do with what has already been made but could take concepts from it. The vintage "throwback" idea is very big right now. I need to find a place to source these jackets all in one place.

A fellow student

I am trying desperately to look for a manufacturer (preferably in the US) I am very new to this and was wondering if anyone could share their tips on finding a cheap but quality manufacturer. (doesn't have to be in the US I​ would just prefer it.)

Mia S.

"When you design something, you have to make sure there is a market for it. Market means desire. You have to make it,and go around and see the reaction of people. See if people react to it or don't get it at all, it's the demand that tells you that. There is the offer and the demand, which is the basic principle of commerce. It's always good if you remember that you are a consumer. It's something that you need, that you couldn't find anywhere; your best friend wears it or likes it. You need to have that traction in order to know that it makes sense. "Get close to who makes [your product]."