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Design & Style

Surviving the Fashion Industry

Marc Jacobs

Lesson time 10:01 min

The fashion industry can be tumultuous, even for the best of designers. In this chapter, Marc shares some tips on how you can survive and thrive.

Marc Jacobs
Teaches Fashion Design
In 18 lessons, iconic designer Marc Jacobs teaches you his process for creating innovative, award-winning fashion.
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I did an internship when I was in high school. I went to do an internship for a designer named Stan Herman, and I was so excited. I mean, he was a known designer, but he was working a lot on lingerie and also designing things like Federal Express uniforms. And I really enjoyed that experience. I mean being there, being around any form of design was really, really useful to me and really good and very exciting. And I think any kind of internship one could do, any kind of real experience within the fashion industry, whether it's directly with women's fashion-- I mean, at that time, it didn't matter. I just wanted to be around people who were designing clothes. So again, I didn't dream of being a lingerie designer, and I didn't dream of designing uniforms. But being in that environment, being in a studio on 40th Street and going in there and seeing people draw and rolls of fabric, all of that stuff, being around the Garment Center, it all really excited me. And again, the idea of being feisty or approaching people or asking questions, that's kind of my character and my nature. And it certainly has served me, and I can think of others who it served very well also. And I do think-- what is that expression-- the squeaky wheel gets the oil. So be a squeaky wheel. You know, ask questions. Reach out. Use whatever tools you have to communicate your thoughts and your ideas. And don't be shy. You know, you only learn by asking. [MUSIC PLAYING] I love enthusiasm. I mean, I love energy. I love people who are excited about fashion and who will go the distance in terms of, like me, never feeling 100% satisfied. Always feeling you can do a little bit more and who are very proactive. I really appreciate and value and insist, kind of, that people don't wait around for me. That they are actively doing something, thinking about things, working on things-- whether it's samples or research or sketching, whatever it is-- that everybody involved in this thing that we do, this design team that I work with, that they're constantly thinking and bringing ideas. And you know, I am very fortunate because I do actually have a group of people that I work with who are always willing to stay late, to come in on weekends to just keep doing it. And not because they have to, but because they really want to. Because really what their desire is, is to make something that we all feel is great and beautiful and says something fresh and new for us. So we have a shared kind of goal. And we all have similar aesthetics, not necessarily the same. And again, I think there's a true passion and energy for what we do. And everybody on the team or teams has that. So they're very excited about the work they do. It's a job, but it's a job they love. [MUSIC PLAYING] If I have to tell you one thing about being a designer, it would be, it's a great job. But it's a job....

Create your own trends

Marc Jacobs’s infamous grunge collection got him fired. It also won him the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award. In his first online fashion design class, the 11-time CFDA Award winner teaches his hands-on process for creating clothes that push boundaries and set trends. Learn Marc’s construction techniques, how he creates unique shapes and silhouettes, and how you can develop your own ideas from the first sketch to the final piece.


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


To learn of all the hard work it takes to build a brand in the fashion industry helps me to appreciate the beautiful designs that I wear. Bravo!!

Ha sido maravillosa la clase, todos los pasos han sido inspiradores e increibles. Me encanta como te alienta a poder probar diferentes tecnicas y a pensar y dar la vuelta a los disen'os. Lo unico es que hay 3 documentos extra y solo encontre uno el workbook, ni los figurines ni el otro estan disponibles.

Learned a lot. Totally appreciated Marc talking about how he got the opportunities of working at LVMH and all the experiences and anecdotes of what he had to do (and still does) to get into the industry and keep up with it. I'm probably not designing soon, but with these fundamentals I can take my own approach and try to find direction on the set of skill I want to put in use.


Cristelle S.

Dear MasterClass, Hello. After the "Surviving the Fashion Industry" lesson, I got an idea to think about how my design process will work in the next few months. Thank you "Marc Jacobs Teaches Fashion Design" class. Sincerely, Cristelle Nicole

Ann T.

I think Instagram is a great tool to make social contacts. I miss being part of a real fashion/design community in a larger city where I would be even better connected. I didn't realize until later in life (and after I already paid for a master's degree!) to pursue an education in fashion. Because I'm so passionate about fashion, I've tried to educate myself as much as possible with books, fashion documentaries and closely following trends during fashion week.

Pétainguy M.

internet created communities over the local one ... good idea ! an opened world with opened mind.

RJane @.

Henri Bendel didn’t survive. Its parent company, L Brands demolished Henri Bendel to make more profits with other L Brands’ brands. It must be a difficult choice of L Brands.

Vickie R.

Funny you just reminded me that in the early 80s I worked as an intern at PLAYGIRL magazine in Santa Monica (as a journalist).

Greg M.

Learning more about a field you are interested in is always important and will help you in the long run. Knowledge is power. I will continue to learn and grow in my field and always push myself to do better.

Reena Mafaldina D.

My very first job was with a local designer from the village where I lived and actually didn't get paid for all my work but I loved it even with its simple setting, I mean the way things were kept all over the place, busy girls sewing and a very talented pattern maker. Then there was a second experience working with another designer which I might say was a much nicer experience, and he did fashion garments and had fashion shows and I thought to myself, this is going to be the best experience I will ever have in my lifetime. But the best so far is sewing for my family and friends and myself, and learning to put all my creativity into making clothes they would love to wear every day and not just once. And making use of the time and materials with the minimum wastage. But creativity goes far beyond and is deep inside you. And the outcome should be to see others happy with your ideas. I agree with Marc Jacobs about the internet. It has changed my world too.

Elizabeth E.

What I learned from this class it’s that to be a successful Fashion Designer as Mr. Marc Jacob is, required a good combination of good creativity, a lot of hard work, a proactive team work and a little of luck to meet people in the industry that like your job. Like he said: An Internship, is a good start, and the Internet and social media can be tools that can help a designer.

Lyn E.

This was quite interesting, and I have a few observations: 1. Stay off of Twitter. It is toxic and lends nothing of visual or creative value as opposed to visual media. 2. Stay true to your vision until it proves resoundingly that your vision can not be shared. 3. Develop teamwork and team mates. No one does it alone. 4. As much as I love platform shoes, do not force your models and muses to attempt to walk your vision into a runway where they will risk their well being.

A fellow student

Hii all. I am a handbag designer called Doris Dorothea we are focus on exotic skin product and we want to spread to international market.any can help me how to enter US market?