Design & Style, Business

Surviving the Fashion Industry

Marc Jacobs

Lesson time 10:02 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.

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

Topics include: Be the Squeaky Wheel • Be Proactive and Go the Distance • No One Has It Easy • Choose to Embrace the New • Give It All You Have


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....

About the Instructor

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.

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Marc Jacobs

In 18 lessons, iconic designer Marc Jacobs teaches you his process for creating innovative, award-winning fashion.

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