How to get ready for an interview with the proper material.
Here are some friendly Pitti Tutorship tips!
“Value yourself more highly:others will worry about lowering the price” argued Anton Chekhov. The thought of the Russian playwright was certainly far from the logic of the fashion system, a world away from that sometimes overwhelming frenzy that characterises the turnover of professionals in fashion.
But without doubt that phrase should sound like a mantra, for everyone and in every field. Value yourself more highly! Not by sugar-coating your actual capabilities, but, most importantly, by making the most of your potential.
We are so focused on what we want that we no longer evaluate our capabilities objectively. Education, internships, interests, work experience on different levels, everything is fundamental in shaping our professional path, along which, of course, it is our personal aptitudes that mark the milestones.
First of all, we need to understand the other party we have in front of us, and what they are asking us at that particular moment. An international brand? A fashion brand? Structured or not yet? And what are they looking for? A head designer? Creative director? Style consultant? Womenswear, menswear or accessories designer? Everything needs to be calibrated and structured in order to satisfy the needs of the other party.
Arm yourself with simplicity and clarity. These are the fundamental guidelines. In the same way that standard CVs should not go over two pages, a portfolio should not be excessively long. Less is more! What better motto?
Try to understand the style of the brand you are addressing and that of your predecessors; it seems obvious, but we assure you that it is a subtlety not everyone is able to grasp. Remember that empathy brings rewards in all aspects of our lives, even more so in the workplace. Showing that you are prone to being in line with or having a connection to the brand DNA is not something to be underestimated. And is a factor that is never underestimated by human resources. This does not mean, however, playing down your own distinguishing features, but merely finding a way of making your differences empathically attractive to a brand.
Find a font that could look similar to that of the brand or in line with the social style predominating in this current period. The cut of the images must also be clean and essential, no effects, no altered colours.
Talk about yourself. Tell your story using your professional experiences (selecting only the main ones that are most relevant to the position for which you are applying) and, briefly, try to put your style into words. No allegorical excesses, tell your story with honesty and passion, also through the goals and results that you have achieved during your studies, but especially during your work experience. Any prizes or competitions you have won certainly add value.
And images, images are fundamental. It may seem trivial, but people who want to create a good portfolio do not always realise how important this is – and we have seen this happen again and again. High-resolution images of your last winter and summer collections. Those that are most effective in showing HR how alike you are to the brand. So study at least the last four collections that the brand has presented. The web is a very handy resource when it comes to this!
The focus should not only be on the look and the garment as a whole, but also on the subtleties, the details such as cut and embroidery. And remember that even just three total looks and three detailed images can make a difference.
Also, don’t forget those old but much-loved sketches. Having a dozen original drawings on your table, on paper, well-coloured and well-sequenced, will allow the person you are talking to to understand your hand and your “handmade” side. Sketches are your true stylistic trait. They are the signature for all your work. Use them!
Mood boards. Creativity does not only lie in the product, but also lives through your eyes and mind. When evaluating who we have before us, we also want to explore their inspirations, their culture, their spatial and temporal references. Because potential is not only measured by the product, but by that unexpressed aspect that feeds the mind of the person producing it: the idea. So make use of references to travel, colours, the history of costume or your personal life, so that, just like a real, physical mood board hanging in your studio, these may reveal something more about you.
Last but not least... in this small handbook which, rather than being exhaustive, aims to be “a mix of friendly tips”, remember to enter your contact details! It might seem trivial, but we assure you that we have received many many CVs and portfolios with no personal details. Not just social media, sometimes there are no contact details for press offices or even the designer’s own e-mail address or telephone number.
And reread it. Take your time to reread and check it.
Fingers crossed and touch wood... or anything else you fancy, as long as it works!