Interview with a San Francisco Fashion Design Professional
February 24, 2005
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Of course every fashion designer wants fame and fortune of the Hilfiger or Versace variety but very few fashion designers start at the top of the food chain. This month's feature focuses on the real life fashion career of Molly Scott, a red hot young fashion designer/merchandiser based in San Francisco. Molly is a fine example of what real working life is like for the young and ambitious fashion professional. Thank you Molly for taking the time to talk with us!
- What are you up to these days?
These days I am working as a Designer/Merchandiser for Byer, California in the Junior Sportswear division. It's an amazing company to work for and really keeps me on my toes. Most companies would separate the Designer/Merchandiser roles but I have the opportunity to wear many hats and have my hands in many exiting things. An average day for me here usually starts out by researching trends and what's new and happening in the marketplace. After that, it's time to gather up ideas and start making up sketches to put up for pattern work. After new designs are made, I choose the fabrics and trims. If we don't have what I'm looking for, we source everything needed for the garment. Every day a fit model comes in to try on new and existing stock garments to make sure everything fits as it should. This process happens for about 150 garments every single month to prepare for our 12 markets that take place in NY and LA every year. See why I'm always on the go?
- What are the best aspects of working in fashion?
I think job satisfaction is the best aspect of working in fashion for me. There's something to be said for waking up every morning, thrilled to see what the day will bring.
- Flip side. What are the worst aspects of working in fashion?
Long hours and not much gratitude are two aspects that are not so appealing.
- What type of training do you have?
I started out as an Economics major in college and never understood how I was going to make it from studying economics to working in fashion. Strangely enough, there is a connect... I suppose it's all about supply and demand and how to find the balance between the two. After college, I found a job working in fashion in NYC and after a few years there, decided it was time to get formal training in what I wanted to be my career. So I moved to SF and got what is considered a master's in the field in Product Development at F.I.D.M (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising).
- What did you do before you got into fashion?
Before I got into fashion, I think I was in the womb! No, joking aside, my first job out of school was in fashion. I worked as a nanny while I was putting myself through school and I taught yoga... and continue to.
- What are the most underrated things they teach you in fashion school?
Truly, everything was important for my job. I think some people thought they would never need to know how to "true" a pattern or how to sew a garment but every bit helped. You have to understand what goes into a garment before you can design it.
- What are the most overrated things they teach you in fashion school?
Tough question... maybe Retail Math, I suppose. Come on, if you don't know basic addition and multiplication, you shouldn't be in grad school!
- Most common misconceptions about working in fashion?
That it's glamorous! There's nothing glamorous about working in fashion unless you are working on the runways with the models or on a fashion shoot. Other than that, it's hard work and long hours.
- In your opinion, best current fashion trend?
I'm loving the old Hollywood glamour that we're seeing these days. It's all about simplicity done right, keen tailoring, and gorgeous lines.
- Worst current fashion trend?
My god, where to start? The high- heeled sneaker shoes are pretty bad in my opinion. And I'm not into the poncho thing but anything can be made to look good if it's worn right and on the right person!
- Best fashion movement in your lifetime?
Hmmm. I like very sophisticated dressing myself. The 40's and 50's were a great era for fashion although; it was certainly not in my lifetime!
- Worst fashion movement in your lifetime?
I dig the whole throw back to the 80's but it really is atrocious!!! It's just comical! Leg warmers, funky jewelry, short skirts. It's definitely not a look everyone can pull off!
- Advice to anyone looking for a career in fashion?
Make sure you like what you are producing. It will make your job that much easier. And don't get into it with the expectation that you are going to be rich and famous. There is very little money in fashion and unless you are a Galliano or a Ralph, you're not famous!
- Most difficult but necessary skill to acquire before you embarks on a fashion career?
A good memory and a keen knowledge of fabric.
- Your ultimate career goal is...
To work for a fashion forecasting company, researching trends all over the world and going to all the shows to get ideas of what's the next big thing.
- Fill in the blank: fashion designers make good __________.
- What did you do, if anything, to make contacts in the industry?
I think the best way to make contacts is working in the industry. School is a great place to make contacts too!
- How competitive is the fashion job market in your opinion?
It's really competitive! Especially in San Francisco. There's just not that many jobs out there in Fashion and the jobs that are available require a lot of training, experience and knowledge.
- If you knew then (when you decided to go into fashion) what you know now, what would you do different?
I'm not sure I would do anything different. I don't know the best path; I only know the one I am on.
- Ever meet anyone famous cause you work in fashion?
I think meeting Michael Kors was interesting. I've met a bunch of models but I guess it depends on what your idea of "famous" is.
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