ATTN! ALL WOMEN IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY:
In honor of National Women’s Month, we are highlighting our very own fashion industry expert, Christine Daal. In her latest interview with Fashion Mannuscript, Christine talks sexism, the future of fashion, and top qualities that women in the fashion industry need for achieving success!
Christine’s Story and her Journey as a “Fashionpreneur”
What made you get into fashion design?
Since I was six years old, my mother taught me how to sew and I began to make clothes for my Barbie dolls. As I got older, I always had issues shopping for things in the stores. Specifically, I didn’t really like anything as I would always think of ways it could be made better or changes I would make to the item. I actually didn’t know being a fashion designer was a job until I was sixteen. Then I went on to make my own senior prom gown and got accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology. The rest is history.
Why did you launch Fashion Angel Warrior and what was the idea/inspiration behind it?
At one point in my career, I reached the position of VP of Design and Merchandising and realized that was the highest I was going to go in the industry. At the same time, I was getting fed up with the way people were being treated- especially women in the fashion industry. I didn’t agree with the whole ‘Devil Wears Prada’ way and wanted a change. So, I decided to leave my job and start my own fashion line! It actually did very well and sold out of its first retail store in less than two weeks! Due to the success I had, people started asking me to help them start a fashion line. This is when I realized that there is an immense need for this type of service. I also knew how tough and competitive the fashion industry is, and that most of the time it’s about who you know. This inspired me to start my consulting agency in order to help new upcoming designers have the same success I did.
What’s one of your biggest success stories when it comes to consulting at Fashion Angel Warrior?
I always get so much joy and fulfillment from helping others and watching them succeed. It’s why I do what I do. One of our biggest success stories is helping a company go from zero to a million dollars in sales in only one year! It was not an easy journey but we did it! We’ve also helped many retailers develop their own apparel lines and have had some clients raise over $20,000 with crowdfunding. This industry is tough and while most startup designers fail within the first 1-2 years, we’re happy to say we’ve had some that have lasted the test of time.
The Current State of Fashion and Sexism in the Industry
What are your thoughts on the current state of the fashion business (especially as it relates to opportunities for women in the fashion industry)?
The fashion industry is, in my opinion, is volatile. Too many people in the industry act like the personas from the ‘Devil Wears Prada.’ Their sole goal is to push others down to get themselves on top and to make themselves look and feel better, which I do not agree with. After working in the industry for over fifteen years, job opportunities are decreasing in the fashion industry. Jobs are available to both men and women equally; but how you are treated once you land the job is a different story. On several occasions, there were times where I was treated much differently compared to the male designers I worked with. Somehow, they were always assigned less work to do and could never do anything wrong in the eyes of my boss. I remember on one occasion being upset as a fellow male designer stole my fabric. In the end, I was the one who was reprimanded because of my reaction (which was not out of the ordinary for the situation) and his actions were simply ignored. There were certain exceptions made for the guys, but not for me. In my opinion, both men and women in the fashion industry should be held to the same standards and expectations, and always be treated the same. It is sad that this is not always the case.
What direction do you think the industry needs to take in the future?
My ultimate goal and vision are to see the fashion industry become a place where people help serve one another in order to foster each other’s success. I believe we can all collaborate instead of compete. This is the core vision for us at Fashion Angel Warrior LLC. For the fashion industry to thrive, it can’t be survival of the fittest. It must be that we all survive together or none of us will survive alone. For the fashion industry to thrive, it can’t be survival of the fittest. It must be that we all survive together or none of us will survive alone. Click To Tweet
Valuable Lessons Learned in the Fashion Industry
What’s the most important lesson you learned during your time as a fashion designer?
The most important lesson I learned from my time as a fashion designer is to not take anything personally. There will be people who simply don’t like you because you are a great designer or because your ideas were liked more by the buyers instead of theirs. Just remember to always keep your head high and put a smile on your face. Also, it’s important to treat everyone the way you want to be treated, to fully use the gifts and talents God has given you to be the best person you can be, and to not let what anyone says to you or how anyone treats you affect your identity.
Advice for Women in the Fashion Industry
What advice would you give to women in the fashion industry who are just starting out?
My advice to women in the fashion industry is that you MUST love it and have a strong reason why you want to be in this industry. Loving fashion is one thing, but it won’t be enough when you are burnt out, completely exhausted and just fed up. You need something bigger than a love. You must have a great passion as well as a reason and purpose for why you want to be a fashion designer. I always say if your “why” doesn’t make you cry, it’s not strong enough! If your “why” doesn’t make you cry, it’s not strong enough. Click To Tweet
What quality (or qualities) do you think women in the fashion industry need for success?
There are a ton of skills and qualities that are needed for anyone to succeed, especially for women. You must have determination, stamina, and perseverance to be able to put in long work hours without getting burnt out and exhausted. Also, you’ll need a strong emotional intelligence to be able to not let others’ opinions or actions affect you. Having a proactive mindset is also key in order to anticipate problems before they arise and having problem-solving skills alongside that because there will always be problems that come up that need a solution. Additionally, being creative and innovative in order to think outside of the box will help you come up with amazing ideas. Being organized and utilizing time management skills because there are many moving parts in the industry and you’ll have to be able to juggle them all at once. Last is being okay that you are not able to do everything. There will be moments that you just need help. It is a strength rather than a weakness to realize when it is time to ask for help and to ask for it.
Christine’s Mission through Fashion Angel Warrior
What are your plans for the future? Where do you see Fashion Angel Warrior going?
The goal for Fashion Angel Warrior is that it would become an immense resource for the entire fashion industry. We eventually plan to add more coaches on our team that can help assist clients in all areas including business and career coaches to image consultants and stylists. We want to be a one-stop shop for anyone looking for help.
Christine’s Inspirations and Motivation
Favorite all-time designer?
My favorite all-time designer is Tom Ford when he was designing for Gucci. I will never forget that lime sequin with matching fur gown from his last collection. Nothing gets better than that!
What or who inspires you? Role models?
Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, is a huge inspiration. The story of how she became an entrepreneur is unbelievable. She spent seven years selling fax machines and was rejected on a daily basis. After coming up with her bright idea to cut holes through her pantyhose, she spent countless months knocking on doors of North Carolina’s manufacturing factories and getting them slammed in her face. It wasn’t until one manufacturer gave her a chance due to pity and the rest is history. Although she had moments where no one was on her side, she never gave up. She never took no for an answer and the hard work paid off at the end.
Also, Amy Porterfield inspires me to always be a better coach. She started working full time for Tony Robbins on the content team where there was a meeting with the best online marketers around. This inspired her to become an entrepreneur as well! Now, she has a business where she creates online courses and content to teach all types of business owners, educators and entrepreneurs online marketing strategies. I aspire to have my company be on that level one day.
And I can’t forget to mention that most of my clients are a constant inspiration to me. Seeing their passion and drive to launch a line of their own is motivational. Their hopes of one day walking away from their full-time jobs and doing something they love inspires me to be better at what I do so I can help them succeed to the fullest!
Who Inspires You? Comment below and honor a Woman this month!
If you’re inspired by Christine’s vision or need any career, business, or image consulting services, we encourage you to subscribe to our mailing list at the bottom of the page. If you’d like helpful business tips or simply have a passion for fashion, we also recommend you to subscribe below AND join our Fearless Fashionpreneur group on Facebook for more weekly motivation!
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