Former Behind The Hustle panelist Lanie Alabanza-Barcena of Hellz Bellz/BOTB is consistently asked: What advise would you give young aspiring designers eager to make it in the fashion industry or start their own brand? She narrowed her answers to 10 pieces of carer advice. While these do apply to the field of design and fashion, they also apply to all industries, whatever your dream career may be:
1. Put yourself out there. You hear it all the time… network, network, network!!! But really, you HAVE to. How do you expect anybody to know how fabulous, amazing and talented you are if they don’t know you OR you don’t let yourself be known?!
2. Work harder AND smarter than everyone else. I used to say, “work smart, not hard” which is true, very true actually BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t work hard putting your all into your work and challenging yourself daily to better yourself.
3. Be authentic. Your biggest asset is your individuality, style and talent. People will come to you and/or your brand for a reason and that reason alone is because of YOU and what you represent… Certainly NOT because you are like everyone else.
4. Surround yourself with like minded individuals. Immersing yourself around people with same interest and goals will not only inspire you, it will also help drive your passion.
5. Practice your craft. No matter what you think you know or how skilled you think you are, there’s always room for growth.
6. Step away from the computer… and this is for 2 reasons. For 1, you need to socialize with people, person to person and not behind a computer screen or thru texting on your phone with your thumbs. Secondly, practice your craft with your hands. Draw, paint, create… with your hands. It’ll get your creative juices flowing and excite you as a designer.
7. Intern. It doesn’t matter if you’re young and straight out of school OR if your older and just decided you wanted to follow your passion in design. Interning is the best way to get your foot in the door, experience anything & everything AND lastly figure out if design is even the field you want to be in.
8. Think it. Say it. Do it. I got that one from Kanye (ha!)… it sounds so simple but it’s one of the most difficult things to do for a lot of people. Mainly due to fear or insecurities… but if you just throw caution to the wind and just do it, the experience whether good or bad will be so worth it.
9. Travel as much as you can. I can honestly say that I’m never more inspired than when I’m out of my element experiences, seeing, touching new things and realizing how much I don’t know about the world.
10. Trust nobody but yourself. Sounds harsh but it’s the truth… especially in a cut throat industry such as fashion. However, this can also be interpreted in another way… ie. Trust in your abilities to make what YOU want happen.