How did they do it? It seems like one of the best jobs around, and obviously there's a large amount of natural talent involved, but how do swimwear designers actually become swimwear designers? And can anyone do it?
Believe me, I asked myself these questions a lot when I first started out in the industry. Like many of us, I also harbored a secret desire to one day design my own range of swimwear. In fact, I still do. But, like anything, it takes a lot of hard work, and timing can be key. Designer swimwear is a niche market, and simply stated, only the best of the best survive. So while you may have a brilliant idea, this does not necessarily equal success.
The first step is to learn as much as you can. Like any profession, the more you know, the more valuable you are. I may not be a swimwear designer yet, but I certainly know a lot about swimwear. Be diverse in your knowledge base – knowing what's hot in swimwear this season is not going to get you far. If you're really serious about becoming a swimwear designer, research and familiarize yourself with all aspects of the swimwear business. Learn how to design, learn about swimsuit fabrics, understand the financial aspects of swimwear design. The opportunities and the wealth of knowledge at your fingertips is limitless, all you need is a little creativity and determination.
Getting a little heavy sounding? Well it is. But you need not get put off yet. Starting small, working on one element at a time and taking each part as it comes is the best way to go. All swimwear designers, including the most talented in the industry, all started somewhere, and bar a few, they usually started out small. My advice? Start by nominating a goal, like knowing all the American swimwear designers, then work towards it. Once you have achieved this, choose another one, like knowing all the European swimwear designers, and work towards this one. Becoming a swimwear designer is a process, and what you'll be surprised at, even after a short period of time, is how much progress you've made. By breaking the task into small parts, you make the job of becoming a swimwear designer much more manageable and much less daunting.
Could you be the next women's swimwear industry success?
I've had a lot of contact with a whole range of swimwear designers over the years, and they all say, no matter what their beginnings have been, that perseverance and patience is paramount.
Like the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day, and you can not expect to be the hottest new swimwear designer just because you want to be. That being said, a healthy amount of self-confidence will take you a long way – and believe me, if you're really serious about becoming a swimwear designer, you're going to take a couple of blows. A thick skin is also a must – you're going to end a lot of criticism, not matter how good a swimwear designer you are.
Constructive Criticism & Networking
Whether it's constructive criticism or caused by jealousy, learning to distinguish between the two is skill you'll need to quickly develop. But if you can do this, and all the best swimwear designers mastered this early in their careers, then you'll be the better for it. Maximize the situation and take advantage of the advice you're being offered by other, more experienced swimwear designers.
Networking is also really important. While the designer swimwear and fashion industry is highly competitive, you'll be surprised how willing some swimwear designers are to share their advice and give you some swimwear tips in the right direction. Try finding a mentor, or do an internship with an established swimwear designer. The skills you'll develop under their guidance will be invaluable and also, priceless.
Designing your own range
Here it is, the moment you've been waiting for. It's now time to design your very own range of women's swimwear. But will all the hard work and time waiting pay off? Well if you've put in the effort, there's a good chance you'll see the results. But that's no guarantee. Unfortunately, starting your own line of designer swimwear involves a fair amount of capital. Designing swimwear may be fun, but at the end of the day it is a business and it needs to make money. At a basic level, there's the production costs of actually making the swimwear, for example, the price of fabric and the labor to produce the swimwear. Then, if you're really serious, you're going to need money to market your women's swimwear label. Whether we'd like to admit it or not, swimwear design is a hype, marketing and promo-driven world, and even the best swimwear designers are a bit of good ol 'fashionable advertising.
Finding a business partner, or an investor, is a good way of raising capital to start your swimwear label. To be taken seriously, it's probably best if you put together a business plan, and even design and make a small collection of swimwear. If you've been working toward the goal of becoming a swimwear designer for some time now, you've most likely already been designing swimwear for friends and collections. If not, it's something you might like to consider. As I mentioned earlier, you have to start somewhere when designing swimwear, and small is often best – there's less risk involved and it gives you the time you need to develop your skills.
Taking out a personal loan is another way you can tackle the money situation. Similarly, you'll need to have a business plan. Either way, a business plan is a must and will help you through the process of launching your women's swimwear label.
Ready to go?
Becoming a swimwear designer sounds like a daunting task, particularly if you plan to launch your own designer swimwear label. But while difficulties and challenges lie ahead, being a swimwear designer is extremely rewarding, and a whole lot of fun! And when designing swimwear is your passion in life, there's nothing better.