How To Feel Fearless To Start Your Fashion Business

by Jun 5, 2018

Anna is looking out of the window. Her mind escapes.

She found an internship after her master’s degree in fashion design. Her parents dream that she can stay there to get a real job, and she hopes that too.

And at the same time, she struggles with the idea.

When she started studying, her head was full of drawings, sketches, and fashion images. She was enthusiastic and determined to add her voice to the fashion world. Now, all these designs still circle in her mind. She would love to materialize them, but…

Anna feels anxious. She has no business experience, no money, no fashion network.

What if she fails? What if she is not good enough? What will her parents think about her taking risks in a competitive industry?

While dreaming of starting your fashion business, fear can hold you back and make you procrastinate.

Some people stay paralyzed.

But why do others start and move forward despite all these inner voices? Because they face their fears one by one. It’s easier than it sounds.

Want to know more?

Failure is your flare

I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”

Jeff Bezos

CEO of Amazon

The fear of failure is the number one barrier to success. It immobilizes you and prevents you from doing.

But, short-term, what would happen to you if your fashion business fails?

Would you feel humiliated if some people may see you as a loser?

Would that be the end of your future in fashion?

Care about what other people think, and you will always be their prisoner.”

Lao Tzu

Ancient Chinese philosopher and writer

Many successful people started with failures. They got up and tried again, and again, till they made it.

J.K. Rowling was living off welfare when she started to write Harry Potter. 15 big publishing companies refused her book before she could find a small one that accepted to make 1 000 copies. She became the first billionaire as an author. There are plenty of similar examples: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg…

So, how do successful people handle failure?

Each failure is a learning experience to get better at what they do and get closer to new success in the future. It’s almost impossible to go through life without experiencing failure anyway.

Why not start, try and learn from your fashion business, instead of living a life of regrets?

I never fail. I either win or learn.”

Nelson Mandela

South African anti-apartheid political leader

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Weave success with a positive thread

Fear comes in two packages, fear of failure, and sometimes, fear of success.”

Tom Kite

Golf champion

Does it surprise you that people can fear success?

Success can be stressful because it brings a lot of changes. And most people want to avoid change because it carries a lot of unknowns. New expectations or new responsibilities can feel overwhelming.

Yet, the truth is that change always comes knocking at your door whether you succeed or fail. You have to face it one way or another. So, move the cursor from inevitable outcomes to all the enjoyable ones. Positive changes will flow your way while creating your desired future in fashion.

Without change, there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”

William Pollard

English writer

Some fashion designers thrive from success to success and change to change. Marc Jacobs started out as a stock boy in a fashion store when he was a teenager. Much later, he launched his fashion brand. The fashion industry offered him exposure and recognition. That led him to shine as the creative director of Louis Vuitton for 16 years.

In his own words, that changed his life for the better:

I don’t want to sound too silly or pretentious about this, but, you know, I love being in Paris. I love working at Louis Vuitton. I love fashion. That’s why I do it. No one’s forcing me to do this. And nobody forces anyone to buy it. It’s a real love affair.“

Marc Jacobs

American fashion designer

Why not embrace all the positive changes your successful future in fashion will bring to you?

By the way, isn’t fashion all about change too?

I understand that the rule of fashion is to change, even as a successful designer – you do not want to be stuck in the same rut.”

Donatella Versace

Italian fashion designer

Rejection brings out your admirers

If you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success.”

Malcolm Forbes

American entrepreneur and founder of Forbes Magazine

Do you worry your work may not be good enough?

You’re not alone.

Our fear of rejection is a simple fear that our work is not good enough.  We fear rejection of our work because it feels like a rejection of us as a person. A fear that people might not like us.

But not everyone will like you. And, in fact, that is what you want. Appealing to everyone is like appealing to no one. As you know, the most admired people in fashion all have their haters.

What I’ve done, Coco Chanel would never have done. She would have hated it.”
Karl Lagerfeld

Head creative director of Chanel and Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld is well known for speaking his mind. He is also very controversial for that. At the same time, he is a model of longevity as the creative director of Chanel since 1982. In fact, he is the champion of all categories in the fashion industry.

Rejection also often comes from jealousy. And envy has everything to do with your talent.

Wait, the best is yet to come…

Rejection will lead you to successes you may haven’t gotten if no one hadn’t rejected you first. Marc Jacobs got fired after designing a grunge collection for Perry Ellis. That didn’t stop him. The opposite! He felt galvanized to jumpstart his own fashion company, and we know the happy end.

Why not let the rejection from your detractors make you even more successful in the fashion world?

I am thankful for all of those who said no to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself.”
Albert Einstein

German physicist

Say goodbye to mediocrity

I find mediocrity hard. I find that whole area difficult. I’m a very passionate person; I care very much about what I do. I believe I give it a lot, so it’s gotta be good; otherwise, what’s the point?”

Phoebe Philo

British fashion designer

Perfectionism fuels our fear of mediocrity. It prevents us from doing and achieving anything… and in the end, we stay mediocre. Cruel, isn’t it?

As a creative mind, you expose yourself to the world: your ideas, beliefs, thoughts, techniques, styles, designs…

When you are serious about your fashion, you want to show only the best. But you may start doubting yourself and your capabilities.

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield.”
Brené Brown

Research professor at the University of Houston, Head of the Huffington Foundation

Successful fashion designers don’t experience mediocrity. How come?

They stay away from that concept of perfection. How do they make it?

Simply by doing what motivates them every single day. They don’t confuse fashion with art, and always keep in mind that they design first for real people. Not for awards, magazines or celebrities.

I have never believed in design for design’s sake. For me, the most important thing is that people actually wear my clothes. I do not design for the catwalk or for magazine shoots – I design for customers.”

Giorgio Armani

Italian fashion designer

As a fashion designer, I was always aware that I was not an artist, because I was creating something that was made to be sold, marketed, used, and ultimately discarded.”

Tom Ford

American fashion designer

Risk is your business armor

There is no security in this life. There is only opportunity.”

Douglas MacArthur

American five-star general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army

Some people are “risk-averse.” But isn’t life a risk? Isn’t having dreams a risk?

What would happen to you if you don’t take risks? Would you rather give up on your dreams? On the professional life, you had chosen? Is that a desirable outcome? It may feel comfortable at first, to think that if you stay away from risk, you will stay safe. But soon you’ll feel like dying from the inside. Not taking risks is in fact… risky.

The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

Mark Zuckerberg

CEO and Founder of Facebook

Starting a fashion business sounds scary, like starting any business. But if this is what you dream of, why shouldn’t you do it? Is the worst that could happen that bad? There will be difficulties to handle along the way. No doubt. But as soon as you overcome one after the other, your business will grow as well as your self-confidence.

Why not take the risk of building your fashion dream and making it a success?

Taking sartorial risks and not following other people is what makes you stand out.”

Zac Posen

American fashion designer

In the end, there is only one way out when you are freaking out about your future in fashion:


We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action. Fear is nature’s way of warning us to get busy.”

Henry Link

American designer

Don’t let anything, fear included, stop you. Don’t think about it and start doing. It always works.

(Photos from Unsplash: Rawpixel, Alexandra Gorn, Zohre Nemati, Rubén Bagüés, Jacob Owens).

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