Something ventured

Last night, I started the Fashion Forecasting course. I had no idea what to expect, other than that I would be the oldest person in the class, but for some reason I was not nervous. I am better at taking new situations in stride than I used to be.

The class is quite large, 30-something people, at least at this point. Most of the students are, of course, young, or young-ish. There are three guys in the class. The instructor has seven years of experience teaching and designs and markets her own line of clothing (sustainable! locally made!), so she is well acquainted with both the design side and the merchandising side of the business.

In some ways, this class was completely new to me. I am taking it out of interest, not because I work in fashion retail (as several of the students do) or because I have a background of knowledge or even because I have business experience. I'm a poor old software developer with a love of fashion and a knack, I hope, for working on this side of the trade.

One interesting thing to learn right off the bat was that having a knack or an instinct is good, but that fashion forecasting can be learned. I mean, that only makes sense if there's a course called Fashion Forecasting. The main purpose of the course, in fact, is to help us build a "toolbox" of ways to be able to make our own forecasts. It's not hard science, but neither is it voodoo, although often it seems like that to those of us who are primarily consumers of fashion. I will be interested to learn just how it's done. I want to know how anyone decided that it was the right time to market brightly coloured jeans!

I learned other cool stuff. I didn't know that Zara is the epitome of "fast fashion," bringing knock-offs to market almost before a show is over. Apparently, they manufacture in Europe to be close to their markets. I didn't know that Forever 21 is the only company that has been sued, successfully, for paying below minimum wage to garment workers in the United States (the technicality they tried to use is that they contract a factory, not the workers themselves). Did you know that Lululemon Athletica was founded on the principles of Objectivism?

Even though for the most part the subject matter is new to me (being a regular reader of InStyle did not prepare me for this!), it's still school. I have a textbook to read. There will be quizzes. There will be group work and presentations. In many ways, I've been here before. As long as I'm interested enough in the subject, I can do school.

I wrote that this course is a "toe in the water." I have not yet committed to the certificate program. I know there are contraindications to my trying to go into fashion merchandising—my age and lack of background being the main ones. And I have to know that I will be in this for the long (but not too long) haul. But I am not going to be intimidated by kids who know the answers already. I've spent too much of my life being intimidated by things that I thought I couldn't handle. All that led to was settling. I can handle a lot more than I used to think I could. I'm a pretty smart cookie, and I'm here to learn whatever I don't know. I just have to make sure to apply myself and not get lazy.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Um this sounds AWESOME! I'm way behind on your blog but it's so inspiring that you're pursuing this! GO YOU!