The invisible designers

Victoria Beckham
Yesterday saw Victoria Beckham unveil her fifth collection at New York fashion week and very nice it was too. Cleverly cut, body hugging dresses in lovely fabrics. I was skeptical about her range until I saw it in real life, but it is actually well designed and worth the huge amounts of money (around £800 – £1000) – if you like that sort of  thing. Mrs Beckham has also 'designed' her very first bag, The Victoria, which will also retail at £1000. 

According to Twitter, Victoria was nervous before the fashion show, as any designer would be. Presenting a collection is like revealing a little bit of your self, and what people think, really matters. 

I have absolutely no doubt Victoria played a huge part in producing the collection as she obviously loves clothes and wears them well. I am sure she takes the range seriously and is involved at every stage of the process. But looking at those bias cut dresses and complicated details, I feel there has to be a 'real' designer tucked away in the pattern room somewhere. 

Most designers train for at least four years, learning about different fabric types, how to draw, pattern cutting and draping. The process is like an apprenticeship and usually it takes years to get to the standard of someone like Roland Mouret (one of Victoria favourite designers, who clearly influences her own collection). They then go onto spend several years perfecting their handwriting and developing a look. Of course there are the lucky few who leave college and become an overnight success. But for every one John Galliano, you can bet there are 1000 hard working designers slogging it out in a small back room in the East end of London, Italy, Paris or New York.

I have no problem with celebrities diversifying into fashion, good luck to them, why not. There are lots of girls out there who want to look like their favourite singers. What I do struggle with, is them being hailed as 'designers'. 

In academia there is a view that it takes 10 years to become an expert in anything, and in design, that sounds about right. It is possible to have amazing ideas, be a visionary and have no experience when you are younger, but a whole team of people is needed to see the ideas through and make them real.

Today's 20 and 30 somethings have been brought up to think they can do anything, which is great. They are fast becoming the slash/slash generation, who span several careers and are always up for trying something new. While this is a good thing, one wonders if the media and celebrities make this all seem to too easy.

Apparently Victoria has now been hired as a designer for Range Rover!! 
Anyway must dash, as I start my new job as Head of Nuclear Physics at Imperial college today.

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