4 Kinds of Mentors for Fashion Designers

Mentors for fashion designers

Not too long ago, we wrote about the benefits of having a mentor as you work to start and grow your fashion business.  Mentors are so important because they offer you an objective third party opinion along each step of the way.

A mentor has nothing personally invested in you or your business but instead has plenty of experience in a certain industry that they are willing to share with you.  With that said, you don’t have to stop with having just one mentor in one industry. Think about your needs as a new business and where you could really use some grounding and guidance.

4 Kinds of Mentors for Fashion Designers

Retail and Sales

Having a mentor who understands both traditional and digital retails and sales can be very beneficial.  He or she can help you to understand how these two industries work, the mind sets of those involved, and the processes that should be followed.  Considering that without sales, you have no business, this is a pretty important industry to learn more about.

Business Development

As creative people, it can sometimes be difficult to focus on the business development side of things.  Time spent sketching, sewing, draping, styling, is where your real interest lies.  Unfortunately, ignoring business development will get you no where very quickly.

Way more than 50% of your time as a fashion entrepreneur should be spent on biz dev in order to build a business that is sustainable, growing, and constantly evolving.  Having someone to bounce ideas off of, give you advice, and offer guidance in this area is extremely beneficial.


Though fashion was one of the last industries to embrace  digital technology, once it did, it took off at the speed of light. No two industries move and change more quickly than fashion and technology.  As a designer, you may not be up on all the latest advances in technology.  Unfortunately, it’s something that every business owner, fashion or not, should spend time doing.

Technology has the ability to help your business advance and grow, not to mention keep it relevant and interesting to your customers.  Through a techie mentor, you are able to better understand the importance of technology in today’s world and can have someone to bounce ideas off of as you implement it into your business.

In the Industry

The the first three types of mentors listed above don’t necessarily need to be in the fashion industry. Actually, it could be preferable that they’re not because  it gives the potential of having a completely different perspective than your own, it offers the opportunity to learn about what works in another industry and apply it to fashion.

With that said, having someone in the fashion industry as a mentor can be really helpful.  He or she can provide insight into where the industry has been and where it’s going.  They have a network of professionals that are also in the industry who they could possibly call on and they can offer advice about an industry that can at times be so closed off and difficult to understand.

Do you have more than one mentor for your fashion design business?

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Augusta

    I want to launch a fashion brand this year but I think there is more to be done in attracting fashion lovers to attend. Idont know how to go about that. I don’t have a mentor, could you help mentor me on this.

  2. Cierra brunson

    I was wondering if anyone can give me tips on where to start to become a fashion stylist. Thank you in advance.

  3. Darlose F-C

    Hi, I am really passionate about fashion designing since I was a little girl. Now I realize that it’s time to go bet on than just sewing, sketching, and draping as a hobby. I recently registered in a community college to offers fashion design.I want to to get more insight and tips on how to get started. I especially want to know how to get acquainted with a mentor.

  4. Bailey

    I have been sewing and designing clothes since I was 7 (even if they were for my dolls) and have a very strong passion for fashion. I am the one my friends are always taking along when they go shopping and who everyone asks for fashion advice. I was involved in a CEO program my senior year of high school that taught allowed me to start up my own business in design. But it was only for the duration of the class. I am currently attending college to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design. I am also looking at different internships to broaden my knowledge of fashion. I am wondering if you would be able to help mentor me through these decisions? Thank you

  5. Elisabeth

    What are some good websites to look for fashion internship that don’t require college credits or name known school

  6. malkia

    Hello, I passion for fashion and I’m looking for direction for what my next career move should be.I do sketch and sew. Thank you for your advice.

  7. Jessica S.

    Hello. I have had a passion for fashion design since I was in high school and I have sketched quite a few designs, but unfortunately I dont know how to even begin on bringing any of my designs to life. All I really know is sketching and designing…therefore I am seeking a mentor. I currently live in North Carolina. Thanks!

  8. Sheraine

    Hello, I am a new and upcoming designer. I would love love all the tips, insight and help that you can give

    • Nicole Giordano

      Hi Sheraine,

      Congrats on entering into the fashion industry and Welcome to StartUp FASHION! Take a look around at the articles on the blog, we cover a lot of territory. Also, check out the Community. We built it with new designers in mind. It’s full of all kinds of resources and tools for starting and growing your business. http://community.startupfashion.com/

  9. Fashion Allies

    We are starting a Fashion Mentoring program. Sign up for more info. Be the first to be partnered with the Fashion Allies, a NYC industry and education based project. Thanks!

    • Shinx JC

      Hi there. Its great to know that there is support and mentoring for start up designers. I really need some good tips and a mentor who can help me bring my ideas to life, I also need help on setting up my business. I am based in West Yorkshire and really interested in joining the program. Please let me know how I can join or who I can speak to for more details. Looking forward to hearing from you. Many thanks. Shinx 07738 156256

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