Self Taught Fashion Designers You Should Know

The world of fashion designers is laced with popular names such as Coco Chanel, Georgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Donatella Versace, Vera Wang, Roht Bal among others. There are younger designers too taking the world of fashion by storm. However, the question is can one become a fashion designer without going to fashion school? Can one be a self taught fashion designer?  The answer is yes, it is very possible.

Most often aspiring fashion designers allow challenges to discourage them from making moves in a sector they are interested in. They take refuge in a number of excuses. This is not supposed to be. If you’re interested in becoming a fashion designer but have limited means of acquiring the skills, you could teach yourself.

Yes, you could learn from a plethora of free resources available both online and offline and get a level of knowledge and skills needed. Some fashion designers had no formal training in fashion designing yet they encouraged and beloved in themselves. They did not allow their lack of fashion training, drawing skills, inability to sew deter them. Infact, they were spurred by what they saw in the fashion world and beloved they will achieve it.

The following are some of the fashion designers who did not go to fashion school yet succeeded:

  • Calvin Klein
  • Georgio Armani
  • Charlotte Beecham
  • Leash Mcsweeney
  • Donna Ida Thornton

1. Calvin Klein: At one time, Calvin Klein was the youngest designer to be listed on the International Best Dressed. His love for fashion and art stems from his mother’s encouragement to be interested in the arts. Klein taught himself how to sketch and sew. He made extra efforts to observe the fashion world. He studied on his own the rudiments of sketching and sewing.

In the year 1968, Klein founded his own company Calvin Klein Ltd., with his friend as his business associate. In 1973, Klein diversified the scope of wears to include sportswear and became very involved in creating American leisurewear.

Today, Klein is famous for his line of menswear and womenswear. He has a couple of of recognitions and awards to his name. He received three awards from the Councils of Fashion Designs of American in 1981, 1983 and 1993. In 1996, he was in the list of 25 Most Influential Americans, published by Times Magazine. Klein believed in himself and was industrious. He toolk up the challenges that came hiis way. He made it as a self taught fashion designer the world has loved for years.

2. Georgio Armani: Georgio Armani is another self taught fashion designer to reckon with. Born July 11, 1934, Armani gained fashion experience as a window dresser in a department store in Milan in 1957.He later sold menswear and gained experience in the marketing aspect of the fashion industry. It was in 1960 that he began to design menswear at the Nino Cerruti company. Without going to any fashion school, Armani was able to launch himself as a designer. His skills were in great demand and for the next decade he freelanced while still retaining his job with Cerruti. His contribution in the Italian and global fashion industry made him a global name, receiving awards and honours.

He received the CFDA International Award in 1983 and was honoured as Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2021 and Officer of the Order of the Legion of Honour of the Frenchi Republic (2008).

3. Charlotte Beecham: Charlotte Beecham is of younger generation of fashion designers who are self taught. British based designer,  Beecham launched Charlotte Simone in 2015. She was inspired to move into the fashion world while studying abroad in Paris as a freshman student of New York University.

“A lady wearing a huge statement scarf passed me on the street and my head sort of turned,” says Beecham.

“I started to think about the world of accessories and realized there was a gap in the market for scarves that could be more of a fashion accessory rather than just something practical,” she explained.

In 2011, the English Literature and Arts Major decided to take the bold step into the fashion world having nurtured the idea of fashionable scarves  for three years. A designer friend of hers tool her to a seamstress who made a few samples of her sketches.  From then on, she went out to market her scarves to many stores around the city.

Many people were impressed by her work and her efforts to penetrate the fashion industry on her own. The most receptive company was Neiman Marcus who placed an order of 1000 units on the spot after seeing the samples. She believed in her potentials and taught herself how to design scarves. Today she’s excelling.

4.  Rachel J Amirthara:    Self-taught fashion designer and founder of La Fantaisie, Rachel J Amirtharaj worked with the Ministry of Science and Technology in the typical 9-5 schedule before she decided to start her own fashion label. According to her, being unconventional made it tough for her to be in a monotonous work. She made her decision to leaves the job for the world of fashion, a decision she assured herself was brilliant and brave.

While growing up in the midst of church goers, she realized the importance of good good dressing. Also, “my unfulfilled desire of wearing a beautiful ball gown for my wedding propelled me to get into the industry,” she recalls. Amirtharaj has dressed celebs like Deepika Padukone,  Irrfan, and Anushka Sharma. She had self confidence and without going to fashion school became a self taught fashion designer

5. Donna Ida Thorton:  Donna Ida Thorton is founder and creator of DONNA IDA collection which launched in 2012. However, Thorton opened her first boutique which inspired her denim collection in 2006. Today, she is known as the “Jean Queen”  because of her successful jean collections. She is a self taught fashion designer that has succeeded greatly to be well known brand.

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