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Fashion 101: Designers with Two Jobs

By Alexandra SUHNER ISENBERG Editor-at-Large

Fashion 101: Designers with Two Jobs
Fendi Spring Summer 2010 designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Photo courtesy of

Robert Duffy, President of Marc Jacobs International, made a very interesting comment during a Business of Fashion interview a few months ago, which has stuck in my mind.

He had been using Twitter for the two weeks leading up to the Marc Jacobs Fall Winter 2010 show (he has since then been replaced by someone else on the Marc Jacobs team) and during that time, he was quite efficient at responding to questions from his followers, who were primarily fashion students wishing to get into the industry.

"BoF:Why have you found these tweets from students so inspiring?
Robert Duffy: Because I've been there. I don't want these kids to give up, you know? I can see how discouraged they are. And I know that if Marc and I weren't together we would have probably given up too.

And I want to say to them, especially the ones that have talent (they send me pictures and stuff!): Don't give up. Find a way to do it. I had to. Marc had to. We are still working two jobs to support this. But, don't do it to become famous or to become a celebrity or it because you think it's easy. It is not."

His comment about working two jobs really made me think. Yes, I know that like many designers (John Galliano, Alexander McQueen) Marc Jacobs also spent many years building his career, when he was barely known and designing collections with tiny budgets. But now we all assume he is doing super well, having built Marc Jacobs as one of the leading luxury brands of the world, hugely influential, and touching a very large market with his lower-priced Marc by Marc Jacobs collection. But here Duffy explains that the Louis Vuitton gig is a "second job." I never thought of it that way, but on reflection, I am sure that Marc Jacobs would definitely prefer to focus his energies on his own collection, rather than having to travel back and forth between Paris and New York, in order to fulfill his duties as Creative Director of two of the most well-known luxury brands in the world. A tough job, and maybe not as glamorous as it seems.

So on that note, I'd like to dedicate this Fashion 101 post to explaining why designers like Marc Jacobs, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, and many others are able and allowed to work two design jobs for different more





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