Our next blog posts will feature a series of interviews we did with fashion entrepreneurs who are working independently to turn their passions into a paycheck. We wanted to give our members an overview of who they are, what they do and what they stand for.
This interview features Stephanie Irwin – a UX designer, writer and host of Fashion Originators podcast.
Fashion Originators Podcast
At THE FASHION BLUEPRINT, we want to create a network of people who come from different sides of the industry and are able to meet, connect and collaborate with each other on their own projects. These are values which we think Stephanie in some way embodies in the work that she does.
Through user-centric marketing, writing and podcasting, she shares her passions for sustainability, entrepreneurship and kindness within the fashion industry.
On her podcast Fashion Originators, she interviews game-changing fashion entrepreneurs. With guests ranging from the founder of Lululemon, Chip Wilson, to interviewing young designers LIVE at the Lone Design Club, she highlights bold voices united by their desire to future-proof the fashion system.
Stephanie is someone who we see as a fashion expert. Not only does she have years of experience working in the industry, she also has an opinion and vision for the future. We wanted to get to know her a little bit better and introduce her to you too, so we asked her a few questions. Here is what she had to say:
TFB: How did you get into the fashion industry?
STEPHANIE: I got into fashion through doing internships! I started at LOVE magazine, and also interned at the likes of ALLSAINTS, Farfetch and Lyst.com! I have since worked for the likes of Net-a-Porter and SHOWstudio in digital marketing.
TFB: What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into fashion?
STEPHANIE: Start creating, and create through collaboration! If you create you always learn (even if it doesn’t result in ‘success’ or ‘ money’). If you collaborate, you try new things you wouldn’t have otherwise and expand your network. When you combine these two things, as cheesy as it sounds, that’s when real magic happens.
TFB: What advice would you give to your younger self?
STEPHANIE: Enjoy your life and stop worrying so much! Trust yourself, you are way more capable than you believe.
TFB: If you could start all over again, is there anything you wish you could have changed? (e.g. getting an education, taking more risks, etc.)
STEPHANIE: I regret nothing I’ve done or said. Maybe stop asking people for advice and trust myself more. The more you make your own decisions the more you trust yourself. That being said, I still don’t regret anything, it’s all part of the process that has created me.
TFB: As an entrepreneur, what struggles do you face and how do you overcome them?
STEPHANIE: Time management, since I still have a day job. Managing day job emails on top of freelance and Fashion Originators emails. I’ve become very organised as a result, but I have to really stay on top of things and wake up early otherwise things don’t get replied to -- and replying to people is super important.
TFB: What has been your greatest achievement so far? (career-wise or personal)
STEPHANIE: My greatest achievement in life has been going from being a “shy” child that would barely talk, to having a podcast with 70+ episodes, moving to a foreign country and having the confidence to travel alone. Being told I’d never get a job in fashion because I didn’t know anyone, then doing it anyways. Continuing to do scary things and never being complacent in my life.
TFB: Where do you see the fashion industry in the next 5 years? (What specific changes would you make if you could?)
STEPHANIE: I see fashion week only happening twice a year, and most presentations going to digital-first. I also see editorial jobs becoming less coveted, and even more tech-related opportunities opening up (such as UX design and SEO related roles). Fashion magazines are going to continue to struggle massively unless they start paying their interns and creating content people want to read.
TFB: What is your stance on sustainability and how do you incorporate it in what you do?
STEPHANIE: I think the fashion industry needs to be more sustainable in the way it builds businesses. You may use “eco cotton” in your products, but if you treat all your employees terribly (or don’t pay your interns) and make stuff no one buys, can you really call yourself a “sustainable” brand? I think true sustainable brands are the ones that can actually be sustained without haemorrhaging investors.
In regards to my own life, I practice sustainability through buying WAY less, paying freelancers I occasionally work with, recycling and being pescatarian. I also do my best to be kind and helpful to everyone I come across, and believe in the importance of helping people with no connections get into the industry. If the industry is going to become more sustainable, we need new people in it.
TFB: If you weren’t in the career you’re in now, what would you be? And why?
STEPHANIE: If I wasn’t in fashion I would 100% be a Pilates teacher / psychologist. I find the human brain and dreams fascinating, and I really want to attend Oxford University one day. I took up Pilates when I injured my back on a fashion shoot a while ago, and it completely saved me. I went from being unable to walk to running a 10K quite easily!
TFB: Who or what inspires/motivates you?
STEPHANIE: Dior Bediako, all of my friends and podcast guests, Kirsty Godso -- so many positive and strong humans! What motivates me to keep going are the younger people who ask me for advice or help finding jobs -- that’s what really motivates me to wake up every morning.
TFB: What is one rule you live by?
STEPHANIE: I’d rather be the person who tried and sucked than the person who didn’t try at all. Or as the Canadian icon Wayne Gretzky says, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
To find out more about Stephanie: www.fashionoriginators.com/about
Interviewed by Giovanna Vieira Co, 2020