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Emilia Andrich Talks Breaking into the Fashion Industry

Written by Robin WildingFebruary 2, 2012
Emilia Andrich

Emilia Andrich is living the dream of many of our readers. For the last decade she has been running her own successful label, and traveling the world as a fashion consultant and master design lecturer.

Like many of today's successful designers Emilia paid her dues. She studied at the Zurich College of Haute Couture and Milan's Istituto Marangoni. Following her graduation she continued her education by learning the ropes of the fashion business for 13 years at Congiam & Touchè, where she eventually became their Creative Director. With connections in Milan, Paris and other fashion capitals, and her international travel schedule across Europe, Latin American and Asia—she truly is an international designer. You can check out her designs at

Despite her jet-setting and label-running Emilia took the time to answer the burning questions of our readers, who are looking to break into the industry:

Could you explain the vision and inspiration behind your brand's unique look?

My inspiration has been formed by style, research and continuous experimentation with new materials.

Did you take any formal training before beginning your label? And how has your career path progressed over the years?

Did You Know.... Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion offers BFA's in Fashion, Fashion Merchandising, Textile Design, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Styling, Costume Design, and Fashion Product Development. Learn more.

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There aren't specific training programs to develop personal labels, I mean when I started mine I had a design diploma in my hand and only limited design experience. All that progressed over the years though, through personal will power, perseverance and constant determination.

As a creative professional how have you handled the business-side of running a fashion studio/brand/company?

Unfortunately when I began schools didn't exist for that. Personally I consider passion and strong determination essential to running a business—the rest will come.

How did you initially get your foot into the door of the fashion industry?

I had to put in a few years working low-level jobs at a fashion company. The training I received there was indispensable, and eventually I worked me way up.

If you had to describe the business side of the fashion industry briefly to our aspiring designer readers, how would you paint an accurate picture for them and what advice would you give them?

The fashion industry has no border lines any more. It is fundamental to learn about world cultures, and to constantly improve yourself through study and research, and last but not least the 2 key essentials for a successful future: adaptation and competitiveness.

Which designers and/or artists influenced you the most as a creative professional?


What is the most important skill and/or hard lesson you have learned while working in the industry?

Managing to study the business, especially with an international approach

What was most surprising about working in the fashion industry?

That the fashion industry allows you to meet so many different world cultures.

If you were going to hire a new employee/intern what qualities would you look for in a person and portfolio?

Ability and imagination.

Which role(s) in the fashion industry do you think will offer the best career opportunities moving forward?

Definitely in Merchandising.

Which skills do you consider to be most critical for a career in fashion?

Commercial skills are essential. Skills that allow you to be functional in the real world of commercial fashion design.

What advice would you give to new graduates (with a chip on their shoulder) expecting success right out of the gate?

Determination and passion are the only ways to get positive results.

What would you recommend for aspiring fashion professionals looking to break into today's fashion industry?

To be able to propose new and fresh ideas to companies, and to offer them something they don't have. Sending in a CV alone just doesn't cut it.

Check out more interviews at The Interview Series.