For some people fashion is learned, for others it is a natural god-given talent, and a lucky few have it running through their veins. Darius B. Gibbs is the latter. With a master tailor father and expert seamstress mother Darius can't remember a time where top stitches and color swatches didn't haunt his dreams.
Its not surprising then that Darius is now running his own successful label. Darius is the President and a Designer at Fusion Apparel, a deeply fabulous streetwear brand. While fashion runs through his veins, streetwear was a learned artform; Darius spent years learning the art of urban wear at giant names in the urban industry like AKADEMIKS, Ecko Red and Sean John Junior. He also worked at slightly less-urban labels, like Jones New York and Adrienne Landau Designs—just to round things off.
We really couldn't ask for more in an interview subject, which is why were ecstatic when Darius agreed to participate in our Interview Series. Using his decade of experience in the fashion business and his solid business training Darius offered some tangible advice to our aspiring-designer readers:
Another skill Darius learned throughout his career was business—which he quickly absorbed while getting his Bachelors degree in Business Management from the University of Pheonix.
What inspired you to get into the fashion industry?
Darius: Fashion runs in my DNA and I have been doing this for so many years. My father is a master tailor and my mother is an expert dressmaker. I grew up with fashion.
What is your focus within the industry?
Darius: Well, I would like to concentrate on the market trends and understand what people needs and design a line that will be wearable to everybody.
What type of education did it take to get you where you are today?
Darius: Most of the people normally go to Fashion Design School, but for me it’s different as I mentioned above that it runs in my DNA and fashion is my passion. You have to love this for you to succeed on what you want.
How has your career path progressed over the years?
Darius: I am doing great in the Fashion Industry and my career is progressing well. I learned a lot based on our daily chores and understanding the four phases of the industry, it is really great when you know the ins and outs of the business.
What is your favorite part of working in the fashion/design business?
Darius: I love the product development part of the business. Formulating designs from trends, concept and creating silhouettes as well as sourcing different materials, and of course sourcing vendors and negotiating prices.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashionistas?
Darius: What they all have to do is find out their passion and what they want to do. Stay focused on your inspiration and understand who your customers are. It’s hard to design without knowing who your customers. Also, know what market do you want to explore and target.
What school(s) does your company generally recruit new hires from?
Darius: It varies on the location but most of them are from FIT.
Do you think there is an overall increasing or decreasing need for people in the fashion industry?
Darius: Fashion changes everyday and people are getting old so the needs are always there. I would say that people in the fashion industry have increased drastically for the past few years and it will continue to grow as most of the people are becomg more fashionable.
Which roles in the fashion industry do you think will offer the best career opportunities moving forward? eg. designer, PR, entrepreneur, etc.?
Darius: I would say Designer because your world being a designer is wide and you can either work for yourself or work for another company.
What designer(s) or brand(s) influenced you the most as a creative professional?
Darius: I don’t know about who influenced me the most, I have worked with several other companies but no one brand influenced me the most. Fashion design is something that I always wanted to do since I was young, even before I got to know the designer’s names or brands. My dad used to make me shorts and shirts designed by himself. When I was a teenager I used to buy my own fabric and make my own clothes. The only ready-to-wear product I shop for is underwear (ha-ha-ha-ha), and I love Oleg Cassini's brand.
Do you think today's jobs in the fashion industry require more of an artist's touch or business-like ruthlessness?
Darius: I would say Artist’s touch and not sure about the other one. LOL.
Which skills do you consider to be most critical for a career in fashion?
Darius: I would say the Creative part. It’s hard and absolutely critical as you have to make sure before you create a line that it will be right for your target customer.
What do you think the future of fashion and design holds?
Darius: It’s going to be more challenging and once again people are becoming more fashionable so the demand for new trends and looks are increasing--getting bigger and wider.
Check out more interviews at The Fashion-Schools.org Interview Series.