Joseph Altuzarra's Invaluable Career Advice



alt-2Photo: Courtesy of Teen Vogue Fashion University.
More than 500 fashion students attended the eighth annual Teen Vogue Fashion University last weekend. The event included seminars with industry icons ready to answer the all-important question: "How did you do it? And, how do you keep doing it so well?"

Among the speakers was Joseph Altuzarra, who launched his eponymous line in 2008 to much acclaim. The designer doesn't have a traditional fashion background. He didn't go to school for fashion or design. But, what Altuzarra lacks in education, he makes up for in raw talent — and a little bit of luck (the designer jokes about being at the top of the alphabetized intern-resume pile at Marc Jacobs).

With the recent announcement of the end of the Condé Nast internship program, fashion career advice is a hot-ticket item. So, when we had a chance to chat with Altuzarra for a quick minute, we had a few industry questions of our own.

You mentioned in your Fashion University seminar that much of your design education was learned "on the job," since you didn't go to fashion school. What's the greatest lesson you learned during your apprenticeships?
"That patience is very important throughout different stages of your career!

Who has been your greatest mentor so far?
"A lot of amazing people have helped me and supported me along the way, from Anna Wintour [and] Carine Roitfeld, to Nicolas Caito, a modéliste for whom I had apprenticed for starting out in the industry.

You studied art history in college. Do you ever channel any artists or any works when creating your collection?
"Not specific artists or artworks per se, but I definitely think about specific moods in creating each collection."

What do you think about the way designers are using social media, such as Instagram, to reveal major news about their labels?
"I think social media is a wonderful tool for brands to communicate news and content to their fans and followers. It's amazing what can be shared and ways that you can connect! It's important to think about drawing a distinction between a personal account and one that is of the brand, though, as lines can blur!"

What's your favorite place to eat in New York?
"Red Farm in West Village!"