Diane Von Furstenberg – a fashion icon, entrepreneur, author and advocate – inspires young designers during her visit to VCUarts Qatar
In her third visit to Doha, famous fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg, also known as DVF, was a guest at a talk organized by Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, in which she shared experiences about her journey in the fashion industry, and spoke to young designers in attendance.
Moderated by Christopher Fink, Chair of Fashion Design at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, the discussion started with a spotlight on DVF’s well-known motto – of always being in charge. “When people asked me what I wanted to do when I was growing up, I did not really know the answer, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be. I wanted to be a woman in charge, and I became a woman in-charge because of a little dress,” she said.
To be in charge is, first and foremost, a commitment to yourself
DVF explained that being in charge should not be inferred as an aggressive stance. “To be in charge is, first and foremost, a commitment to yourself. It is about the relationship you have with yourself, because it is the most important relationship in life. And once you have that, any other relationship is a plus and not a must,” DVF said.
“Being in charge is also about your character, because it is the only thing you can have complete control of. You can lose your health, wealth, beauty and even your freedom, but you will never lose your character.”
As the world is changing, you have to make sure that what you do makes sense to you
The discussion also touched upon the aspect of technological revolution and its impact on the fashion industry. “You have to adapt to what is happening and take advantage of it especially with technology,” said DVF as she explained the challenges that large companies face in responding to demands of consumers and social media.
Asked about the biggest challenge fashion education faces today in preparing the students to deal with the changes in the fashion industry, DVF explained her belief – that everyone should do what they feel is right. “As the world is changing, you have to make sure that what you do makes sense to you.”
“The good thing about social media is that it gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with your customers and understand their needs,” she added.
DVF is well-known for her contribution and impact in approaching fashion in a sustainable sense. Her famous 45 year-old wrap dress was made from textile leftovers, and it sells much more today than 45 years ago.
Offering advice on sustainability to young designers, DVF said, “There are a lot of things that you need to inculcate in your production process in order to be sustainable, such as understanding how factories work and use their material. I always tell the designers who work for us that DVF is supposed to be a friend in the closet. A friend that you rely on and never throw away, and hence, the best way to deal with sustainability is to make sure you never get thrown away.”