On a daily basis, what is your morning routine? Do you check your phone and find yourself scrolling on TikTok for hours or do you roll out of bed and head off straight to the kitchen to prepare a delicious breakfast?
Studies have shown that breakfast brings a lot of health benefits; mainly replenishing your energy to kick-start your day. Every so often, boosting it a bit too much that you don’t know what to do with it as perfectly shown below by Qwon and Qjin.
With the exception of enthusiastically bursting soap bubbles, it leads to better memory and concentration helping you focus on work. Having said that, just how focused are you when it comes to your own work?
If you’re dead set on working in the fashion industry; as a stylist, designer, photographer, or whatever it may be you are thinking of, let us fill you in with all the essential information you need to know. Make sure you’re not reading this on an empty stomach, grab a pen and notebook out because these twin sisters will be your ultimate guide to getting into your dream fashion school!
So who are they? Simply put together, Q2Han is one of South Korea’s forefront fashion icons who rose to fame through their ever-growing Youtube channel focused on DIY fashion, beauty related tutorials, style vlogs and so much more.
You might be thinking “They must have at least started from somewhere, not just through Youtube!”. Well, you are not wrong there, it’s all thanks to their hard work and perseverance at fashion school. The sisters took sewing classes throughout their high school years in Canada as well as various art classes where they spent countless hours honing their skills by taking advantage of the unlimited materials they were given eventually enough to build their own portfolio.
After graduating high school, they completed a 2-year course of Associate of Arts Degree in Fashion Design then followed by another 2-year course of Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising); a private college in Los Angeles, California.
So what is the difference between the AA Fashion Design Programme and the BA Business Programme?
Qwon: “The Bachelor’s programme really focuses on the practicality of your designs. For example, you’re creating a shirt, are you gonna put 4 or 5 buttons? Are there gonna be more stitches here or there? because all of those becomes part of the production cost. You also have to think if your design is going to be marketable.”
Qjin: “The AA Programme is more fun and chilled whereas the BA Programme is more serious. You gotta think about your designs in a business aspect. From the AA Programme, we learnt how to make pretty garments but we needed to know how we are going to start a business with them and that’s why we decided to take the BA Programme.”
Other than making pretty garments and marketing them, what else did you learn in those courses and what did you like about them?
Qwon: “It was straight forward and everything was really really fast-paced. You need to be able to take in and consume all the information your instructor is giving you as well as complete all the projects, quizzes, tests, group presentations on time. It’s a lot of work. Actually, we really liked this fast-paced education system because the class straightly dived into the main curriculum, there was no time to waste.”
What are some of the struggles you went through?
Qjin: “It was really challenging for us. The problem for us is that we were too focused on getting good grades. Looking at other students, they were quite chilled and relaxed. We were the ones giving ourselves a hard time because we just wanted to get straight As. That’s actually something we regret right now.”
Qwon: “To be honest, straight As don’t give you jobs.”
Qwon: “It was also physically challenging because you always have to carry manilas, patterns, the tool box.”
Qjin: “When you first go to school and have all the books and supplies handed out to you, literally all of us fashion design students have to carry a piece of travel luggage to be able to put all our stuff in it so every time we went to school we carried a travel luggage.”
Do you have some advice for those looking to build a portfolio?
Qwon: “Take advantage of all the materials you can freely use in your school or college. Practice makes perfect. Luckily, our school had sewing classes and that’s where we learnt how to draw and draft patterns.”
Qjin: “Yeah, use the advantage of the internet. Use Youtube and Google, there’s so many tutorials where you can learn how to draw, sew, and draft patterns from. Don’t throw away your notebooks, our’s helped us a lot!”
Qwon: “We have been building our portfolio throughout our entire high school years. Start to build your portfolio as early as possible and not like 6 months before you have to submit it so then, later on, you can choose which one you would like to send off for an application.”
Do you need to be good at drawing or sewing from the start?
Qwon: “You don’t have to be 100% good at both but because the classes are fast-paced if you don’t have at least some of the basic stitched down, it will be a little hard for you to catch up.”
Qjin: “At least learn some of the basics, like basic sewing machine operations and a bit of drawing. If you have those nailed down, then you’ll be fine.”
What materials can you recommend on self-studying sewing and pattern drafting?
by Helen Joseph-Armstrong
Qwon: “This textbook is what we used in FIDM. It tells you step by step on how to create a pattern and once you learn how to manipulate patterns, you will kinda get the idea and you’ll be able to start doing it without even look at the book.
by Nancy Riegelman
Qwon: “If you want to start learning fashion illustration ahead, it tells you how to draw and express the garment through your pencil.”
What tips and tricks do you have on how to get a career into this field?
Qjin: “We highly recommend you to get close with your professors because they are the ones with the connections and that’s how we got our first job in the fashion industry as Assistant Textile Designers in Santa Monica, California. Though, we didn’t feel much sense of accomplishment from that so that’s what went back to FIDM to take the BA course and then went back to Korea right after where we ended up getting caught in the Youtube fashion scene and that lead us many more opportunities.”
Qwon: “We also recommend you to do some internship while in school and also take advantage of the job fair events that are held by your school as those companies will be the one to review your portfolio and build your network.
Lastly, what are some of the things you wish you had known since the beginning of school that would help Qtees start their fashion career?
Qjin: “You dont always to get straight As.”
Qwon: “Grades does not dictate your future.”
Qjin: “Do not be too stressed about getting good grades but rather try to network with people and build a good social group.
Qwon: “The word of mouth is really really powerful in the fashion industry because like in Korea everybody in the fashion industry kinda know each other.”
Qjin: “Use social media to show off yourself! Put your work on Instagram.”
Qwon: “Put your work out there on social media, so that someone can see it and maybe they’ll share it with other people and that other people will then share it more other people and it’ll then go to Anna Wintour or something and she sees it and recruits you.”
Q2Han have really come a long way in the fashion industry and giving us a significant amount of advice along the way as they spoke of their experiences as fashion students. Not long after they started their youtube career, they were hired by NYLON Korea’s editor after having discovered their Instagram account where their personalities are shining brightly through their daily outfits and other projects.
On top of learning the practical things we can apply to ourselves when building a portfolio and living life as a fashion student, we also learnt to use the power of social media to flex your work.
For the most part, Qwon and Qjin have importantly reminded all Qtees not to ditch them when you make it far in the fashion industry. Remember, do not stress out, be chilled and enjoy yourself. Do not focus on getting those straight As! We and Q2Han wish all of you the best of luck!