The creative director position of fashion houses is typically dominated by men. Currently women make up roughly 36% of the creative director positions of luxury houses.
The women that are thriving as creative directors are outstanding role models to aspiring female designers.
Clare Waight Keller, who is currently the (first female) artistic director of Givenchy, is an inspiration.
Along with being an artistic director of a luxury fashion house, she is also married with three children, showing us that you can have it all. Not necessarily that it is easy, but that it is possible.
She is most recently credited with designing Meghan Markle’s wedding dress and veil for the royal wedding of Markle and Prince Harry.
Before Givenchy, Waight Keller was creative director of Chloé from 2011 to 2017. Before that, her first creative director position was at Pringle of Scotland from 2005 to 2011.
Not only do we have the same last name, but we also have similar industry backgrounds. Waight Keller has a history of knitwear education and experience, just like me. Her first creative director appointment at Pringle of Scotland, a knitwear brand, helped me realize that her successful path could be a rough vision of my potential path.
Being that we have the same last name, I am sometimes asked by fellow fashion industry insiders if I am related to her. As much as I wish I could answer “yes”, as I would have no shame in getting ahead through nepotism, my answer is always “no”, as Keller is her married name.
There is a chance I might be related to her husband, Philip Keller, who is an American architect. I might need to get on that research. Philip, hook up a potential relative!
In the meantime, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have the last name Keller in a cut-throat industry such as fashion. For anyone that is familiar with Waight Keller, it is a piece of nonverbal information that alludes to me being a capable knitwear designer, whether conscious or subconscious by the observer. Any leg up in this industry is welcome.
Waight Keller has inspired me to pursue the luxury market path in fashion. I haven’t spent much time exploring this market. I had one internship in 2009 at Diane Von Furstenberg.
The luxury side of fashion doesn’t have a great reputation. Because the luxury labels’ names are so valuable on a resume, positions are highly sought-after. Because of high demand of positions and desperate designers, labels can often get away with minimal compensation. Many potentials are willing to work for free, just to be able to say they worked for this name, or that.
But alas, reviewing my experience, I have concluded that my strengths would be best applied to the luxury market. I am strong in knitwear fabric development, and mass market brands don’t put a lot of resources towards design development. A great thing about luxury, is that they tend to focus intently on conceptual and technical design development. They research, develop, and test constantly, and this work is reflected in the end product’s price.
Clare, if you’re reading this, hit me up! I’m an awesome knitwear designer, specializing in knitwear structure and fabric development. I can translate any concept or trend into a knit structure or pattern that is optimized for auto knit machine capabilities.
Check out my about page for more info on my experience and expertise.