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Fashion career disillusion: professionals share their experiences, part 1

By Julia Garel

3 May 2021


Crédit : Unsplash

A glamourized industry, the world of fashion attracts professionals but also makes some people disillusioned. FashionUnited spoke with four men and women who have worked for major fashion houses tell of their fashion career disappointments.

In Europe, the clothing sector represents 922,041 jobs (Euratex 2019 figures); in France, it has a turnover of 15 billion euros (source La Mode Française 2020). Behind these figures, jobs of passion, temporary or indefinite breadwinners, fulfilling or on the contrary oppressive positions. Disappointed, exhausted or tired of their jobs, professionals choose to quit their posts, sometimes rejecting this entire industry which had nevertheless made them dream. FashionUnited spoke by email with these fashion workers for whom, at one point, this environment no longer rhymes with fulfillment. Today, the story of Kamil Owczarek, Polish designer spent at Armani.

In what industry are you currently working?

Kamil Owczarek: I am currently unemployed. I spend my free time resting - before that I worked non-stop for over twelve years. I research, take an interest in new ideas emerging, educate myself on new businesses, digital products and the younger generation coming into the adult world.

Could you tell me about your professional background?

I grew up in the countryside, in a middle class family. My interest in fashion comes from my grandmother. She loved to dress up and ordered custom dresses, furs and shoes. Despite still being interested in art and creative pursuits, I decided after high school to study law. At that time my grandmother gave me an old sewing machine which I then tried to master. I finally quit my studies after the third year, then moved to Warsaw with my sewing machine and decided to take classes at a fashion design school.

In addition, I worked four years at Emporio Armani as a buyer for the Polish market. A job that has led me to travel regularly to Milan, to the Armani headquarters, for weeks of training. I learned a lot about a global brand and met Mr. Armani. Then I started to think about my own business and my own brand.

When did you decide to leave the fashion industry and what position did you hold?

At the end of 2018. I was the co-founder and co-owner of Bohoboco (the ready-to-wear label ceased to exist in 2020, after 10 years as a fashion label; today it has become a perfume brand).

Can you detail the reasons that led you to stop working in the fashion industry?

For many reasons. Particularly because the preparation time of a good design exceeds its expiration date. It takes longer to sell the collection than the actual season lasts. The value of my many months of work was quickly devalued. Fashion loses its value, many customers treat fashion without feeling, they only wear their clothes once and are always hungry for new products. I found myself too emotional about my work and my projects. It was too much for me.

Do you think you will ever re-work in the clothing industry?

In light of current events, I do not yet know what could convince me to come back to fashion. For now, I'm taking a break and it makes me feel good. I have a few fashion related projects in mind, but time will tell.

How do you see the future of fashion?

I think fashion will be even more unpredictable. Super exclusive and mass market brands will maintain their positions. I am not sure about the future of small businesses.

Right now we're talking a lot about virtual reality and I think fashion will start to develop in that area as well. I also recently heard about virtual clothing for Zoom meetings.