Everybody needs time to achieve their goals. Life is full of chances and obstacles, but if you keep going they can eventually lead to happiness. These professional fashion designers had a long and winding journey to success, which just goes to show that all kinds of experiences can help you reach your goals, and teach you how to become a famous fashion designer.

1. Ralph Lauren

Although he is now a world-renowned fashion designer, he didn’t study fashion design in college. Instead, he pursued business science for two years before deciding to switch majors, and start life as a fashion designer. After quitting college and joining the army, he eventually started working in the fashion industry as a sales assistant for Brooks Brothers. Lauren’s big break came when he started selling ties to Neiman Marcus. 100 ties turned into a full-fledged career in the fashion industry.

2. Donna Karan

Donna Karan was destined for fashion greatness from the start. She comes from a family of models and suitmakers, so she was inclined to clothing early on. When she was only 14 years old, Donna started selling clothes; by 20, she enrolled in the Parsons School of Design. Only six short years later, Donna became the head designer for Anne Klein before striking out on her own to create her eponymous label.

3. Diane von Furstenberg

Furstenberg spent her childhood living in various countries including Spain, France, England, and Switzerland. It was during her time in Switzerland that she met Egon von Furstenberg – the heir to Fiat Automobile. When their relationship became more serious, she realized that she wanted a career of her own. When I realized I would marry Egon, I decided to have my own career instead of being a typical housewife,” she said. “I wanted to be someone significant, and not just a young woman who got married and did nothing beyond taking care of her husband. After apprenticing with Angelo Ferreti, a textile manufacturer in Italy, the Furstenbergs moved to New York where Diane decided to start her fashion design business. If it weren’t for Egon, we might not have the iconic wrap dress today.”

4. Coco Chanel

Chanel got her start in fashion by working as a milliner. She quickly realized that stage performing wasn’t for her, so she decided to focus on her fashion career instead. Did you know that Chanel was the first woman to have a perfume named after her? Before she became famous for couture clothing, Chanel started out selling hats in her millinery shop.

5. Tom Ford

Tom Ford is a top fashion designer who has also dabbled in art history, acting, and architecture. But then he had an epiphany moment during an internship with Chloe: “I realized that fashion was the right balance between art and commerce, and that was it,” he said. In 2005 Ford started his clothing line, and the man hasn’t looked back since.

6. Miuccia Prada

Who would have guessed that designing beautiful bags and training to become a mime artist go hand-in-hand? Prada achieved this before she became world-renowned. Even though Prada has had no fashion designers backgrounds, her brand is one of the most mainstream globally. After the label did well, she launched Miu Miu in the early 90s. (We’re guessing that was a nickname).

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