Andre Leon Talley Shares His Fashion Advice to Budding Designers

Learn to listen and don't rely on Google searches, he says.

André Leon Talley has earned plenty of clout in the fashion world after his years working as editor-at-large for Vogue, being a judge on America’s Next Top Model and even his early years working under artist Andy Warhol. In a recent interview with Fashionista, Talley shared some of his wise advice for any budding designers looking to find success in fashion. For starters, he urged students to not shy away from homework — even if you’re studying on your own.


“You have to do your homework,” Talley said. “In life, homework is important. That’s the advice I give to students. Homework could be reading or learning how to do that stitch. You can also do that on your own if you simply go to the library. It’s not necessarily about being on the computer and Googling it. That’s not enough. You have to explore it.”
He also encouraged youth to learn from those with more experience instead of running to the Internet to search for terms they don’t yet understand.
“I think people have it so easy because they think they can Google. Every time that you’re in a dinner [with a young person] and you say something he doesn’t know, he Googles instantly to inform himself, to be part of the dinner conversation. I don’t think that’s necessary. I think that you listen and then you go back to research.”
Talley, who also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Savannah College of Art and Design, further expressed the importance of listening and respecting those who have come before you  o gain as much knowledge as you can from those who’ve achieved their goals.
“When I got a job with Andy Warhol where I was making $50 a week, I was happy to do that because I was in the world where I knew I would learn,” he said. “Young people don’t know how to listen. You take it in and digest it… You have to respect your mentors and keep your nose to the grindstone and keep exploring your vision and your dreams.”
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(Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

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