Name: Liz Lange
Job Title and Description: Fashion Designer and Style Expert
College/Major: Brown University, Comparative Literature
Website: www.lizlange.com / www.shopafrolic.com / www.target.com / www.hsn.com
Twitter Handle: @lizlange
Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Liz Lange: I have no typical days. On any given day I have TV appearances, design meetings, Internet meetings, fittings, business lunches, editor meetings, errands with my children, business travel, speeches, and panels.
HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
LL: I was an assistant at Vogue. I started as an in-house temp at Condé Nast. Back then they called us “rovers” as we would rove from magazine to magazine filling in for any assistant who wasn’t there. Eventually, I was placed as a permanent assistant at Vogue (but not before I passed a typing test that took me months to pass as this was pre-computers!)
HC: What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
LL: [There are] lots of talented but high-strung people in the fashion industry and no mistake is that big of deal. Back then assistants could often be found sobbing in the bathrooms of Vogue.
HC: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
LL: Stephen DiGeronimo was the fashion designer whom I left Vogue to go apprentice for. It is what ultimately led to my own successful career as a fashion designer.
HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
LL: Until someone does something new, no one thinks it’s a good idea. Or as Steve Jobs famously put it, “…people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
LL: So many mistakes but mistakes are opportunities in disguise. The important thing is that you learn from them and you move on.
HC: What is the best part of your job?
LL: I can’t believe that I paid for what I do. I love designing and I love working with my customers and interacting with them. I also love having the opportunity to address and teach would-be entrepreneurs.
HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
LL: I don’t care if my employees have direct experience in the job I’m hiring for. I care much more about general intelligence, a true desire for the job, a passion for my brand, and a “can get it done” attitude.
HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
LL: Don’t get caught up in what you think you do and don’t know. I can’t sew, drape or sketch and yet I have had a very successful career as a fashion designer.