Fashion Consultant Jean-Jacques Picart Announces Retirement, Shares Career Advice for Young Designers

“Be true to yourself. Since we’re in the inspiration business—reflection comes later—you have to follow what’s in your gut. As I tell young designers: ‘Even when you’re wrong, you’re right.’ Mistakes are rich in material.

“Be different. Don’t try to do what’s already out there, there’s already too much of it. Difference is more important than ever if you want people to pay attention.

“You can’t please everyone. I never said this in my entire career, but now I am beginning to understand. In the old world, you had to please everyone. Today, that’s not necessary. You just need to cultivate consistency. That’s the strategy of difference. Before, you had to be sold everywhere and do everything. Today you can be very successful when you don’t try to please everyone.

“Learn to dream realistically. Otherwise, the illusion results in failure. Fashion is not art. It’s a business that has an affinity with art. Isabel Marant, Alexandre Mattiussi, and Alexander Wang dream realistically. They recognize themselves in their fashions. And they don’t copy anyone.”

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