The #1 Reason Aspiring Fashion Designers Fail

Phoenix Fashion Week
Breanna Rose Skoon - FABRIC Fashion Show
PC Final Project - Pendleton Wool Coat as Worn by Model at F.A.B.R.I.C.
March 26, 2018

Breanna Rose Skoon ‘17, known to the industry as Breazy, is a force behind the growing fashion industry in Phoenix. She is currently working on several projects which include Phoenix Fashion Week, designing her own clothing and jewelry line, and creating individual designer pieces.

Fashion Dreams

As a child, Skoon was always drawn to fashion and design. After finishing high school, she moved to California to pursue her dream at a fashion and merchandising school in Los Angeles; however, Skoon found that it was too expensive for her to complete more than a few classes.

Though disappointed, Skoon still found ways to showcase her talent. After her wedding in Temecula (Orange County) was featured in a seven-page spread in Ceremony Magazine, featuring her jewelry and centerpiece designs, she decided to build her fashion career without additional schooling.

A Chance Meeting Leads to PC

Now back in Arizona, she saw an opportunity to be a part of a small, but burgeoning fashion scene building in the Phoenix area. Skoon dove right in creating her design business and website (lousyrich.co). While doing small fashion shows and getting her name out in the industry, she was invited to participate in a curriculum standards validation meeting for high school kids in Arizona. It was here that she met Sylvia Phillips, the chair of the fashion program at Phoenix College (now retired).

Phillips saw potential in Skoon and actively encouraged her to get a degree at Phoenix College. Skoon liked the idea of adding a degree to complement her growing skills in fashion design but was nervous about navigating the waters of college registration.

Skoon capitalized on the opportunity of working with Phillips to pick her brain about enrolling in college and transferring her transcripts.  Phillips put all her concerns to rest and was very inspirational about the program and her belief in Skoon’s abilities to succeed.

A Historical Perspective

There was another reason that the idea of attending Phoenix College (PC) appealed to Skoon. She could be a third-generation Phoenix College graduate! Her grandmother graduated with a degree over 15 years ago as a returning student herself and both her parents and little brother also attended Phoenix College. In May 2017, Skoon achieved her dream and graduated Phoenix College with an Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Design.

Three Classes that Every Designer Needs

Skoon loved her classes at PC but noted that the lessons learned in three specific courses continue to inspire and guide her growing business well after she received her diploma.

1 – Textiles

The fashion classes at Phoenix College helped Skoon to offer a wider range of products on her website and learn the fundamentals of textiles and design. Skoon’s favorite class was “Textiles,” taught by none other than Sylvia Phillips herself! States Skoon, “Now I understood the actual mediums I had been using [in my fashion design work].”

Though the fashion classes helped further Skoon’s knowledge of design basics, it was her general education and elective classes that gave her the extra skills she needed for her growing business. Two of her most influential classes were Business Math and Communications.

2 – Business Math

Skoon strongly believes that her math courses at Phoenix College play a big role in building a successful business.

"Numbers matter as a small business owner. You wear many hats for many years before having the opportunity to hire out [additional staff]. You need to understand all aspects of the business from Return on Investment (ROI), overhead, budgets, inventory…you won’t have a business without knowing basic math.” – Skoon

3 – Communications

Skoon is likewise very grateful for the added skillset taught in her public speaking communications class.

“I get interviewed in person on runways and for magazines. Understanding arguments of rhetoric helped me to be professional and market myself. The most important thing is that I learned how to prepare for public speaking." - Skoon

In addition to her classes, Skoon was heavily involved in Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society of two-year colleges, which helped her to be involved in campus life. She remembers school spirit days which were fun for her as an older student and helped keep her interested and motivated in her studies.

Fashion Today

Today, Skoon is always hustling to build her business portfolio. In 2016, she was runner up for fashion designer of the year in ready to wear fashion for Phoenix fashion week (photo on right courtesy of Steve Yap Photography). In 2017, she showcased her designs in the Plitz New York Fashion Week, where she realized the difference between custom design out of house and ready to wear fashions.

In December 2017, she showcased her Pendleton wool and silk coat (which was the final project for her Phoenix College degree). She also completed a big fashion show of coats down the runway at the Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center (F.A.B.R.I.C.). Skoon also recently enrolled at Arizona State University studying interdisciplinary business marketing.

Skoon is building her Lousy Rich brand by creating a more global site to offer her products digitally and actively increasing her product offerings by entering the beauty world through a lipstick line (coming soon). She has plans to move to California after completing her degree at ASU and becoming a fashion designer in both Arizona and California, building her brand with more products.

Advice for Current Design Students

When asked what advice she would give to other aspiring designers at Phoenix College, she states enthusiastically,

“First, I would tell them congratulations for even taking this step! Now breathe and take everything one day at a time. Remember to be good to yourself and reward yourself. Be aware and proud of what you have already accomplished.” – Skoon

#1 Reason People Fail in This Industry

Skoon believes there are a few reasons people fail in this industry. In the world of fashion,  designers are limited by fear and the restrictions they place on themselves. Skoon is passionate.

“Those who fail…know that you tried so you didn’t fail. It’s a hard industry. Work harder. Get up earlier. Stay up later. Achieve your goals. Stay consistent and be passionate in this industry. It’s still new here in Arizona. [To succeed], you have to really love it. Get back up again and reassess your goals.” – Skoon

To learn more about Phoenix College’s Fashion Design Program, contact the current chair, Alverta McKenzie, at alverta.mckenzie@phoenixcollege.edu

Follow Lousy Rich on Instagram @lousyrich, on Twitter @_lousyrich, or contact Breanna (Breazy) Rose Skoon through her website, Lousy Rich.

About Phoenix College

Phoenix College is one of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. Phoenix College offers academic courses leading to associate degrees, university transfer, certificates and short-term job training to more than 11,000 students annually.