Interview with Thierry da Costa, woman knitwear developer at Balenciaga // LISAA Alumni
Thierry da Costa graduated from LISAA in Fashion Design-Pattern Making in 2011 and Fashion and Luxury Management in 2013. He is junior women’s knitwear developer at Balenciaga.
LISAA: CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR ROLE AT BALENCIAGA?
Thierry: Today I am junior women’s knitwear developer, and so I work with the Balenciaga women’s studio and I take part in designing the four annual collections for knitwear products.
I coordinate the manufacturing technique with the manufacturers in different countries, as well the marketing for the different products designed by the studio. Each product is fitted and adjusted right up until the runway show or the photo shoot for a pre-collection. Throughout the manufacturing process, it is also necessary to follow and stick to a given budget and collection plan. Finally, there is an entire administrative part that surrounds each product.
CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CAREER PATH AFTER LISAA?
After my first qualification in Fashion Design-Pattern Making and then the second in Fashion and Luxury Management, I undertook a long period of work placements including a first long work placement in production at Michel Klein and a work placement at Balenciaga in men’s product development. Then I was hired at Idmaille, a consulting company in knitwear product management and obtained positions at different fashion houses: Sonia Rykiel, Paco Rabanne and Balenciaga Homme. In September 2015 I was hired at Balenciaga Women.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Balenciaga was the fashion house that made me love fashion and one helped me get my foot on the ladder after LISAA, so today, being part of this great fashion house is my proudest achievement. My career path hasn’t been simple but it’s been worth it.
Being part of this great fashion house is my proudest achievement
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PROJECTS?
I would like to continue learning about how to best manage a product collection and learn, with all the manufacturers with whom I work today, increasingly innovative techniques. Maintaining the enjoyment that I get today from doing what I love is my most important project!
YOU DESIGN AN ANNUAL PERSONAL COLLECTION. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOU?
My collection has a special place in my heart. After LISAA I continued to design an annual collection in order for my portfolio to be up to date and a reflection of who I am. Being able to make a collection of eight looks, like those required for the end of year at LISAA, allows me to express myself and create a framework for my desire to design. I set up the website thierrydacosta.com. I don’t know if my collections will be part of my future plans but it’s a need that I feel today as part of my career path.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE STUDENTS?
My advice is to give as much as you can in every professional experience that arises—whether it’s with big couture houses or even amateur projects
My advice is to give as much as you can in every professional experience that arises — whether it’s with big couture houses or even amateur projects that are being launched, these opportunities should all be given the same importance. You should persevere and not trust short-term gains, because a worthwhile path is made up of lots of different experiences and will make you more attractive to companies.
Click on "see more photos" to discover the Balenciaga autumn/winter 2016/2017 pieces (photos: Balenciaga) that Thierry worked on and pieces from his own collection.