So you want a job in fashion? Good for you! Contrary to what your friends who want to be investment bankers or doctors or whatever say, working in fashion is not just a glamorous cakewalk, nor is it a ‘dumb girl job.’ In fact, you’ve got to be super savvy, creative, hard-working, intelligent and driven to make it in this industry. It can be super fun and extremely rewarding… but it isn’t easy – and it definitely isn’t all glitz and glamor.
The important thing to remember is that fashion isn’t just about cute clothes; it’s a huge, booming industry that has tremendous influence. Still think you want to be a part of the fashion world? Read on for some tips.
1.) Network, network, network. This is a no-brainer and you have definitely heard it before – but in a competitive industry like fashion, where there are far more would-be members than there are jobs, it really matters. Networking is a tough thing unless you have an in – you my not be scoring invites to parties and events, but that doesn’t mean you can’t edge your way in to the center of things. Email someone who has your dream job and ask him or her if you can meet for a coffee. See if anyone who graduated from your college works in the industry and make a connection that way. Email someone and ask if you can help out in any way – even if it’s just to assist on a photo shoot if there are no formal internships available. Even getting an internship is a huge challenge so be sure you’re maximizing your chances in every way possible.
2.) Be a generalist but don’t forget your focus: If you want to work in, say styling, you probably can’t afford to hold out until the exact job you’re interested in comes along – you need to grab whatever you can get and use that experience as leverage. You need to have focus and know what areas of the industry really interest you and why, but you can’t afford to be a diva. If someone offers you a job that involves steaming clothes and checking samples, take it! It may not be fun but it will open doors. Make sure you have as many skills as possible. Learn how to build web sites, shoot video, take strong photos, use social media effectively and take measurements.
3.) Do your research: I once interviewed a potential interest who knew absolutely nothing about fashion. I asked her who her favorite designer was and she said “I don’t really know any.” Um, hello? That’s sort of what this work is all about. Learn about designers. Learn about trends. Learn about photographers. Be prepared to speak about them. Watch fashion shows on YouTube. Knows what’s happening on the runway. Read the magazines. Follow brands on social media. Take in all of this info and if it doesn’t interest you….find a different dream job.
4.) Dress for the job: Let’s make one thing clear: walking into an interview in an impeccable outfit will not get you the job if you aren’t qualified (at least I hope it won’t.) Still, you can’t expect to demonstrate your interest in fashion unless you dress like you love it. That doesn’t mean piling on every trend ever (in fact, that’s a definite don’t) but it does mean showing a bit of personal style. Don’t walk into an interview for a job at a fashion house in a stuffy corporate-looking suit – you aren’t trying to be an accountant, after all.
5.) Start a blog: It’s such a great way to figure out what area of the industry is right for you – whether it’s styling your outfits, taking photos, writing content, promoting on social media, etc. It’s also a great way to get your name out there, meet other bloggers, make connections and get some experience. The best part? It doubles as a portfolio that you can submit when applying for jobs.