Whether that's making your mark in the fashion world or wanting to network with companies and recruiters who align with your vision, talking with people who are experienced will navigate your route to the industry. We’ve all heard the phrase, “the fashion industry is the most competitive. You either get the chance by luck or by work, or not”. Though there is no doubt about being an undergraduate with many opportunities open from conferences, classes, internships, and events, you can utilize such platforms for a positive experience. The more contacts and networks you can make, the better your chances of opening new opportunities.
The fashion industry is not just for creatives but for those who are passionate about fashion. Getting your foot in the door may be daunting, especially with the rapid changes in business operations, trends, and consumer demand. However, there is always a way to start and educate along the way of something you are passionate about.
Getting involved within the industry does not mean landing your dream company or position right away. There are building blocks that lead you to your opportunities. Not everyone will get their Marketing Internship at Jimmy Cho or Brand Design at Michael Kors on their first try. That is why being inquisitive and open-minded about educating rather than receiving titles is important. Your fashion skills are the strengths that will get you to your dream.
The many steps to getting your feet wet in the industry are finding new opportunities that leverage your knowledge in fashion. The best way to get experience is to land on an internship, attend a conference, or be active at an event. Going out of your way to watch videos and documentaries on fashion and founders will expand your knowledge on what the industry is all about and seeking. For example:
“Don’t expect that your employer will be teaching you the basic terminology used in modeling or fashion magazines. You need to ensure you know the meaning of phrases such as “comp cards,” “time for prints,” and “buyouts.”
“If you're applying for an international fashion brand – make sure you include all the languages and countries you have lived in / traveled extensively as it shows your cross-cultural understanding of different fashion trends around the world.”
When you land an opportunity within the industry, and it comes time to express your knowledge and experience to recruiters, the biggest mistake people make is not knowing their experiences in depth. From watching a video to working backstage at an event, every opportunity is an experience that you can elaborate on. Memorizing the same scenarios will make you less an expert, more a generic candidate. Please keep track of skills you gained and write them down to the extent of how you gained them and the impact from it.
When a candidate is speaking to a recruiter, their confidence plays a key role in identifying how much they want the opportunity. However, another strong quality of a candidate is identifying your dream fashion career and not being afraid to ask questions about the industry. By being inquisitive and confident in your goals, recruiters can quickly identify the type of person you are and how you can be an asset to the team.
Lastly, keep up with fashion trends and what companies are currently doing to see their revolution throughout time. Recruiters look for your knowledge in the fashion industry but also specific to your company position. You can do that by:
However, if you’re unable to have an internship, it’s not the end of your fashion career. Ask for feedback and take initiative to improve yourself. Like every career opportunity, you have to expand your knowledge and find unique ways to reach out to recruiters and present yourself differently.
Other unique ways to stand out to recruiters:
Start a Blog / Fashion Website
Work in Retail
Volunteer at fashion shows and events
Write for fashion magazines
Develop a strong LinkedIn profile and connect with industry professionals
Follow fashion industry leaders on social media.
Follow trendsetters and influencers in fashion.
Keep social media sites professional. Interviewers will check them.