Do you want to be the next greatest fashionista on Earth? You probably imagine yourself winning the Project Runway and launching your own clothing label like Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Nicolas Ghesquiere, and Alexander Wang. Or maybe you see yourself in the realm of The Devil Wears Prada, striking out the world of fashion editorial and training yourself to be a great fashion editor like Anna Wintour. Maybe the next Rachel Zoe, styling stars like Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz. Or do you see yourself ON the runway? Like Kate Moss, Tyra Banks or Giselle Bundchen. Or are you more the behind-the-scenes type, quietly yet creatively producing the iconic images of fashion as the next great fashion photographer, a Steven Meisel or Marios Testino or even Tommy Ton or Scott Schumann? Or you want to have more freedom to voice out your niche like Tavi Gevinson or Chiara Ferragni? … Whatever you want to be, this tips will surely help you to get a job in fashion industry, your dream job, wherever you live.
It’s okay to not know exactly which part of the fashion industry you would like to pursue right out of college, but it is important to educate yourself on the diverse opportunities and aspects within the field. The more you research, the more opportunities you will find. Actually, I found a book that could help you to discover which field in the fashion industry is a match for you. But I’ll talk about that book later.
2. Pick A Place
While there are interesting fashion-focused companies in lots of different places, you’ll find the most opportunities in New York, London, Milan and Paris. You don’t have to pick a place right away, but doing so is a great way to weed out some of your options and really zone in on what is available and achievable for you. I am based in the Philippines, an hour (depends on our infamous traffic) away from the Metro Manila, the capital city but I had two former fashion jobs in New York that can be done at home so technically, I work for a company in New York while I am at home in the Philippines. That’s how I made my location decision. But right now a startup fashion company is asking me to submit a resume, if things went well who knows I may have move in a few months.
3. Make A Target List
Once you’ve researched the different types of jobs within the fashion world or determined which part of the industry you want, make a list of your favorite companies. Don’t be shy, dream big—include every company you would like to work for. If you are serious about a specific company, think about where you’d fit in and how you could make a great addition to the team. This book I talk about on the first tip have also a chapter of different types of jobs in the fashion world and how you could apply to a company you like. Again, I will talk about this mystery book later 😉
4. Take Advantage of the Social Media
Based off your target list, search all social media platforms to learn more about the companies—and the people who work there—that inspire you. If you really understand their sensibilities and preferences, you’ll have an easier time figuring out if it’s the right environment for you, and if you’re a match for them. For the companies I was interested in, I searched not only their website but also to their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and most specially their LinkedIn accounts. I paid attention to the companies they followed, too and that always led me to a new PR firm or brand to research. It also gave me behind-the-scenes insight, so I could visualize what it would be like to work at said company
5. Reach Out To Introduce Yourself
Once you’ve identified the approachable and appropriate employees at your target company, send an email introducing yourself, but don’t get offended if you don’t get a response. For every twenty blind emails you probably only receive one response. If you’re not receiving responses from every place you contact, don’t worry. The key here is finding a way to get in the door, so you can ask for advice, not a job, per se. (It’s also worth noting that you’re much more likely to get a response regarding career advice than a job offer.)
6. Keep an Open Mind
The odd are not in your favor that much out of college, in fact you may not you won’t land your dream job right away. So keep an open mind and always produce your best work with a positive attitude (no matter the task). You never know: a job you “settle” for might turn into something amazing, or lead you to another, even better position. If you’ve been there for so long and you really feel like you don’t belong there, at least you had an experience that could land you the job you really want because experience can teach us things we don’t learn from school and is one of the things that employers look at. Do you think my first fashion job in a New York company was my actual dream job? No really, but I still did my best.
7. Intern As Much As Possible
You will probably have to start your career as an intern: accept and embrace this. But it’s actually a good thing! By interning, you’ll gain valuable experience in the field and build numerous contacts through your bosses and fellow interns. You’ll also have first-hand experience with that company’s culture, so you can decide if it’s a good fit before having the commitment of an actual job offer. Actually, I don’t believe the mean intern life that TV shows like Gossip Girl portray. On my fashion internship, I gained two friends and my boss had a lot of drama and strict but she is friendly when we’re not in the office, she even treats us lunch sometimes or a milk tea (again, I’m from the Philippines and that’s our go-to drink, not Starbucks’ coffee) and a fancy dinner in a Chinese restaurant after the last day of fashion show.
8. Show You Are Valuable
Once you do land an internship or job, make yourself valuable. Prove your worth through your work, not your words. The best ways to get noticed in a company is by producing quality work, being reliable, and having a positive, can-do attitude. And no, being fashionably late is not tolerable.
9. Build & Maintain Relationships
I mentioned above that I am friends with my two fellow interns right? I am still in contact and it is a good thing. After an internship, it’s crucial to maintain relevant within the industry by keeping in touch with old bosses, sending follow-up and thank you emails, and staying up-to-date with fellow interns. Bottom line: Use your contacts to your advantage. But keep your genuine friendship with your fellow interns (if you will have ’cause this is real life, NOT Gossip Girl episodes.
10. Go For It!
Sometimes you just have to go for it! If you’re passionate enough about the industry, you will find a way to make it work. So go ahead, pack your car up or book a plane ticket and make the move!
BONUS: Read This Book
Finally! Now I could tell what is this mysterious book I have been talking about. It is In Fashion: From Runway to Retail, Everything You Need to Know to Break Into the Fashion Industry by Annemarie Iverson. This book helped me A LOT. It is the MOST in-depth guide, no bulls*ts, on landing you dream fashion job from (brace yourself) designer, stylist, model, makeup artist, editor in chief, photographer, accessories buyer, PR, window dresser, fashion editor, booking agent, art director, and even online fashionista aka blogger! I bought this book only a few months it was first published back in 2010 and it is still very updated on the current industry. The only thing that has changed since then was Emmanuelle Alt’s position in French Vogue.
This book starts with a Fashionista Aptitude Survey to help you determine on where in the industry you belong which the author divided on four: creator, visualizer, critic and seller. It will teach you from which school is the right one for you, how to get an internship and why it is VERY important, write resumes, what to wear on job interview and what you should and should not do after you got your job and even how to properly pronounce difficult names like Ghesquiere (JESS-Key-Air) or Alaia (A-lie-huh).
Also, people in the fashion industry are infamous for being snob, let’s face it. Dressed to kill in four inch Saint Laurent Tribute heels, eyes covered with Tom Ford sunnies while carrying a Balenciaga bag that isn’t in production yet for the next four months. It seems like it is hard for them to smile or care to ask about the receptionist’s husband after a surgery or something. But this book will teach every young dreamers like YOU (and me) NOT TO BE A FASHION B*TCH. Besides teaching you the essentials on landing your dream job, it will also guide you to stay grounded.
In short, this is the Fashion Industry Bible you ever need. It has tips on education, internship, companies, and how to land and keep your job without turning into a fashion b*tch.