7 TIPS FOR BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS LOOKING TO BREAK INTO THE FASHION INDUSTRY
1. Be knowledgeable about the industry
It’s obvious for anyone who is looking to establish a fashion career that one must be knowledgeable about the industry they want to get started in. If you show a lack of crucial expertise (i.e during an interview), you wouldn’t receive a second glance. It’s important to take time researching trends/styles, and designers before pursuing a career in fashion. Whether you’re looking to manage a store or start your own clothing line, your understanding of the industry fundamentals is key. Imran Amed, founder and editor-in-chief of Business of Fashion says: “The truly passionate and well prepared individuals are the ones who see and can talk about the creative and the business side of fashion as intertwined.”
2. Make and maintain industry connections, a.k.a. Utilizing Social Networks
More and more young professionals seem to be getting offers of employment from networking. Those who utilize social networking sites such as LinkedIn, and even Twitter, may have the upper-hand in comparison to those who aren’t networking, simply choosing to rely on resume submission only. Fashion is a relationship-driven industry comprised of individuals who are all connected in one network or another. Listen to the advice that industry professionals share with you, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or for contact information.
3. Be kind and humble
Fashion “divas,” and those who dress the part without a solid understanding or appreciation for the industry, are everywhere. Pardon my stereotyping, but these individuals are–more often than not–snobby and impatient. An example of fashion etiquette is when the Olsen twins were asked what the best piece of advice they were given at the start of their career: “You get more with honey than with vinegar. I really believe that it always pays to be kind at work.”
4. Be driven
Laziness has never gotten anyone anywhere. It’s important to know that although you might have personal relationships with some of the “higher-ups” in the fashion industry, nothing will simply be handed to you on a silver platter. Other than a positive attitude, you must be willing to work hard. “The truth is that in order to break into this business [fashion], you will need to live and breathe it because it is of genuine interest to you — not just the glossy, fun parts, but also the behind-the-scenes machinations that make the industry tick.”
5. Possess a stellar work ethic
The fashion industry is fast-paced and constantly evolving. In order to keep up, you must be hard-working, disciplined, and a “go-getter.” Belinda Seper, founder of Belinda and The Corner Shop states, “I’m looking for people who know where they want to go and possess the qualities of a decent and honourable human being.”
6. Don’t overlook the baby steps
Instead of looking to dive in head-first, consider starting small. Look into the possibility of managing a small collection of stores first, or even interning with a young fashion business. Amed says that smaller spaces “will enable you to see more dimensions of the business.” Jumping the gun and springing for a globally-established company could be too complex, or expect too much, for an up-and-comer.
7. Understand the market
The fashion market has opened up beyond the conventional fashion capitals like New York, Barcelona, and Paris, moving into Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southern Asia, as well as Brazil. Amed states that the “digital revolution” has contributed to rising conscientiousness to the business of fashion and luxury. These consumers have “become more and more attuned to issues like sustainability and ethics.” Because of the fashion industry’s constantly evolving trends, the market is constantly moving as well. New opportunities arise for those who are cognizant of this fact, and to those who can spot where the market is headed next.