In my short years thus far, I have managed to squeeze in many fashion-related internships. From styling, buying, and even retail, I've covered a good amount of areas. Fashion is a huge, multi-billion dollar industry with many different areas to dabble in, but there are certain things that everyone needs to know before they embark on their fashion journey. A career in fashion can be very exciting, but don't underestimate how difficult it can be. Here are 13 things you need to know if you want to work in fashion:
1) Keep Your Mouth Shut
If you're interning in any area of fashion, it's important to remember that you are there for your own benefit, not the benefit of your employers. They don't need the opinion, they're helping you out. While it may kill you to keep your opinions to yourself, your successors more than likely won't appreciate feedback from an intern or a newbie. Until you make your way up the ladder, you're better off keeping your mouth zipped when it comes to giving advice.
2) Don't Ask Too Many Questions
Fashion is a fast-paced industry; everything is go-go-go, there's no time for unnecessary questions. Of course, asking questions is essential, but only ask questions you genuinely need the answer to, as opposed to just making conversation. They'll be more impressed that you knew what to do without having to ask for help, and you'll also avoid being that annoying intern who won't stop asking questions. Win win.
3) It's All About Connections
It may be a large industry, but everyone knows everyone. I've never gained an internship from just sending an e-mail, they all came from having connections. You should be nice and courteous to everyone (general life rule), even if they are "only the mailman." Like any industry, everyone helps each other out and any impressions you make will be noted.
4) Socialising Is Crucial
Try to make it to as many industry events you possibly can, as you never know who might be there or what opportunities might arise from it. All it takes is one introduction to land your dream internship/job. Just remember to take it easy on the alcohol. You want to be chatty, not sloppy.
5) You Need To Dress The Part
Let's be real here, the fashion industry is about appearances. While looks aren't everything, it's important to show an interest in the industry you want to work in. But that doesn't mean you have to be dolled up every day. In fact, most fashionistas adopt the minimalist look with barely there makeup and cool casuals.
6) Fashion Never Sleeps
While your internship/ job may be Monday-Friday, 9-5, a career in fashion doesn't stop there. In fact, I'll be surprised if you don't stay late most evenings. Even though the fashion industry is a business, it is also very creative. Be prepared to spend many evenings making notes of the hottest trends and scowering the internet for fresh ideas.
7) You Need To Be 100% Committed
Most careers require an interest, hard work, and a natural talent. A career in fashion requires all your attention. You really do need to eat, breathe and sleep fashion. If you're serious about a career in fashion, this should be no problem. But it's no job for anyone who's not 100% committed.
8) Social Media Is Crucial
While the digital age has taken over pretty much every career out there, it's particularly important in fashion. Instagram should be your best friend. #OOTD. Social media is the easiest way to get your name and image out there. It's also important to have an extensive knowledge of all forms of social media and to keep up to date. If you don't know what Kendall Jenner wore to Karl Lagerfeld's boat party by lunchtime, you'll be seriously out of the loop.
9) You Need To Be Creative
Fashion can be quite repetitive (hello trend revivals) which means that being creative and being able to think outside the box is important. Many things have been done already, what matters is how you can put a new spin on an old idea.
10) There's A Lot To Learn
From current designers, stylists, photographers, and even fashion trends, there's a lot that needs to be known in the fashion industry. Not to mention, everything from the past. So get studying friends.
11) It's Harder Than It Looks
Don't get me wrong, fashion can be a fun and rewarding career, but damn is it a tough job. It's a highly competitive industry that tests you in every way. Survival of the fittest has never been more true, as only the best will make it. Which means a lot of late nights and canceled plans with friends. But hey, it'll all be worth it in the end when you land your dream job.
12) You Need Thick Skin
Like any industry, you will face countless mean people in fashion. Hell, I remember being 17 and crying because a photographer shouted at me. 3 years on I've grown thicker skin as a result and have learned not to take everything so personally. If you mess up, don't worry, it doesn't mean your career in fashion is over. We all make mistakes, what's important is to learn from them and to move forward.
13) You Might Get Judged
I used to hate telling people I wanted to work in fashion when I was growing up. That confused look on their face used to always annoy me so much. "You're too smart to work in fashion", "There's no jobs in fashion." "Why don't you want to be a teacher?". Maybe it depends on where you grow up, but in general, the idea of a job in fashion is alien to some people. There's also major stereotypes surrounding those who work in fashion - they're stupid, fickle, snobby etc. Of course it's not true, and not everyone will judge you, but prepare to have people who will assume you care more about your Jimmy Choos than your own mother.