So your evolution process went something like this: dress up was your favorite game as a kid, your Barbie had more clothes than your mom and sister combined, malls were your favorite teen hangout, you started a fashion blog and now dress up is still your favorite past time. But does that mean the fashion career path is the right one for you? Here are five ways to know if you should work in fashion!
1. You Posses Some Humility
So you’ve seen how glamourous the entertainment industry spins the fashion industry to be. Don’t get me wrong, ‘cause honey it is glamorous! But there is still a lot of sweat and energy that is exerted to get there. Although, you may never know from the perfectly maintained bobs and five-inch stilettos.
You won’t be the one sitting pretty in the front row when you start your fashion career. You will be the one sweating it as an intern most likely. If you feel any sense of self-entitlement, then you should probably stick to the good-ol’ rich husband scheme. But if you can get past your own ego and suck it up, you’ll be well on your way!
2. The Ability to Wear Many Hats
Sure everyone wants to be the next Anna Wintour. But we can’t all be the editor-in-chief of Vogue. And not just because it’s a technical impossibility, seeing as that is one position versus the vast number of girls that would give up their every Chanel bag (past, present and future).
There are so many different roles you can play in the fashion industry. You will quickly learn this during your first (second, third, ad infinitum…) internship [see previous section]. You will play the part of an assistant, barista, dry cleaner, assistant stylist, therapist and so on during your time as an intern. Use this time to build your resume and experience different facets of fashion. Find a new area that you previously wouldn’t have thought of. And if you still believe that the only job in fashion is Anna’s or supermodel, then you probably shouldn’t be working in this industry…
3. Patience of a Saint
There is one thing the movies and media got right— you will be dealing with some seriously unusual personalities, to put it nicely. That is where patience comes in. It pays to be nice. And you will be tested. Always be the calm and collected one in every situation. No matter how much you want to throw that skinny latte all over their YSL silk blouse, just smile, walk away and try again.
Again, humility makes its entrance. You won’t be acknowledged for your reserved and pleasant demeanor, so don’t expect any praise for this. But if you blow up on someone, that will not be forgotten, and you very well may be burning some serious bridges. And in fashion, everyone knows everyone…
4. Passion for Fashion
This one may seem generic, so allow me to get into the nitty gritty. When I say you have passion for fashion, I don’t mean that ‘ohemgee Forever 21 is totally my favorite store’ or ‘like… Lauren Conrad is my style icon, I am totally moving to Hollywood and going to FIDM. My daddy even said he will pay for it and get me a beamer!’. I mean passion as in, you are more excited when the latest W or Italian Vogue is in your mailbox than when a boy calls; or September is your favorite month, despite it being the start of a new school year; or you spend home room studying designer’s latest lines instead of the periodic table.
This is real passion. And if you are a true fashionista, you are aware that the ‘styles’ Forever 21 and most other retail establishments carry are a few seasons behind the designers. I’m not trying to knock Forever 21, they are just the largest and most widely recognized example. My whole point is that you will really need to know the industry, inside and out, if you plan on working on it.
During your first internship, everyone will undoubtedly ask you your favorite brands. Have a smart, respectable answer for them. Know the jargon.
5. You Maintain Relationships
Even if you’re shy, you’ll network and push yourself to be outgoing for the sake of your career. Fashion really is an industry where it pays to know someone. You’re nice to everyone you meet, even the guy in the mailroom. He very well may an intern this month, but in two more he could be working alongside a senior stylist on photo shoots. So if you’re truly to become a future fashion editor, you’ll get people’s names and make sure they get yours! Make it a point to say hi to them and establish a rapport. And you never know what sort of connections they may have. It’s all a giant spiderweb.
So get to using those communication and schmoozing skills!
by Grace Gulley
Image via Tom Ford