As a fashion minor, I am all-ears to any information that can assist me in breaking into the industry. Recently, I attended an intriguing fashion panel at my school, Fordham College at Lincoln Center which consisted of five women, mostly Fordham alum, with insane fashion industry careers. The women’s workplaces ranged from Estee Lauder to Condé Nast, with titles as Buyers, Marketers, and Copywriters.
Not only were the women bright, intelligent, and enthusiastic about their careers, they also offered the students in attendance an abundance of information surrounding the industry. Often regarded as elite, the fashion industry is known to be extremely difficult to get involved with, but these women assured success with their first-hand tips and tricks that helped land their jobs. With so many college girls hoping to work in fashion, I thought this advice just had to be shared with future Wintour-hopefuls. And even if Chanel and Dior aren’t your career style, these tips can definitely be applied to a variety of industries.
Here are five insider-approved tips for breaking into the fashion industry:
1: NETWORKING IS KEY.
This was a point that was highlighted continuously throughout the panel. In industries where jobs are highly sought after, having connections and networks under your belt is extremely valuable. As students often have minimal experience, networking can seem overwhelming and intimidating. The women explained that networks can be created anywhere. Even at university panels or talks, students should feel encouraged to create networks with the speakers. Utilizing any possible networks is key!
2: DON’T BE AFRAID TO “STALK.”
Following networking, the women emphasized that students shouldn’t feel awkward in following through with their networks. After making a connection, the ladies suggested reaching out to them once every three months— whether it be a link to an interesting article, or a birthday greeting. While contacting your networks may feel like stalking, don’t shy away from it! After making networks, following through and maintaining the relationship is absolutely essential.
3: INTERN, INTERN, INTERN.
One of the beauties of being a college student is being able to intern. Internships are vital in securing a job following graduation. The women emphasized that at city schools especially there is no excuse not to intern. It is important to remember, though, that interning often involves busy work. While getting coffee for your supervisor may feel like a drag at the time, keep in mind that you are paying your dues. Many internships can also serve as an idea of what you don’t want to do. Interning in the fashion industry often has a negative stigma, but securing a variety of internships is vital to honing your skills and interests. As fashion is such a large industry, there are many fields and specialties to go into. Interning can help find your niche.
4: COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS, NEVER UNDERCUT ANYONE, AND BE NICE.
Fashion is cutthroat, and the women explained that undercutting people will never work to your advantage. Instead, collaborating and helping each other is key to a successful career. Forget The Devil Wears Prada attitude and pride yourself on being nice. One of the women shared that being nice and having a positive attitude played a great role in her success.
5: BE PROUD OF YOURSELF.
When applying for internships, jobs, and creating your networks, don’t forget to give yourself credit where it is due. Be proud of your hard work and let that show in your pursuits. While being over confident can hinder your success, it is important to be able to look at your accomplishments and feel proud and content. When entering the industry, be confident about your skills!
Image via Avery Bart