Fashion is a competitive industry, no matter how you look at it. There are consistently fewer available opportunities in fashion than there are candidates, and the most in-demand roles are reserved for a select few.
If you dream of a career in fashion, then be prepared to work for it. Here are the main areas to focus on.
There are global hotspots in the fashion industry, and if you’re ambitious, then you need to be in one of them. Be prepared to move, and consider taking a different job and moving to the right city to open up opportunities, rather than trying to apply from a distance.
Another approach is to pick one of the less competitive fashion headquarters and work there first to build up experience and a portfolio, and then network your way to your preferred destination.
To get a competitive job, you need to have skills that impress. Depending on the type of fashion job you hope to land, you may be able to take targeted courses, or you might have to study more general skills and gain experience in other sectors first before applying. Follow LSBF tweets for some targeted fashion education options, particularly in the areas of marketing and communications.
Some jobs, particularly modelling and design, take practical skills that you’ll need to hone and demonstrate. Focus on building up a portfolio of whatever work you’re capable of now, and work your way up to your ideal role.
This will vary depending on the type of work you plan to do. If you have a strong interest in fashion but your skills are more finance-oriented, then you’ll probably want to complete a typical finance program, get your accounting accreditation, and gain some work experience in another sector before trying to hop over to fashion.
However, if your dream is to work in design or marketing or even merchandising, then you’ll need more direct experience for your portfolio. Take the initiative to hone your skills wherever possible. Volunteer your services, apply for internships, and start-up design or marketing projects on your own. You could write for a blog, start up an Instagram influencer account, or volunteer at a local fashion show.
It always helps to have a connection, and this is particularly true in the fashion industry. Ask around – you’d be surprised at how often someone knows someone who can give you an introduction. Other great ways to build your network and access the connections you need include volunteering and interning, blogging and journalism (because you have an excuse to talk to people), and making a point of attending industry events whenever possible. This is another important reason to make every effort to live in a city that has a significant fashion industry.
It’s not easy to break into the competitive fashion industry, but if you identify the best ways that your skills could contribute, invest in the right education or experience, and persist in seeking out and building relationships, then you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd.