I find Vogue quite dull as a magazine. Yet I’m now working in fashion. CRAZY, right?
Now, I’m no statistician, but I’d hazard a guess that a large proportion of young people would fancy a job in fashion. (Literal stab in the dark. Maybe they wouldn’t.) It looks fun, the perks seem endless, and it appears super glamorous and flashy and look-at-me swanky; however, it’s also one of the hardest industries to work in, and can be a bit of a shock to the system when you manage to break into it.
I’ve been working in fashion for about a year and a half now, and it’s not exactly what I expected. If you want to work in fashion, or just want to know what it’s actually like or what’s good to know before applying anywhere, here are some of my pearls of wisdom(ish) that I can pass onto you. You’re SO welcome.
looking like an idiot at london fashion week wearing (nearly) head to toe missguided
APPLYING FOR FASHION JOBS
I got my job fresh out of university, so here are some things to remember when applying somewhere:
What’s so special about you?
Not to sound like a helicopter mom here, but it’s fairly obvious that you should have something extra on your CV that’s fashion related. For me, it was my blog, which (especially if you want to work in marketing) can be a huge plus, and shows you can manage social channels, write content, and have a vague understanding of SEO and algorithms. Other things to consider could be internships at notable brands, entering design competitions, and freelance writing for fashion publications – you get the gist.
Look fashionable (duh)
Okay, interviews suck – but dressing for interviews sucks HARDER. Obviously it’s always key to be too formal rather than too casual, but demonstrating you actually get trends through your clothing is a must (need an example? If you wear a suit, choose culottes instead of trousers – that kind of thing.)
Pick a brand you actually like
If you get this job (which you will, cos you’re a dream) you actually need to LIKE the brand you work for. Chances are, you’ll wear the clothes or buy the accessories (or even just get gifted freebies), so working somewhere that’s not your style is kind of pointless. Plus, you need to fit with the brand aesthetic, target audience and tone of voice (so don’t apply for Chanel if you only wear JD Sports and hate designer bags. Makes sense, really.)
“Working in fashion” is kind of a broad term…
Personally, I work in digital marketing, and I write content and look after site SEO; but there are a zillion different ways to get into the industry. You’ve got marketing, which (if online) will consist of paid (affiliates, pay-per-click) and then organic (social media, blog content, onsite SEO) channels; then you’ve got things like buying, which is way more numbers focussed than I ever assumed, merchandising and trading, and PR, which involves loads of FRANTIC EMAILS. Then you’ve got events, advertising, manufacture, etc, etc – basically, RESEARCH THE AREA YOU WANT TO GET INTO. Okay?
WORKING IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY
You realise how UNfashionable you are
I had a Chanel handbag and occasionally flicked through Elle, so considered myself a vaguely stylish person before I started working in the industry. NO. NO I WAS NOT. I hadn’t heard of loads of brands I started working with, which I now see everywhere; and I didn’t really GET trends that weren’t things like “have a classic designer bag” and “own some Christian Louboutins”. It just makes you realise that the industry is huge, and you have literally NO IDEA.
It’s nothing like The Devil Wears Prada
When you think of girls that work in fashion, you probably think: tall, waif-like, practically models, smoke, live off coffee, dress entirely in black designer clothing, generally bitches. Well, not to shatter the illusion: it’s nothing like that. I wear jeans to work (A LOT). I eat probably too much cake, and there’s often sausage rolls lingering around the office. People are nice to each other. Your boss is a decent human being and doesn’t witheringly dismiss florals.
You’ll spend A FORTUNE
Do you know how many pairs of shoes I’ve bought since starting my job? No, neither do I. But it’s several thousands of pounds worth (I was just a bit sick in my mouth there), because I’m always like ooooh new cult accessories that I MUST BUY BECAUSE I WORK IN FASHION. You will spend SO. MUCH. MONEY. trying to stay on trend. Say goodbye to heating and food, okay?
It sounds more glam than it actually is
Take fashion week. Sounds amazing. It’s exhausting. It’s expensive. Yeah, you might get photographed, and see some famous people and get some freebies – but you’ll literally die from tiredness on the train coming home, and your feet will become numb hooves that no longer work after trekking around in pointy heels. Working in fashion definitely has perks, and I’ve had some amazing experiences in this industry, but also some absolutely knackeringly mental ones that you probably wouldn’t get working in a bank or a more mainstream office. You’ll be jetting off to see brands or up to London all the time, so probably work long hours and don’t sleep enough, and have to claim back zillions of pounds in train fare and coffee. It’s definitely not all champagne and free clothes. Soz.
Overall? Working in fashion is tiring, exciting, draining, expensive, unpredictable and generally, great. There’s probably way more to tell you, so keep your eyes peeled for a second part to this post – I’ll let you know when I think of some more titbits of info…