CAREER: Getting Familiarized with the Fashion Industry

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Because I was always passionate about fashion, I figured working in the retail industry would be an option for me after college. But knowing where and how to start in fashion became a challenge for me. After all, it was very difficult for me to get hired during high school. Unlike my other friends, I did not have any experience working in retail (did you know that I’ve always wanted to work as a sales associate?).

So, I kept pining to work in fashion for a long time, not knowing how many steps it would require to start working in fashion. As glamorous as the industry was, it takes a lot of hard work to really prove yourself to others why you’re into clothing and accessories. If others can’t see that you’re serious about where you want to work, then they won’t feel convinced enough to make any sort of connection with you, and that is crucial to know because you never know what kinds of connections you will make on a day-to-day basis. In other words, you really have to know about what’s going on in fashion before making your first move in the application process.

Disclaimer: None of these images belong to me.

Here are my tips:

1. Research your field of interest and branch out from there

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This step is so obvious but can be difficult to begin if you’re unsure about where you want to work. I’d advise you to start at one point that you are leaning towards and Google from there. We are so lucky to have the latest information right under our fingers that we don’t even remember to take advantage of it sometimes. Try to not see one position individually but as part of a team or a pyramid. That way, you can understand how people work with each other in fashion and why connections are so important.

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I would be surprised if Google wasn’t your homepage. I don’t know how many times I go on this site per day.

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Not only that, treat Google as your dictionary. Develop your knowledge on the industry’s common terminology. Know what the difference is between an A-line and a hoop skirt; trust me, there’s a big difference.

2. Subscribe to online newsletters and magazines
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Here are some of the top magazines I’d like to read when I am at the airport.

Oftentimes, we find ourselves either too busy (or lazy) to regularly check the news but I find that subscriptions make great reasons for me to procrastinate during my daily to-dos. More importantly, reading the latest news keeps me updated on businesses and trends (and even lawsuits). I can’t stress enough on how important this tip is. If you don’t know what is happening in the industry, how do you expect others to rely on you as a resource for any field-specific information? How will you even make conversations with professionals if you don’t know what the hottest topics are?

3. Follow bloggers and vloggers

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This is Net-a-Porter’s The Blog Power List, which consists of some of the most influential fashion bloggers of today.

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To find out which bloggers/vloggers inspired me the most, click here.

Whether you like to read or watch about fashion, you can do both! Besides designers and buyers, bloggers/vloggers are influential figures to the world of fashion, too. What’s great about this is that everyone has her or his own personal style, so you have a wide selection of fashion influences to choose online. Sometimes, they are both bloggers and vloggers!

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Youtube is an incredible resource when you don’t feel like reading. I find that videos are more personable at times because watching the videos is like watching the vloggers speak to me one-on-one in real life (no duh, right?). Videos capture moments that photos can’t and photos capture moments that video can’t, so follow both types of “loggers!”

4. Watch TV shows

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Here’s another fun one. I really like watching the competitive reality TV shows, like Project Runway and Fashion Star where real-life designers create and try to sell their collections either to the judges or buyers. You get to see people working in action and the pros and cons behind working in their positions – reality check! Watching the contestants win on the shows have been inspirational moments for me, actually. Also, you can watch fictional shows like Sex and the City (no fashionista is a fashionista without watching this show), The Carrie Diaries, and Gossip Girl where characters make a lot of references to well-known brands and styles. It is a known fact that fashion is an integral part of pop culture.

5. Go shopping

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I wish I was like Blair from Gossip Girl.

You don’t have to have money to go shopping (there’s always window-shopping!) but if you do, learn from the decisions you make as an individual consumer. Consumerism is the foundation of fashion – and any other business, really – so your best bet is to treat your trips to malls like field trips. Pay attention to what others around you are trying, buying, and returning. Online and offline shopping trips can help you build awareness for many brands.

If you have any other tips that you would like to add, feel free to reblog and comment/send it to my ask box!

Peace,
Jess

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11 thoughts on “CAREER: Getting Familiarized with the Fashion Industry

    • Jess Nguyen says:

      Aw, thank you! I hope so, too. I wish you the best of luck on your dream. It seems like you’re on your way there. Congrats on your feature on People! 🙂

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