These are simply just my own tips that I believe have helped myself and my friends whilst studying, interning and getting the all important fashion job. Grab a brew and enjoy chickas.
An obvious yet not essential top tip of mine would be to make the right choice at university. Enjoyment and a true passion of my course was a huge part of my story. As discussed in my previous post I studied Fashion Communication & Promotion at The University of Huddersfield and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was able to take a year out to intern which I think is an essential part of getting your foot in the fashion industry door. Work your backside off and get yourself out their, intern wherever and with whoever you can. Learn as much as you can wherever and from whomever you can. Interning is my number one tip for getting somewhere in the fashion industry FO SHO!
Fashion brands and companies get inundated with CV’s each and every day from fashion-hungry people desperate to gain some experience with them, so it’s important to stand out. Creative CV’s and online portfolios (I used Prezi.com to create mine, it’s super easy to use, completely free and looks super snazzy) are both great ways of standing out, but for me, I knew I had to/wanted to go that extra mile. A quick Google search of Henry Holland and I learnt that his favourite sweets were Jelly Beans. I sent off my CV and cover letter with a couple of bags of jelly beans and the next week I was at House of Holland HQ for a trial day, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Come up with some fun, unusual and creative ways to stand out from the crowd; it worked for me, and could work for you too.
This is a biggie! One simple word can open up a number of doors and avenues for you and your career. Saying yes to everything (within reason of course) is a definite must in determining whether brands, companies and people will want to work with you in future.
Something that annoys me, yet, unfortunately is part of the whole interning experience, is the fact that not everything you do whilst interning is useful to your career or to your learning, but these things just need to be done. Whilst interning I washed up, brewed up, swept up, took the rubbish out and spent days hot footing around London hand delivering LFW invites; I didn’t learn much, other than the London Tube map like the back of my hand, but it definitely led me on to bigger and better things when my employers could see I was a keen bean!
That being said, I wouldn’t advise doing more than a month or two of the unproductive and un-useful tasks. Don’t let employers take you for a ride or take the mic out of you, internships are mostly unpaid and it’s not fair for you to be both unpaid and to leave without having learnt anything. So any longer than 1 month, I would think about moving on to somewhere else, once you have around a month on your CV, other brands/companies will snap you up!
Socialising is another biggie when it comes to the fashion industry. As awful as it is, it really is “Not what you know, but who you know” to a certain extent anyway. The contacts you make through interning, blogging and otherwise are essential in developing your career in the fashion industry. Anyone you meet, take their email address, Instagram/Twitter handle, ANYTHING, just make sure you know how to contact them if and when you need to, particularly if you know you have a dissertation or case study to write during your final year of university. My contacts were fantastic sources to back up my points when creating my case study.
Getting social online is also a sure fire way to develop your networking skills. Having a blog, in my opinion is a great way to meet new people, brands and like-minded, industry people, which has truly helped me get to where I am today. I have all my email addresses organised in alphabetical order under the brand/company name and the exact field they work in, same with my business card pack. As silly and down right anal as it sounds, this really helped me throughout university, particularly during my dissertation and interning when I needed a quote or some help from someone in-particular.
Twitter and Instagram are great ways of connecting with potential employees and dream brands; connect with them and see what happens, you really never know.
Know your stuff;
Yep, there I go again with the downright obvious, but it really does help to know your field. Swot up in whichever way suits you best. I have soooo many fashion related books that I love to flick through from time to time, but admittedly, I’m not dedicated enough to ever finish said books.
That’s where I turn to the web; Vogue.co.uk, Elleuk.com and Style.com, as well as some key blogs really allow me to stay in the loop with all things fashion. It’s just the way I like to take it all in, that and magazine subscriptions.
Throughout university I had subscriptions to Vogue, Elle, Company and i-D and found them to be great sources of both information and inspiration. Ask for the subscriptions for both Christmas and Birthdays like I did and you’ll be on to a winner. Until of course you move out and your mum passes on the subscription fee to you… Eeek.
Grow that back bone & second skin;
This is something that I am yet to do, but definitely something I’m working on each and every day.
I’m an emotional being and one of my least fave traits of mine is that I can get quite intimidated by people, whilst also being affected by other peoples moods.
Something I’ve had to overcome throughout my teenage years and even now, is to learn to stand up for myself. Stay strong to your beliefs and you’ll be fine. Don’t let people take the mic out of you, particular whilst interning, as I said, you are there to learn after all, and people will (hopefully) respect you more for doing so.
Criticism is part and parcel of learning, take it on the chin and move on; it’s all a learning curve after all. Ask as many questions as possible and learn from whoever you can. Something I’ve learnt is there really is no such thing as a silly question, chances are they’ve been asked it before and better to ask and get it right, than spend your hard work on something only to have to do it again ey!?
Where to look;
Finally, where to look for that all important internship.
You can, as I did, send a number of CVs off in the hope that they get back to you. It worked for me but I know it can sometimes be extremely demotivating if you don’t get a reply, so try looking out for vacancies online.
My faves for finding out about internships were UK Fashion Intern, this website and twitter account advertises the best paid and unpaid internships around, a website that I found seriously useful throughout my interning experience.
I also religiously checked out FashionWorkie.com, again a great website for showcasing new vacancies, this time specific to regions, which is seriously ideal if you don’t live in London, as I didn’t at the time.
And finally Fashion Monitor, we were advised to scour this website throughout uni, and it seriously comes up trumps with the internship goods. A number of my fellow students bagged internships and graduate jobs via this website so it’s a good one to check out.
There are contact details and addresses for almost every Fashion brand, publication and company over on Fashion Monitor so it’s a great website to get a subscription to indeed!
So they’re my top tips from previous experience; tips that I feel really helped me get my dream job at ASOS. I really hope you found them useful and do leave me any unanswered questions below as I’d love to do a follow up Q&A style post for y’all.
Lots of Love