Fashion is and always will be one of the most beautiful, creative and expressive industries in the entire world. Each season opens up a fresh opportunity to escape the routine of everyday life and dream again! The coming together of designers, illustrators, PR’s, content creators and more, ensure that there’s always something to be amazed by.
But when you’ve just spent the past 3 or 4 years studying Law, Finance, History or English, the fashion industry may feel like foreign territory and a fashion job seems out of your reach. Pressure from your parents may have pushed you to stick to a traditional education route, whilst in the back of your mind and deep down in your heart, fashion has always been your passion!
The good news is that you’re not the first person to transition into the industry without a fashion degree. Unbeknownst to many, a lot of the well-known fashion names snuck in through the back door too! As a luxury footwear designer and the niece of Jimmy Choo, Lucy Choi shares a similar journey,
“When I finished my studies I worked in the IT industry doing forecasting, business planning and taking up accountancy roles. I also became a Sales Director. Bringing these business skills with me helped me to get into the fashion industry faster.”
Instead of beating yourself up about how little you know about the fashion world, focus on the breath of information and skills you’ve picked up through completing academia. After all, skills are transferable and all knowledge is valuable. Here are a few more tips to help you on your new and exciting journey to landing your dream fashion job:
Write and submit a killer cover letter (…even when you haven’t been asked for one )
Trying to land a job in fashion with no experience can be a daunting prospect. It’s tempting to dump all the jobs you’ve ever done onto your CV to bulk it out – right down to the time you helped your neighbour with gardening for 2 weeks when you were 14. The best way to demonstrate that you’re hard-working, dedicated and truly passion about working in the creative industries (without any notable experience) is to prove it with your cover letter.
Cover letters should be tailored for every role you apply for, making them personal to the company and to yourself. This is your opportunity to share exactly why, despite the lack of experience, you’re still the very best person for the job.
How incredible would it be to spend a day in the office at your dream fashion job – Oh to be a fly on the wall *sigh*
Many people overlook retail destinations such as flagship stores, boutiques and department stores as key areas for industry research. Spend some time physically visiting as many shops as you can. Each shopping district in London will provide a different experience, offering an insight into the types of customers that shop certain brands or the consumers that brands are aiming to attract. Carnaby Street, Mayfair, Shoreditch and Oxford Street each carry their own vibe. Don’t be afraid to touch things and try them on! It’ll give you a better understanding of fabrics, fits and more to talk about in your interview (positive thinking).
Go out and meet people
“I met the Editor-in-chief of Refinery29, randomly at an event. She kind of liked what I was wearing, we starting talking, and I mentioned that I was thinking about getting into fashion. She said all I had to do was call her. So I left my (law) job and started interning at Refinery”.
– Preetma Singh, Ex-Lawyer and currently a Fashion Content Producer for Nordstrom.
Simply saying you want to meet new people will not miraculously make it happen! Get out there and get networking. At least once a week, you’ll find a fashion panel discussion, trend talk or networking event happening in London for FREE. Eventbrite.com, Magazines and Instagram are great for hearing about what’s on. Be sure to check out the Pepper Your Talk events calendar for a curated list of the best ones to go to.
Understand the ‘Business of Fashion’
We all started out in fashion as magpies attracted to the shiny and fabulous aspects of the industry. But once the dust settles, you’ll soon realise it’s a serious business just like any other industry. Websites such as Drapers, WGSN and Business of Fashion should be on your daily to-read list. Not only for their exclusive insights but as a way to learn key terminology, understand company structure/hierarchy and most importantly, to grasp just how international affairs are affecting imports, pricing, stocks and share, customer behaviours and more.
Remember, the fashion girls and guys only let their hair down AFTER they’ve taken care of business!