We welcomed Adam Shapiro, PR maven, to our panel at the launch of The Junior Network, where his experience of working both in London and NY got us thinking about the career differences between these two fashion meccas.
New York City, has long been established a centre for fashion and possesses world class talent and global influence. But, is the grass really a brighter shade of emerald in New York or are the opportunities bountiful for UK based fashion workies?
One thing that New York has over London is depth! NY is home to over 900 fashion headquarters and boasts an industry workforce of 180,000 employees, which makes up 6% of the New York’s total workforce! And although the London fashion scene directly contributes over £21 billion to the national GDP, its fashion workforce is a mere 60,000. 120,000 shy of New York’s total.
Both cities are home to notable and world-renowned fashion brands. Perri Haynes, Hannah Rafter and Toni Mills, PYT’s very own guides to the New York fashion scene, have both worked for such companies. Perri currently works in brand marketing in New York, having previously worked for Burberry and Hugo Boss. Whilst Hannah, founder of the ‘The Intern 247’, has worked with major companies including L.K Bennet and French Connection.
Perri Haynes – Brand Marketing, PMK BNC
Describe the New York fashion scene in once sentence?
Peri: Highs and lows, big egos, flashy events, carrying garment bags on the subway in the peak of summer and rewarding life lessons.
Hannah: The New York fashion scene is unique, forward thinking and buzzing.
Describe the London fashion scene in once sentence?
Toni: It was very much work hard, play hard and immersive in industry experiences.
Hannah: Londons fashion industry hosts a lot of heritage, tonnes of amazing small designers and it’s vibrant. One word that always comes to mind when I think of British fashion is exciting.
Hannah: I think London is the centre for all young people to start their career in fashion. There are so many different styles of jobs here, whether that’s brand, agency, small designers or the media world.
Perri: I think London and NY are comparable, but NY probably has more opportunities for entry-level employees. If you have the right qualifications and hustle, the possibilities in NY are endless. You just have to know where to find them and be bold!
Hannah: Though I do believe that New Yorkers love English talent, especially the ones starting out. I met a lot of Brits in New York who are working in fashion. New York really looks to the London for where to go next in Fashion and I believe that applies also to the people they want working for them.
Our verdict: New York remains the most varied and extensive fashion city with countless opportunities for fashion career girls.
Toni Nicole Mills – Fashion Editor, The Real Real
New York demands everything from their fashion employees and in such a competitive environment expect long, frantic days in the office. London is said to retain more of a creative atmosphere, most notably witnessed during fashion week.
“I find the quality of the work life balance in London
to be better than New York. London is that mix of getting the work done
but not killing themselves to do it.”
– Adam Shapiro
Our fashion career girls agree and when asked how they would summarise the fashion office environment in both London and New York? They replied:
Hannah: Overall I would say London offices, for the brands and companies I worked for, are a little more chatty and lively. Music is normally on or the radio towards the end of the week – office snacks are usually a thing and there certainly is a lot of talking.
Although office life in New York has lots of those elements they are less frequent. Music wasn’t on and it was more about fairly coffee trips than it was about who’s bringing in snacks.
Perri: What I have noticed in my past experience, is that there’s a level of hustle in NYC within in creative/fashion industries that I personally haven’t seen as much of in London.
In New York, there is very much a level of grind where people are burning the midnight oil to accomplish their fashion career goals. I think in New York there’s very much a “can’t stop, won’t stop” mentality – people aren’t (at least openly) complaining about waiting for Fridays and happy hour as much as they do in London.
Toni: The work culture in London is a lot more sociable with a lot of ‘work’ happening over a drink, which always seemed to help. America is a little more formal and serious in a work sense. I haven’t met one person yet that wasn’t eager to make things happen.
Our Verdict: We vote London, although, London is becoming increasingly fast paced, you may still manage an after-work cocktail before the bar closes. Unlike the over-worked New York counterpart who are still trapped in the fashion closet well over work hours.
Hannah Rafter – Fashion Editor, Style Counsel
While the New York fashion industry is propelling into its bright future, the London market is worryingly cautious after the Brexit vote. Much of the British fashion industry relies on a European based workforce to manufacture their goods. Yet, the closing of borders is bound to restrict the movement new talent coming to London to join the industry. Meaning, Brexit is bad news for fashion!
The London fashion scene is, however, soaring ahead in its investment and development of e-commerce. Farfetch, Net-a-Porter, Lyst and ASOS are just a few companies transforming the e-commerce market straight out of London.
Our Verdict: Right now, New York is a stable choice.
The Final Evaluation:
The girls were certainly divided when asked which city they prefer…
Hannah: I will always love working and living in London. Working in New York at 21 was very exciting and special to me. But, everyone working in fashion in New York wants to live and work in London. I’m not sure the same amount of people want to move from London to New York.
Perri: NYC! But I absolutely love London – consider it a second home.
In our opinion, New York presents the ultimate sink or swim test for anyone serious enough about their fashion career. Yet, London just feels more inclusive and affable. A smaller industry means less competition, more friendships and certainly more time for cocktails! Little Britain may be rainy but there is a radiant fashion career future in the horizon.