Key Terms to Learn BEFORE Starting your Fashion Job

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Key Terms to Learn BEFORE Starting your Fashion Job

Dress the part and speak the language
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A million scary thoughts must be running through your mind about your new fashion job!

Don’t let office jargon be one of them.


“Circle back”, “touch base” and “think outside the box” are commands thrown around every fashion office, every day! But those unfamiliar with the strange language that is office jargon, especially entry-level employees, are often left with no clue on how to decode it. 

Really, what does ‘blue sky thinking’ actually mean?

A recent survey of UK workers found 7/10 admit to switching off when these phrases are used. Yet, they still dominate our work vocabulary.  So, since you can’t beat them, we think it’s time to join them!

To ensure you are fluent, we have created the PYT translation guide every entry-level employee needs to survive in the fashion industry.



This is an abbreviation you are sure to hear and refers to a company’s SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM. This team is often a mixture of Vice Presidents, Chief Marketing Directors, Chief Finance Officers etc. It’s key to know exactly who these people are, their employment history and what they add to the company. Essentially, they’re the ones running the show and all big decisions are handling by the SLT.

The first and last names of senior management are often abbreviated in documents and emails.

For example, Sarah Blakely will become SB. Just another important reason you should research those company execs.


Annual Leave

Is annual leave the same as a holiday? The answer is Yes! Just a more appealing and professional phrase, which often causes some confusion amongst new starters. Announcing that you’re on ‘annual leave’ as opposed to ‘away on holiday’ sounds less frivolous when creating your out-of-office auto-reply.

On that note…


Out-of-office aka OOO

An out-of-office is an automated response to emails when you’re either on annual leave or have limited access to emails. When setting your out-of-office, it’s important to add when you’ll be back at work and who urgent messages should be directed to. OOO’s are also required on bank holidays if you frequently deal with colleagues/agencies/clients in different time zones.


Assets and Copy

In the fashion office, promotional imagery is referred to as assets.  The term copy is simply any written documentation. Words that go on a press release, words for a report or even new slogans are all forms of copy.


Dockets and Pro Forma’s

PR girls take note, a docket/pro forma are the documents needed for shipping press samples. These will become very familiar in your new role!  It’s crucial that they’re done right because expensive fur coats have been known to get stuck in customs – for weeks!!!


Let’s run this up the flagpole

This term was originally used in 1950 advertising agency (think Mad Men!) and simply means “give it a try” or “test it out”. Time for a little office trivia, this phrase was derived by George Washington, when presented with a new American flag he quipped “Let’s run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it”.


“Take this offline”

Here’s one millennial workers may be familiar with. Yet, bizarrely this is simply a way of saying “let’s talk about this in private”.


Top Tip: If someone asks “Can I borrow you for five minutes” – Beware! You may either be in a bit of trouble or about to get lumbered with an awful amount of work. 5 minutes is never 5 minutes!

As you begin to progress from fashion intern, to assistant and then girl boss, you will discover hundreds of terms unique to your role. Although this can be daunting at first, you’ll soon become an eloquent multi-linguist.

We have faith in yourself and remember if you don’t know, just ask!


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