As the fashion industry is so saturated with career options, searching for ‘what you want to do’ can be daunting, confusing, and increasingly tricky to understand where to start looking. If you’re fresh out of graduating or just fancy a new direction, I’ve outlined a handful of positions that will shine a light on where to begin as an aspiring fashion writer.
An editorial assistant can perch under many disciplines, from trend forecasting to traditional print and digital media. If you’re hyper-organised, willing to go above and beyond, and interested in a wide range of writing styles, this is a great starting point. Typically, you’ll be expected to support fashion editors with daily content; be it creating shorthand copy for social media posts, pitching story ideas and of course, the nitty-gritty admin in between. With the rise of social media and the fashion industry becoming increasingly data-driven, it will be useful to brush up on analytical skills and current consumer behaviours to ensure you’re ahead of the game.
SOCIAL MEDIA ASSISTANT
Social media aligns heavily with current affairs, therefore a Social Media Assistant needs to be super-efficient and on the pulse at all times. A brand’s social platform is also the poster child for their identity. You will be responsible for addressing social shifts – positive and negative – quickly while positioning the brand in the correct way and true to its audience. This style of writing equals small word counts, meaning you need to be confident in creating quick and, depending on the brand’s tone of voice, witty copy that echoes their identity in 50 words or less. Social media also goes hand-in-hand with technology, so knowledge of the latest social platforms and how to use them is imperative. While understanding social media metrics will most likely be learnt on the job, become aware of the following terms; volume, reach, engagement, influence and traffic – there’s no such thing as being over-prepared.
To put it simply, a product copywriter creates the product descriptions seen on e-commerce sites. Although this sounds simple, each brand will produce copy differently and to varying standards. For example, ASOS have snappy, bulleted details whereas a luxury retailer like MATCHESFASHION write short but well-researched blurbs that find the USP of each piece. This role is KPI driven, so if daily deadlines and often high-pressure situations aren’t for you, then maybe look for more slow-paced positions. In saying that, this will be a great entry-level role for new writers who are looking to find their feet wet in the deep end (or fingers, as it were).
SIZE AND FIT SPECIALIST
If you’re from a fashion design background but want to have a taste of copywriting, this could be the perfect first step. It’s hands-on with the product, so you will be working alongside the stylists and photographers on set, measuring, analysing and writing how each piece fits on the model. A Size & Fit Specialist also typically works closely with the Product Copy team which will make it easy to transition into that department should you want to gain more experience.
Depending on your lifestyle, being a freelance fashion copywriter can be a refreshing way to ease you into the fashion industry. If you’re not sure which avenue you want to commit to and want to try out a few different roles, this is a great option. It also allows flexibility if you have a side hustle. At the risk of sounding a little negative however, note that if you are freelance you won’t have as much financial security as being in a full-time position. A prime tip would be to ensure you have another contract sorted before finishing a current one, as that can be a stressful situation. Also – network, network, network.
A final note, all these roles will often involve knowledge of CMS, CRM and SEO. If you’re not too confident on terms like this, Google and YouTube are your best friends – you won’t be expected to be a specialist, but let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than being in a meeting and hearing acronyms that you have absolutely no idea about…trust me, I’ve been there, it wasn’t fun.
At the end of the day, gaining experience in any form of writing is another stepping stone to where you want to go and if you haven’t figured that out yet, that is also okay. Just enjoy the ride and fill that little black book of contacts up.
Words by Joanna Standley