When we envision our dream job, the path to success can seem long and exhausting. I’ve often found myself doubting whether my big dream is attainable when the end goal seems far off in the future.
Have you found yourself feeling the same?
Without a doubt, the fashion industry can be ruthless and cut-throat. But find solace in the fact that it also loves to reward those of us who take risks and dive head first into fear. In moments of doubt, it is worth remembering that, just like us, everyone started from the bottom. *Cue Drake*
But as the wise Steve Jobs once said ‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.’
To inspire us (you and me both) with the confidence to pursue our dream careers, here are 3 inspirational women in fashion to listen to and learn from.
The Intern-aholic: Katherine Ormerod, Freelance Consultant and Founder of WorkWorkWork.co
Katherine Ormerod has a seriously impressive CV. It is so enviable, in fact, that in her first year on the job hunt she struggled to gain assistant roles due to editors finding her too experienced for the job – despite never having had one before.
Initially planning to follow her degree in History with a law conversion, a weekend job at Harvey Nichols kicked off Katherine’s love affair with Phoebe Philo (Creative Director at Céline) and she ended up at the London College of Fashion completing an MA in Fashion History & Theory.
Before landing her first job as Style Writer at Matches, Katherine funded 2 years of interning in London by utilizing her student loan. Spending 9 months at InStyle, 1 year at the Sunday Times Style and 1 month at The Independent. Katherine believes that ‘tenacity is just as important as talent’.
After various editorial roles at large fashion publications such as Grazia, Glamour and Lyst, Katherine founded two successful companies of her own. Most recently being the online website workworkwork.co, a digital destination for working women to share the career challenges they face.
Top Tip: Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your heart on fire! The sacrifices of today are the successes of our tomorrows.
The path to success is not a linear line,
but rather a twisty road full of wrong left turns and recalculations,
making it hard to make the connections when looking forward.
The Trailblazer: Shiona Turini, Stylist + Fashion Editor
Having styled two of the world’s most famous sisters – that’s Beyonce and Solange, of course – Shiona Turini is a force to be reckoned with and with an exceptional career thus far, she shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Gaining her first internship by showing up to the press department at Yves Saint Laurent for 3 days a week until they hired her, Shiona proves that confidence, persistence and not taking ‘no’ for an answer is key to getting ahead in this industry.
Having held senior roles at W Magazine, Teen Vogue and CR Fashion Book, Shiona is adamant that her current freelance success has come from the 10 years she spent developing and nurturing genuine relationships within the industry.
Top Tip: Taking care of your professional reputation goes above and beyond doing a good job! Relationship building skills are key, so get comfortable with putting yourself out there.
The Game Changer: Elaine Welteroth, Editor at Teen Vogue
Despite the recent sad news in regards to Teen Vogue’s print magazine *RIP*, Elaine Welteroth – Conde Nast’s youngest ever editor-in-chief and second black women to hold a title – has been praised for giving Teen Vogue a new ‘woke’ tone for a more sophisticated and intellectual young reader.
Not afraid of hard work, Elaine began working as a waitress, managing to save $10,000 in anticipation of working an unpaid internship at Ebony magazine – during which she still continued to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.
In 2011, Elaine moved to a beauty writer and editor position at Glamour, working her way up the ladder at Conde Nast before becoming editor-in-chief for Teen Vogue. Elaine’s early success paves the way for future generations, showing that a can-do attitude and healthy life balance can still land you your dream job despite the age factor. (Happy belated Birthday Elaine – December 10th)
Top Tip: Elaine’s best advice for any budding fashion professional is, “Bite off more than you can chew, and chew as fast as you can”.
Despite their different paths to success, all 3 women are all united in proving that an unwavering belief and relentless pursuit for your passion will always lead to success – even if the path you end up on is wildly different from what you initially intended.
As Queen Bey said herself ‘I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it’. Go get it girl!
Words by Heather Ibberson