15 Things You Should Know Before Entering the Fashion Industry

October 12, 2010

Inspired by E. Jean's "25 Things Every Woman Should Know" in the recent issue of ELLE magazine, we've come up with our own little list of things you might want to know before kicking off a career in fashion.
15 Things You Should Know Before Entering the Fashion Industry

So you wanna work in fashion, huh? You're not alone. Here are 15 things to know before you put on your fiercest stilettos and stomp into the field:

1. Many people in the fashion industry have landed their positions through personal connections or their ability to network. Rather than hate, create your own network even if for the moment it just consists of talented, hard-working interns. The industry is small and it'll always serve you better to work hard and be respectful of others' accomplishments rather than hate on them.

2. Be courteous to everyone you interact with–that includes messengers, mail delivery personnel, and the baristas at your local Starbucks. You never know when you'll need them to help pull you out of a bind.

3. Your work experience, positive attitude, and ability to pick up on things quickly far outweigh your school ranking, degree and grade point average. We're not saying that college isn't important–it is (and it'll certainly help you get your foot in the door)–but in this particular industry, you don't necessarily need a degree in Fashion Merchandising or Journalism or Public Relations to do those jobs well. What you really need is passion.

4. Looks aren't everything, but they certainly help. Always make sure to put your best face (and heel) forward.

5. Fashion Week happens just twice a year (in February and September) and there are tons of other things that happen all year round to support those glizty showings, which are far less glamorous. If you really want to work in fashion, you must learn to embrace it all.

6. The fashion industry is big business. It is an industry that supports millions of workers around the world. Just because it involves pretty things including Burberry booties and Reed Krakoff handbags, doesn't mean that it deserves any less respect than other professional industries.

7. Always send thank you notes to everyone, for everything. It might seem unnecessary or like a lot of work, but kindness and consideration will always be remembered.

8. Try your hand at new things within the industry whenever you can, and learn from those around you. Throughout my career, I've worked professionally as a publicist, stylist, graphic designer, editorial writer, and beauty copywriter, simply because I always jumped on every opportunity that came my way.

9. Never commit to something you don't intend to finish. If you're going to miss a deadline, aren't able to pull in the shoes your boss is banking on, whathaveyou, please always inform your supervisor as soon as you know. It will save everyone time and frustration. Reliability is key.

10. You might receive a few awesome perks (free bags, jeans, make-up, hair cuts, etc.) along the way, but you should NEVER expect them. And if you do receive any goodies, remember #7 on this list.

11. The fashion industry would crumble without the help of un-paid interns. Know that everyone has paid his or her dues and that you have to as well. You might be asked to get coffee, serve as a messenger, and perform a host of other undesirable tasks, but in the end, he or she who does the best job–and with the best attitude–is going to be invited to join in on bigger and better projects.

12. Sometimes you'll just need to shut the fuck up, bury your feelings, put on a happy face, and vent to your girlfriends over a bottle of wine afterhours. No matter what happens, you always want to be the calm, cool, and collected one in the office or on set.

13. Don't let yourself get intimidated by others. You are a remarkable person and have the potential of bringing a whole new perspective to any situation. Always remember to believe in yourself.

14. Just as with most industries, there are thousands of different roles and positions within fashion. While everyone might dream of becoming the next Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, most would be better situated doing something else. Explore all that the industry has to offer and try to recognize where your talents will be best utilized and where you'll be happiest.

15. There will always be bad days, but there will also be good ones! Try to start each day with a positive attitude and don't let anything get in the way of your dreams. This is the fashion industry we're talking about and we're all lucky to be a part of something so beautiful and so powerful!

Are you currently working in the fashion industry? What advice would you give others?

Want to get into the industry? What are you looking to do? Why not start with an internship at StyledOn?

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