The fashion industry can often seem like a daunting one to break in to, and it’s understandable why: often you visualise that the people you’ll be working with to be extremely well-dressed, completely self-centered and incredibly pretentious. Whilst that may be true some of the time, you’ll often come into contact with people that are somewhat human!
Saying that you work within the “fashion industry” is incredibly vague due to how many elements there are that make it up, which means that often it is also hard to find a way in. Before landing your first job, you’ll be asked hundreds of times if you have experience, and if you don’t it can be very embarrassing!
The thing is, getting work experience in fashion isn’t actually as difficult as you may think! Thanks to there being so many different sectors within the business, there are also so many people who are willing to help you out. Here are my top tips on how to get work experience when working in fashion.
When looking to gain experience, it is best to be prepared and start planning months in advance. Quickly whipping up an email to Vogue and hoping that they have room for you to come in and observe next week isn’t going to work. From experience, magazines such as Elle expect you to apply a couple of months prior in order for them to interview you to see if you’d be a good fit. Interns are expected to help out whilst on work experience, so if they don’t think that you can hack the long shift days and ever-changing pace of the company then they won’t hire you!
In order to ensure that you get the placement that you want, start mapping out your months. If you know that there is a small window in which you can undergo a work placement, plan accordingly and start emailing places where you would potentially want to work. The longer you give yourself, the better you can make your CV and email, as well as allowing yourself more time to find the best work experience placement for you.
You might think that you know what you want to do in fashion, and whilst that is good you need to be open for options! Working for a PR agency can often lead to helping out with model scouting, so recognise that you’ll probably need to be flexible in what you do. The industry is evolving constantly, even on a daily basis – especially on work placements. You may leave one night being told that tomorrow you’ll have to plan interview questions for someone to go in the next day and liaise with designer’s PR’s to borrow clothes for a client. It’s unpredictable and will keep you on your toes, so the more you can show your potential employees, the better!
You’re going to get rejected at least once (but if you don’t then tell me your skills)! It’s natural to experience being let down, but remember that things don’t always run smoothly or how you expect. Instead, take it in your stride and flag up areas in your application that might not be as strong as you first expected. This way, you can improve and make your application stronger and stronger!
Don’t Take Things to Heart
People can be mean and it’s something that you’re going to experience. If you think someone is being horrible to you, they probably are! If you run into people along the way who you don’t get on with, just ignore them and keep doing you. When you’re in a superficial business such as the fashion industry, there is often a lot of competitiveness, even when you’re not up for playing their games. Just remember that one day you’ll no longer be the intern!
Regardless of what sector you’re in, you’ll have heard the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” – and it’s 100% true. If you’re looking to land your dream placement, ask everyone if they know anybody who could help. More often than not, you’ll find someone who can help in the most unconventional places.