16/06/2016
What like it's hard?

Words by

Eliza Sholly

We know firsthand it’s pretty hard to get your foot into the door of the fashion industry, so we love helping you out where we can. We've launched FJ Careers, a new destination where you can browse job and internship opportunities in the Australian fashion industry and help grow your career.

So you’ve sent off your resumé and have received the call. The call that is beautiful, encouraging and will potentially save you from bankruptcy – the call to come in for an interview. 

While the thought of a job interview may be enough to send some into a sweaty panic, it’s best to think of it as an opportunity. A job interview allows you to show you’re more than just a name on a piece of paper. It’s also the best way to distinguish yourself from other potential candidates. Especially when it’s an interview for a fashion-based job. 

While looking groomed and being punctual should be expected of any job interview, preparing for a fashion-based interview is a whole different ball game. As someone with a 100 per cent interview to employment rate (should I put that on my resumé?), I felt it was merely my duty to share the following pearls of wisdom with the world: 

Dress for success 

While it’s only natural to want to communicate some super fashionable version of yourself, a good interviewer will be able to tell if you’re bluffing your style. Your outfit should be neat, while still reflecting an element of your personal style. 

If you’re interviewing for a specific designer or brand, it also doesn’t hurt to reflect their aesthetic in your outfit. This doesn’t mean decking yourself out head to toe in their label, but it is nice to pay ode to what the brand is all about. 

Do your homework

Trust me when I say, you will encounter no greater embarrassment in life than when you can’t answer a question about the company in a job interview. And it’s not hard to avoid. Familiarising yourself with the ‘About Us’ section of their website will usually suffice, but if you’re really looking to impress, it’s worth memorising a few additional specifics to subtly drop mid-interview like it’s nbd. Where the company sources their textiles, for example, is a good one, or causally rattling off their number of social media followers. This will show the interviewer you’ve done your research, proving that you value the company and what they stand for. 

Do not quote a designer 

Maybe this is just a personal pet peeve, but the biggest cliché in a fashion interview is to quote a designer. For example, say you’re asked: “What do you consider to be the biggest difference between fashion and style?” 

If your response is: “well, as Yves Saint Laurent said: ‘Fashions fade, style is eternal’” sorry, but see ya. Anyone can rehearse the thoughts of an icon, but this is your time to shine. What do YOU think and what do YOU feel.  Unique opinions will go further than recycled ones. 

Rehearse 

The majority of job interviews you’ll encounter across a lifetime will feature the same basic questions. In a fashion-based position, however, the questions are often a little more specific. Lucky for you, I have endured many a fashion interview during which the same fash-based questions are asked. Rehearse some answers to these questions to ensure you reply like a pro. 

  • Define “Fashion”
  • What made you decide to pursue a career in fashion?
  • How would you describe your personal style?
  • Who is your favourite designer? 
  • What has been your favourite trend of this year?

Be yourself

While this expression may be ridiculously overused, the idea of ‘being yourself’ is vital in a job interview. It is crucial to be honest about who you are and what you want from a potential job, as this will create a much better match between you and your employer. A face-to-face interview is an opportunity to sell yourself, so ooze confidence, without appearing like you know it all. There is nothing worse than someone who thinks that knowing their Langs from your Wangs will get them through the door in fashion.    

Be realistic

While yes, a job in fashion is pretty awesome, it definitely isn’t as glam as one might think. If you want to work in this industry, you have to be realistic about what it takes to survive. Set your expectations to match your experience, because it’s true what they say: you’ve got to start somewhere. 

Illustration by Twylamae who also made this boss Elaine Benes tee.

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