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A guide to making it in fashion

Illustration by Twylamae

As told by a real-life expert*

I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but April is officially over.

That means we’re at that point in the year where the Easter break has ended and people have gone back to their real jobs, while you’re left sitting in a pile of Cadbury Creme Egg wrappers.

Sure, many of us take the new year as an excuse to get out of the job we hate to pursue a career we love. Except that second part hasn’t gone exactly to plan… yet.

There’s no time like the present to get cracking on the new you, so here are a few key strategies that will help you on your way to success, as told by me, a real expert*

*writer’s own opinion.

I’m no Anna Wintour, but I’m fairly certain she used a few of these strategies to achieve ultimate success*

*writer’s own opinion, again.

So, pull up a chair and take note of my wisdom, it might just get you where you need to be someday.

Yes, majority of you will need an education

We’ve all heard the story of how Bill Gates dropped out of uni and became a billionaire. But there are a few key flaws to that story.

  • He didn’t drop out of any old course, he dropped out of Harvard University.
  • He also takes online courses ‘for fun’ and reads 50 books a year.

In 2007, Gates returned to Harvard to accept an honorary degree. SO HE GOT ONE ANYWAY.

The point is, most of you won’t get a second look without a degree on your resume.

Thankfully, the better education institutions are now offering a range of fashion courses, because fashion is a trillion-dollar industry that isn’t going anywhere.

And you don’t just have to study design anymore, because the industry isn’t just full of fashion designers. It also needs producers, stylists, buyers, marketers, visual merchandisers and an endless list of other roles.

Your best bet is studying a degree that covers a range of subjects, like a Bachelor of Fashion Business, so you can figure out what you like and keep your options open.

It’s also great to have knowledge across a range of disciplines, because a job in fashion is more like having three jobs. You’ll be required to know everything.

Therefore, enrol in a course like the above that offers units like styling, buying, merchandising, marketing and more all in one.

You will need to undertake work experience/an internship

Working…for free?

I know, it sounds awful. But really, it’s the best way to get ahead in your career field and start making important contacts in the industry.

There are often two types of people in this world; those that do internships throughout their degree, and those that don’t. The former are usually the ones who get jobs straight outta uni.

To be fair, some institutions are a lot better at placing students in work than others.

Take The Masters for example, which runs its own in-house recruitment service, T.M. Agency. The institute works directly with industry to place students in upcoming roles, including paid ones. These aren’t your standard ‘go to work with Dad for a day’ roles. But assisting in runways, fashion pop-ups and more.

Network, network, network

Use your work placements to make contacts in the industry, because as the old adage goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Ask for a recommendation letter at the completion of your internship, and if your superior will be a reference on your resume.

What’s more, respond to everything with enthusiasm, because you’ll be remembered for it. Pack 1000 gift bags? Sure! Steam every item of clothing on set? Yep! Tape a million pairs of shoes? You betcha.

Promote yourself like a fashion blogger

These days, your Instagram handle is just as important as your resume. Use it as a tool to market your brand and show your prospective employer what you can do.

This is especially important for the creative industries, where evidence of your work is everything.

Furthermore, always submit a portfolio or examples of your work when you apply for a position. If you don’t have a portfolio, get one. ASAP.

And finally, prepare for long nights

OK, so this is less of a strategy, more of a life lesson. But if you’re going to enter the *crazy* world of fashion you better know the cold hard truth.

While yes, working in fashion is fun, it’s not all champagne and flying to Paris like The Devil Wears Prada would have you believe.

In reality, it’s very long nights, hectic work hours, and (maybe) some blood, sweat and tears.

But as hard as it is, I’d still take a career in fashion over Cadbury Creme Eggs any day *sips champagne*.

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