10 Tips to Live by For Entering the Fashion World
Written by: Adrienne Hayden
The allure of the fashion world seems appealing to just about anyone. Who wouldn’t want to travel the world and go to fashion shows? I have learned that in order to make it in this industry, it is much more than the staged behind the scenes posts and parties you see on Instagram. It is staying up late and planning for months. Without the work, your audience will not see your vision for what it is.
Everyone in this industry has so much passion and talent but I think we all wonder how does one actually make it and ultimately what steps we have to take to get there.
I am entering a time in my life where every moment is crucial. I’m just one step closer to my future. The past three years have been a whirlwind to say the least. I packed my bags and flew across the country to start a new life in Los Angeles. I am not nearly where I would like to be but I have learned a lot in the short amount of time here. Read on to find out some tips from my experiences and advice that has helped me along the way.
Find out what your aesthetic is and how to sell yourself
As a creative you want your work to be recognized and stand out against your competition, especially with the impact of social media.. The number one thing you should ask yourself is, what is MY aesthetic? Everyone tells you that the key to make it is to stand apart from your competition but they don’t tell you how. While social media has become a great tool for exposure, it has hindered the creative process. People are pulling their inspiration from one another instead of original ideas. I have noticed from my peers that are successful that in order to get noticed, you have to have an obvious niche.. Find what you love and let that drive the way you market yourself. If you love something, use that as your tool for recognition. If you are unsure of your aesthetic, ask for an outside opinion. Lastly, don’t compare yourself to others.It’s powerful to be different.
The best advice comes from people who have made it
I have been fortunate to meet a lot of people in the industry who are doing well. Some of the best advice I have received was that there is no straight and narrow path. The best way to achieve your goals of moving up in the industry is to get your feet we. It is rare to find someone who ends up doing exactly what they said would and that is okay. A well-rounded resume looks the best because it shows you can wear the many hats that the fashion world requires. Another important piece to remember is that while some reach success overnight, most take five to ten years to get there.
It’s much more than parties and fashion shows
Sure, we have all dreamt of traveling the world and sitting front row at New York Fashion week. We’ve imagined being surrounded by works of art most of us only dream of wearing. Yet, what people don’t tell you is that there is much more than what meets the eye. The hard work that happens behind the scenes for this one moment takes an enormous amount of time and months of trial and error. Whatever you decide to do in the industry, whether it’s being in the limelight or working behind the scenes, everyone who is a part of the process matters.
Not every job will be your favorite
Having a job is better than not having one at all. Even if you’re the intern who stocks the shelves or steams clothes. Employers will almost always pick someone who is more current in the industry than someone who has been out of it. Even if you feel like you're stuck in a job that is unfulfilling, be patient and eventually a new opportunity will present itself. Chances are you will meet someone new when the time is right. While you are feeling stagnant look for a way to improve your skills so when the time does come, you will be ready. I have learned from my own experiences that it is best to have a day job and a side hustle. Starting out most of the jobs you will encounter will not be a steady flow of income, it always best to have something to fall back on.
Yes, not everyone is nice but..
The unfortunate truth is that not everyone in the industry is going to understand or like what you represent. However, don’t stoop down to their level of snootiness--there are still people who make it who are down to earth. You can’t take every critique personally and you can’t expect everyone to accept you right off the bat. Most of the time, these people are projecting the stress they are under or the bad behavior they were exposed to when they first started. Rise above it and continue to shine. As cliche as it sounds, “killing people with kindness” is the best antidote. You will go much farther in life if you keep that attitude and make a positive impression on people.
The more time you spend working in a field, the more natural it will be for the people around you to become apart of your inner circle. Working alongside friends in your industry is great for networking purposes and to grow with one another. Keeping in mind it is important to also have friends outside of fashion. At the end of the day your job or what you went to school for doesn’t define you. There are multiple facets that make up a person. Keep grounded by surrounding yourself with people who fit your other interests as well. Don’t let the fashion world consume you.
Creative Roadblocks are Real
Keep creating. Even when you fail it will eventually get better. This can apply to all aspects of this career path, the average person will probably fail a dozen times before they are able to move up. I have noticed that my greatest ideas or opportunities have happened by repetition more than luck. The more I conceptualize my thoughts or continue to look for jobs, the better it turns out in the end. Don’t rush the process. The people who don’t end up making it give up because they crumble when it comes to adversity. Nothing worth having is easy.
Don’t Be Afraid to Collaborate and Network
If you think the people who are successful in life made it on their own, you are sadly mistaken. No one can do it alone, collaboration is a must. Having people in your creative process and networking is integral. Friends are constant sounding boards for advice and ideas. The more people you work with and meet, the more exposure you gain. The people in your life are placed in your life for a reason, if you want to learn something or get to where they are, ask them for help!
How to get People to Actually Answer You..
Almost any naive person will tell you to reach out to someone and ask for an informational interview. The sad reality is not everyone answers those emails or calls. Most people are busy with deadlines and work. In order to get the attention of a prospective employer, put yourself out there-- go to an event that they are hosting or show up at the office if you can. People will remember a face and the impression you gave much more than an email. If this is not possible email some of your work directly to them, people admire this much more because it's straight to the point and shows initiative.
The Millennial Stereotype
Sadly it is true, people do have negative perceptions of people who are just starting out. As a millennial you have to work ten times harder to disprove the stereotype of being inexperienced yet entitled. People will take a chance on you if they see that you are hardworking and eager to learn. Don’t let these generalizations about being a young person discourage you. At the end of the day what matters is work ethic and drive.