Many people often ask me how I got my first job in the fashion industry?
Apart from getting a professional qualification at a fashion school and an internship at a fashion company, here are my five tips for finding a place in the fashion industry and surviving in it.
Hobby or career?
The first important question you need to ask yourself is: how serious do you want to work in the fashion industry? Do you see yourself as a fan, a fashionista or dedicating your whole life to your fashion career? Your goals and intentions will determine your path.
The fashion industry, with its fast-paced atmosphere and no time to relax, is very competitive. It’s not always glamorous. I have seen too many people leave because the reality is different than what they dreamed of.
For those inspired by ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, I’m 99 percent sure you’ll be disappointed. If you don’t meet with clients every day, comfortable sweaters and sweatpants are standard in the office. Even at major trade events, fashion insiders are rarely seen under the lights – it’s all strictly behind the scenes.
So don’t expect a lot of flashy events. He spends most of his time off from constant deadlines getting as much rest as possible. If you like Instagrammable event photos and wear trendy fashion items, I would suggest you to choose a career in tech and finance.
Don’t pay on sight
Visuals speak louder than words. Don’t just say I like fashion. Show it!
Initiate your own project to show your passion for it – and keep it going. Whether you’re in design, styling or another field, choose the right social media platforms to showcase your work professionally – and with personality. Tell your story and concept to the audience.
For professional exposure, submit your piece—such as a fashion shoot—to an online magazine. Wedding Sparrow and Magnolia & Rouge are reputable online platforms that we want to be named by in my wedding field.
The impact of social media has been huge. When I started my fashion career 10 years ago, Instagram and LinkedIn lines had not yet fully blossomed. Today, they are an essential tool for tracking direct contacts. It’s so easy to DM someone you admire as an artist or mentor – especially in Denmark.
I met a lot of talented artists through Instagram and this allowed me to offer a lot of different photoshoots that I prepared for a wide range of potential collaborators.
In Denmark, it is common to arrange a coffee meeting with someone in the industry, either through referrals, community networking or direct access via Instagram or Linkedin. You may have the opportunity to visit their workplace and chat with their colleagues as well.
I met my current production assistant through the Facebook community and quickly arranged for her to visit my studio after an online meeting. After all, geographical complications no longer bother you if you want to meet someone.
Know the ecosystem
When we’re drawn to a mannequin dressed in flattering clothes in a shop window, or a model in an ad or catwalk, it’s all part of a much bigger picture that spans so many different industries. So what departments are involved in the ecosystem? And which area appeals to you the most?
Although I have always been a fashion designer at heart, my role has never been limited to just designing. I have explored many different fields – especially those that have strong ties to my own expertise.
For example, production, sampling and styling are closely related, so it was invaluable to have a good understanding of what was involved. This will help you communicate better, minimize conflicts between departments and facilitate workflow.
After all, I interact with them every day; it is essential for good teamwork. Learn their “language” and consider their perspective. Meanwhile, the versatile skills you acquire will come in handy when you encounter challenges.
Go where they go!
If you want to be a designer, you can’t just look for seasonal trends. To be a trendsetter, you have to go where they look for inspiration. Knowing how to stay one step ahead brings you closer to being in the circle.
Visit museums, galleries, fabric fairs and dedicated exhibitions. Top tip: travel to Premiere Vision in Paris to see what fabrics top international designers have in their collections six months ahead.
And plan to visit CIFF and Revolver during Copenhagen Fashion Week. These are shopping fairs where you learn how the wholesale market works.
Check to see if your favorite fashion brands are running any in-store events. In addition to salespeople, you will be able to meet the PR manager, designers or even the CEO.