Getting a Job in Fashion: An Insider’s Scoop

Wireless recently caught up with Laura Faint and Rachel Arthur, both recent university graduates working in the fashion industry. 

"Let’s not beat around the bush here, the fashion industry is tough with a capital T. Dog eat dog, work hard play hard. Cringe, we know."

This, mixed in with the big bad credit crunch, means jobs in fashion are hard to come by. But don’t for a second think it’s a lost cause. Hell- we managed it. And with a few of our helpful tips, we’re sure you will, too...

So, what’s our experience? We both studied fashion related degrees at university and have been lucky enough to score our dream jobs with cool up-and-coming fashion company Mallzee (Apple App) not long after graduating. We were lucky enough to land crazily fun marketing jobs with Mallzee where we can let our often overactive imaginations run riot. Now, we don’t want to give a false perception here; while there was a hefty dose of luck involved, a lot of hard work and determination went into getting where we are today. If you truly think a job within fashion could be your calling then read on for some snappy insights into what we did to make it.

Intern throughout your final year

"What do you mean??? I have my dissertation and a billion other things to be doing!" Don’t worry, we hear ya. But believe us when we say this is a perfect opportunity to get some experience and possibly line something up for when you graduate. This is what we did. We knew our final year would be hectic but we also knew we couldn't afford to miss any opportunity. OK so our social lives suffered a little but it was worth it in the end. (If you’re not up for giving up the fun, give up sleep.)

Look into fashion start-ups

We get it, it’s tempting to brass neck it and go straight to the Vogue’s and Elle’s of the world when it comes to applying for jobs and internships but bear in mind that these companies get hundreds of applications each day. There’s a great start up culture in the UK just now and they’ll often welcome interns with open arms. The benefits of working in start-ups are huge. At the very least, you’ll often get a real insight into the ins and outs of the company and you’ll probably be working closely with the CEO so it’s a fantastic opportunity to pick their brain and, if you’re lucky, there could be a job in it for you at the end.

We can’t stress how glad we are to be working in a start-up. The ‘team’ element is like nothing we’ve had in any job before and the amount that we’ve learnt since being here has been incredible.

Get a shed-load of experience

We’re sure you’re going to be so sick of hearing this but get as much experience as humanly possible. Employers will be keen to see that you’re actively gaining practical experience to compliment your degree. Also, remember when writing your CV to tailor the experience you have at each job. Spent a summer working in your local supermarket? Trust us, there are ways to make it totally relevant.

Every little helps

Don’t be picky when it comes to getting experience. It doesn’t just need to be months long internships at major fashion houses that make you stand out. Taking part in one-off events make a difference too. Don’t turn your nose up at the thought of interning at a small company, or a company that’s not fashion-related. The skills you’ll learn can often be applied to any work and a potential employer will appreciate your dedication.

Get out there!

The age-old saying remains true, it’s often not WHAT you know but WHO. The fashion industry is all about contacts and you’d be so surprised at how connected everyone is. Having good connections is key and the best way to make those all-important contacts is to get yourself out there and meet people. This ‘through the grapevine’ culture in fashion has huge benefits if you’re a hard worker, as you’ll often find that companies will be keen to recommend you to their contacts, but it also has it’s downfalls - remember, people talk so no badmouthing!

Start a fashion blog

A fashion blog will really make you stand out and will show that you’re passionate. It’s also great as it let’s potential employers see your writing style, like an online portfolio. Being a blogger opens up a lot of doors and, once you’ve built it up, you’ll often find yourself getting invited to fashion events and launches (a perfect contact-making opportunity, natch!).

Follow our handy tips and you’ll hopefully be well on your way to a fab fashion placement. That said, by far the best piece of advice we can offer anyone is this: if you honestly, in your heart of hearts, want it, DO NOT GIVE UP. Companies will say no. You will be rejected. Someone else will be better. It happens; in fact, it happened to both of us. Accept it, learn from it and make yourself better. 

We love our jobs at Mallzee (http://bit.ly/MallzeeApp) which is a new personal shopping app with a twist. The app, described as a ‘personal shopper in your pocket’, learns your personal style, showing you items that suit your taste from over 200 top retailers. Want a friends opinion before you buy? The app let’s you chat with friends and ask for votes on items before you make that all-important outfit choice.