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How to Work In Fashion

Updated on July 19, 2013
My Newest Design
My Newest Design | Source

Three Steps to Style Stardom

You want a job in fashion - great! First, what you need to do is assess your talents and make a list. Why the list? Well, there are simply so many jobs in fashion, and there are also many kinds of designers. For example, not all designers are great drawers, but they can learn to illustrate just enough to be able to convey their ideas more clearly. Perhaps you are great at assembling collages, or can put together an outfit in an entirely unique and fresh way.

Your list could look like this:

-I’m great at spotting and starting trends.

-I know how to sew well.

-Im really good at fine art like painting and sculpture.

Your talents in sewing, for example, might steer you in the direction of working more hands-on in a workroom creating custom made clothing. For example, I was a decent enough sewer to get a job making costumes in NYC for huge Broadway shows like “Wicked” and “Legally Blonde”. It was thrilling. Not a good sewer? Not a problem! I had a talented student who loved to make “doodles”. Doodles they were not- they were beautiful drawings that were perfect to be developed into prints on textile. Even though she wanted to go into fashion design, her talents screamed textile and surface design to me! I think if she combined both trades, there would be nothing stopping her success.

Sew Fast! Sew Fab!
Sew Fast! Sew Fab! | Source
Delish Shoe design my local marvel, Tom Carbone!
Delish Shoe design my local marvel, Tom Carbone! | Source

Some more examples:

Fashion Stylist- Your talent: Putting at outfit together in an interesting & unique way- pantyhose as a top after you cut a slit at the toe part? No problem!

Milliner (Hat) designer- Your Talent: Sculpture and 3-d design; hats are soft-sculpture, incidentally!

Trend Forecasting – Your Talent: Making great collages from magazines –Fashion companies pay big bucks for trend services that put together boards that predict trends.

Step Two- get started! It’s not necessary for you to go a trade-specific school to get a job in fashion, but it does help. If you live in an isolated area that does not offer many jobs in fashion, perhaps you do a summer camp in New York or LA that can offer you some training in a concentrated period of time. And with a decent computer and internet connection, you can also take classes online! If you are going the more traditional route, I would suggest enrolling in a two or four year school to train in fashion design or a related major like fashion styling or textile and surface design. Some of the big schools that offer the best fashion educations in the U.S. are as follows:

-The Fashion Institute of Technology (*I’m a grad and I also taught there!)

-Parson’s/ The New School

- Pratt Institute

- Savannah College of Art and Design

That said, there are many local schools that might be closer to you that could offer a quality education and be much more economical. For example, I live in Michigan and have observed great education with local schools like International Academy of Design and Merchandising (IADT) and even Lawrence Technological University (LTU) is offering classes in fashion.

In my very personal opinion, if you can enter an accelerated program that teaches you the basics in a year, or, a two year associates degree program, it’s all you need. I did go four years and earn a Bachelor’s Degree, but honestly, once I entered the industry, all that went out the door. Which leads me to your next step…

Some young fashionphiles get started on their learnin' with my class, Trendy Tweens!
Some young fashionphiles get started on their learnin' with my class, Trendy Tweens! | Source

Step three- Get workin’, sista (or brotha, whatever)! Put your money where your mouth is. You want to have a job in fashion? Roll up those sleeves and show them that you are willing to invest in sweat equity. What does that mean? It means, you are trading your time and energy (maybe even a bit of your sanity) and offering your services as an intern or the like to learn from people in the field. That might mean putting in 5-20 hours a week at a big fashion company without pay or college credit. Again, if you don’t live in a big city, that might mean ringing up the trendiest boutique in town and seeing if they need some part-time help. Be creative- one of my biggest dreams is to be a store dresser at Anthropologie- I’ve even gone in and told them I’d help them for free (those windows and displays are crazy-cool)!

An internship can be many things. It might mean you are a gopher, running errands and answering phones. But that might also mean that chores like fetching swatches and trims will build your contact list in the sourcing field, and answering phones might put you in touch (and hopefully good graces) of all the important people that call- who will in turn learn your name. You can then use those learned things for when you start your business or work for someone else in a better position in the fashion industry. All experience is good experience.

Lastly, strive to be friendly with everybody, always keep humble, and learn something new everyday. It’s the best advice I could give any would-be fashionista in order to succeed. Good luck and see you out there!

That's me, Folks! (rockin my favorite turban). Now get out there and create!
That's me, Folks! (rockin my favorite turban). Now get out there and create! | Source


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    • profile image

      Nancy Laguerre 4 years ago

      eMy mane Is Nancy Laguerre, i love fashion a lot , and i sketch very well i woul love to be working in the fashion industry , it's a beautiful thing , to make someone feel fabulous , that's my dream to be come a fashion designer , im going to school for that if i can sketch why not to be come one . never to late im working on it.

    • pconoly profile image

      Pamela K Conoly 5 years ago from Fort Worth,Tx.

      Great article!


    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Fashion Designer to the Hubnuggets! These cool ideas have captured the attention of the Hubnuggets Team as well. This way to read and vote on the Hubnuggets Congratulations!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 6 years ago from Planet Earth

      I think almost every young girl has dreamed of being a fashion designer (or merchandiser or anything else related to fashion) at some point in her life. As someone who loves Project Runway, I'm guessing that dream continues for many years into adulthood.

      This is a very helpful and comprehensive list of ways you can work in fashion, and how to find schooling.

      Voted up, awesome, interesting and useful.

    • MildaDesigns profile image

      MildaDesigns 6 years ago from Michigan

      its all about the little "failures" that make us stronger and are truly learning experiences. In fact, I was working on a dress this week and it turned out a big, sloppy mess and didn't even fit! And I have 15 yrs experience. Don't let the speed bump deter you....Start with a pillowcase and eventually steer towards couture...there is nothing stopping you!

    • MildaDesigns profile image

      MildaDesigns 6 years ago from Michigan

      thank you for the kind words! Good luck on your journey...

    • Ciel Clark profile image

      Ciel Clark 6 years ago from USA

      I once tried to make a pair of shorts following a pattern--disaster! This hub makes me want to try again,(twenty-five years later), but this time make my own design.

    • smiileyfacexo profile image

      smiileyfacexo 6 years ago from New Zealand

      I really enjoyed this article. Your photo reminded me of my Fashion Design teacher who inspired me. I am now your follower =)

    • oliviaharrisbrown profile image

      oliviaharrisbrown 6 years ago

      Welcome Hubber! I enjoyed the article.

    • LoriSoard profile image

      LoriSoard 6 years ago from Henryville, Indiana

      Awesome hub. Love your thoughts on style.

    • alphagirl profile image

      alphagirl 6 years ago from USA

      Great hub! I also wanted to mention you could be a pattern designer. My neice has worked for Zak Posen. welcome to hub pages!

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Very fun and well put together. Congrats on the Hub of the Day! Voting up.

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      I agree, excellent hub. Welcome to HubPages and hey, congrats on getting Hub of the Day. Excellent. You're a very good writer and presented your images very nicely. What a bonus day for you! Thank you.

    • mandymoreno81 profile image

      mandymoreno81 6 years ago

      I think for fashion you really have to have an eye for design and spotting trends. I think being unorthodox is good too to show that you're not afraid to work with new materials or styles.

    • Island Tropical profile image

      Island Tropical 6 years ago

      great hub, thanks

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 6 years ago from USA

      Excellent hub. My youngest daughter is a fashion stylist. She just woke up one day and decided that was what she wanted to do. In the beginning, she did some stuff for free (like you mentioned) to set up her portfolio and now she works with celebrities for photo shoots and special events. She did as you mentioned and just went for it! I would have been too scared to put myself out there like that, but she did it. So, your advice is right on and much inspiration for people who are looking to get into the fashion industry.

    • Energy Reporter profile image

      Energy Reporter 6 years ago from London UK

      I'm not so up in fashion, but a very nice Hub....

    • affiliateinfobiz profile image

      affiliateinfobiz 6 years ago

      great article. I love fashion

    • MildaDesigns profile image

      MildaDesigns 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you, Richard! Great tips on the photography bit- I always work with other photographers, make-up artists and models to exchange services. Thought it "costs"us time, the benefits of working together to pull together mutual professional services is always more than worth the effort!

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 6 years ago from Europe

      Thanks for sharing with us!

    • livewithrichard profile image

      Richard Bivins 6 years ago from Charleston, SC

      Awesome job on this hub of the day!!! This caught my eye because I have recently taken my hobby of photography to the next level. I have a friend that is trying to launch her own line of Jeans and I have been building a portfolio for her. She finds me the models, I shoot and edit and everything is done Time for Prints. I benefit too by building a portfolio and in other ways. Two of the models have introduced me to a local t-shirt graphic designer and things are taking off. I never imagined that I would be working in the fashion industry but then again, I never really tried. I think your best advice to anyone is to just get out there and do it, it will never happen unless you put your foot forward.

      Oh yea, welcome to HP and congrats on this honor or Hub of the day!!!

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 6 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Powerful! I love the way you point out talent is not always what we are socialized or media(ized) into thinking where it lay. I would take one of your classes just for the experience of learning about teaching and learning! Hmmmm, maybe I can talk my niece into doing it for me - smile!

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 6 years ago from Maine

      Excellent first hub and about what I love too. Fashion has numerous diversities and you are right, you have to find out where your niche is in this fabulous industry. You're a very talented young lady! I wish you the best and welcome to hubpages!

    • ALUR profile image

      ALUR 6 years ago from USA

      Great tips. I'm a fashion diva and can help others but never really charged for this service. I think the economy could not sustain this venture(not that writing is sustaining much:)

      But you got me when it comes to sewing: I think I'll buy, wear and do the catwalk in public for now


    • Lorne Hemmerling profile image

      Lorne Hemmerling 6 years ago from Oshawa

      Very nice job on this! Welcome. Following you now.

    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      Hub of the day, on your very first hub. Very impressive, to say the least. Milda, you may have just paved your way on possibly becoming the next big fashion or design blogger. Down to earth and honest advice is as good as gold. Hopefully everyone and anyone aspiring to work in fashion stumble upon this post. Nicely done!


    • gogo383 profile image

      gogo383 6 years ago

      Very nice article for start. Welcome!

    • emimemo profile image

      emimemo 6 years ago from USA

      Great advice. I like the big shoe.

    • profile image

      MP50 6 years ago

      Welcome to HubPages MD, interesting fashion guide. Voted up, happy hubbing 2012.

    • MildaDesigns profile image

      MildaDesigns 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for your input, Simone. I really not try to be negative or dissuede anyone, but I think its important to go into it with eyes wide open.... Cheers!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      What a great guide to getting started! There was a time when I really wanted to work in the fashion industry, but then I realized I don't have any particular skills that would enable me to thrive in the super competitive industry, so I am contentedly watching from the sidelines.

      But for this reason, I'm REALLY glad you've included that advice about doing an inventory of one's skills early on. Too many people enter industries without assessing their potential industry-specific aptitude.

      Thanks for the great advice, and welcome to HubPages!

    • profile image

      ChristineZ 6 years ago

      Great article and although very honest about the amount of work it takes to succeed, the author is very encouraging. Excellent tips!

    • MildaDesigns profile image

      MildaDesigns 6 years ago from Michigan

      you are partial as my BFF! ;-) But I appreciate the support!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Welcome to HubPages. Nice article

    • profile image

      stacey cuttler 6 years ago

      I loved reading this article and I think Milda Bublys is a creative genious!