How to Make it in the Fashion Industry


Making it big in the fashion industry takes more than luck. The easiest path to a successful career in the fashion industry, like any other industry, involves education and hard work. Even if you have inherent fashion talent, education and experience in the fashion industry can help you establish your brand and build your client base. The more effort you put into your fashion career, the more you will derive.

Enroll in a fashion design program at one of the nation's top fashion schools. New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons The New School for Design offer world-renowned degree programs in areas such as fashion technology, women's wear, accessories design and jewelry design. Choose a program that fits with your specific fashion interests and complete courses toward earning an associate’s degree or bachelor's degree.

Gain hands-on experience in the fashion industry working as an intern. Top retailers and fashion designers often employ interns to help with basic tasks, like answering phones or organizing merchandise. What you do as an intern is less important than where you intern. Even answering phones or serving as a personal assistant to a fashion designer will expose you to the industry and give you experience in the field.

Move to a fashion hub to maximize your chances of making it in the industry. In the U.S., New York City is the hub of fashion, while Los Angeles has its share of designers as well. If you're willing to move internationally, Paris and Milan are renowned for their fashion. Set up shop in your new area, even if you're working out of your studio apartment at first.

Build your portfolio. Before you can land a top job in the fashion industry, you have to prove your talent. Create a fashion line that features your signature style. For example, if you aspire to be a menswear designer, focus on creating well-tailored pants, blazers and shirts. If you don't have the resources to create a fashion line, sketch out your signature looks and take these sketches with you to interviews.

Interview for fashion jobs. Cite your fashion background in the interview, and use industry-specific terms to showcase your knowledge. Bring photos or sketches of your designs so interviewers can evaluate your talent and see if it fits with their brand.

Sell your designs. Not all fashion designers have to work for an already-established fashion house to be successful. Create a website and sell your designs on your own. Talk to privately-owned boutiques in your area about placing your products in the store. Hold a fashion show for the community to establish your brand and start selling your designs.

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