Learn everything you can about the industry.
Read everything you can get your hands on. Fashion publications like Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar are great for learning about current styles, how fashion has evolved, and how fashion is used to voice opinions about politics, social issues, religion, etc. In addition to reading publications about fashion itself, you should also learn as much as you can about the business of fashion. Websites like Business of Fashion, WGSN, and WWD can teach you about what goes into creating a fashion brand, predicting trends, and how fashion companies operate, which is important info if you’re serious about becoming a part of this industry. Keep up to date on fashion news and know what types of products are in stores.
Set some goals.
What type of fashion career interests you? Whether it’s fashion journalism, fashion design, fashion marketing, or fashion merchandising, it’s helpful to know early on what direction you’d like your career to take. That way, you can focus your research efforts and be well-informed about the steps you’ll need to take to get your first job.
Start a fashion blog.
Starting a fashion blog can help your fashion career in a couple of ways: first, it will help you hone your writing and/or photography skills so you’re even more prepared for a career in fashion. Second, it’s something to show your future employers. If you’re applying for an internship in fashion journalism, for example, your interviewer might ask to see a writing sample. It would be great to have something fashion-related (and published!) to show them instead of an essay on Romeo and Juliet from your eleventh-grade English class. Sometimes personal blog-writing can even lead to freelancing opportunities for fashion publications, so work hard to pump out lots of content and get noticed! Be mindful, though, that you’ll need to find a niche; writing “about fashion” won’t set you apart from other blogs. Base your blog around a smaller component of fashion that interests you, like capsule wardrobes or eco-friendly textiles. Create a social media profile to coincide with your blog and post regularly, linking to your blog posts and posting other relevant social media content.
Get your name out there.
Writing a blog or starting a fashion instagram can help with this, but it’s also never too early to create a LinkedIn profile and start sharing your interests with the business world. This can lead to valuable connections and even job offers. Make sure your family and friends know that you’re pursuing a career in fashion so if they hear of any opportunities that would fit your interest they can let you know.
Pad your resumé.
Get any job in fashion that you can, even if you start out by working retail at Old Navy. You’ll gain customer service skills, get a sense of what products sell, and learn the ins and outs of a retail store. You can also consider taking classes in clothing construction, business marketing, or fashion design at your local community college or through your community’s parks and rec department. Doing everything you can to gain skills and pad your resume is going to help you in the long run, even if it seems insignificant at the time.
Identify some companies you’d like to work for.
Come up with a list of fashion companies that impress you. These could include fashion publications, corporate headquarters for a retail store, designers, or branding companies. Next, learn everything you can about each company, including when and by whom they were founded, who the lead designers are, what the companys’ goals are, what changes the companies have made in recent years, etc. If a company offers internships, consider applying for one! If not, it’s not a bad idea to email a company and ask to meet with someone whose job title interests you. Depending on your availability and their availability, you could either ask for an informational interview (phone or in-person) to learn more about the company or ask to shadow someone for a day.
Get a college degree.
Almost all jobs in the fashion industry require at least a bachelor’s degree, and some require a master’s. Depending on the type of career you’re planning on, you might get a college degree in marketing, studio art, statistics, PR, English, or journalism. Look at the qualifications for jobs you’re interested in and plan your major (and, if necessary, master’s program) accordingly.