Breaking into fashion
The fashion industry is a competitive environment, but with the right attitude and a good portfolio, it’s possible to make your mark. Three stylists shared their advice on how to break into fashion.
The universal advice for getting into fashion is that hard work will get you there. Once you make it, you can find yourself travelling around the world, launching your own designs, or working with your favourite brands.
We spoke to Mary, Sarah and Sara – all established in the fashion industry – and asked them for advice on making your first steps.
Build up your skills and experience
Experience is necessary to build these skills. Take it on your own initiative to work on projects. For example, look for photographers in need of stylists or clothing designers and volunteer at fashion events.
Through this you can make great contacts as well as building a portfolio. It will also show potential employers and future clients that you have a good work-ethic and resourcefulness.
"Perseverance and a strong attitude will pay off to get your dream job.”
Mary Holmes is a fashion stylist and fashion writer based in London. She works with many brands and writes a blog dedicated to her love of fashion. Mary points out that it’s important not to try hard to be someone you’re not. If you are yourself, from the way you dress to the way you carry yourself into the office or an interview, you will naturally ooze confidence at work.
“Fashion can be a tough industry to break into, as there is so much competition, but being yourself and working well with people really shines through. Interning and assisting stylists is a good starting point and perseverance and a strong attitude will pay off to get your dream job.”
Internships are one way to break into the industry. They are a great way to gain experience and meet people in the business; internships can often lead to further employment opportunities. It also gives you a chance to experience the industry hands-on and find out if it is the right environment for you.
Develop a style for your market
Sarah Morgan is a colour, style, and image consultant helping her clients to look good and feel confident. She knows that identifying with the market you are looking to work with can make all the difference, as does being comfortable with yourself.
“Understand your target market and go for it. I am 51 and most of my clients are over 40. I ‘get’ them, understand their needs and body issues, and that mature women often feel forgotten by fashion.”
Stay informed and make contacts
Sara Delaney is a wardrobe stylist and fashion blogger. She has worked from New York to London: hurtling around the stores on a personal shop with a client, powering through press days and checking out new designer collections.
“The most valuable piece of advice I could offer someone looking to getting into fashion styling is to always be informed. Keep current - know your trends and your brands and what's going on in the industry so that you can deliver an opinion on it no matter who you meet.
"Know your trends and your brands ... so you can always deliver an opinion."
A good starting point could be a fashion blog, documenting your style and achievements in a way that shows off your creativity. Another benefit of this is the relationships you can build with brands and other bloggers. Think of it as your online portfolio for your personal style.
"It also helps to always treat everyone you meet with respect... that PR intern, who just checked you in at the press day, could be the next editor of Vogue in a few years.”
Written by Sarah Gordon on behalf of Monsoon Accessorize, a women’s fashion brand. Find more about the careers available, including graduate programs and head office roles at Monsoon Accessorize careers.