Don’t Give Up: How to Get Ahead in the Fashion Industry

It is a well known fact that the fashion industry is notoriously hard to crack. Your economics-studies friends have jobs secured thanks to a well-paid stint at Barclays, and your pals with marketing dreams have a myriad of options on Milkround. But for those who would rather swap salary for Slimane, then getting a lucky break is only the start of the challenge.

Unpaid internships, a supply and demand imbalance, and competing against Central Saint Martins graduates are all mixed into this fearful equation. But it is possible. Three Nottingham University graduates share their hints and tips at getting noticed in the fashion world and attaining those highly sought after golden nuggets of employment.

Politics graduate James now finds himself working at FINLAY & CO – an independent sunglasses brand. Having turned his internship into a paid role we wanted to know the secret of his success. Is he secretly harbouring the bulging address book of connections that we all covet?

“Absolutely not”, he says. “Connections are extremely helpful in getting your foot in the door but are not essential. If you can prove that you are willing to work hard, roll your sleeves up and get on with things then you will be successful. Be prepared to work unpaid at the start – listen, learn and embrace any opportunity that you are given. Make yourself indispensable and prove your worth, and you will feel the rewards”.

Hard work, persistence and drive can get you through.

This was certainly the case for History graduate and former Fashion Soc president Daisy, who is set for a career in the competitive business of fashion PR. “Do as much as you can at Uni to make sure you stand out. I found being part of the Fashion Society helped me a lot because you have a lot to talk about in an interview and the experience itself is such a learning curve,” Daisy told IMPACT STYLE.

And does the degree subject matter?  “I don’t think it matters too much if you don’t have a related degree. I did a short course in fashion PR at the Fashion Retail Academy which helped me grasp what PR involved and also showed employers how committed I was”.

But you don’t need to always rely upon that elusive lucky break to make it in fashion. Kayleigh forged her own way into the fashion blogosphere with her successful blog One In A Million. “I needed a fun hobby that could distract me from my student work, so I started my blog and just went from there”.

“Be persistent and be creative! It may seem like a hard task but there is space in the industry. Find out what sector you like most and focus on working towards that”.

Point proven. You don’t need to be Karl Lagerfeld’s goddaughter, Caroline Rush’s brother, or armed with a degree from an arty college to find your way into the fashion world. These three have proven that hard work, persistence and drive can get you through.


Emma Willey

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