First things first: do your research.
If you’ve decided that you want to pursue a career in the fashion industry, you need to figure out which route you’re going to take. A quick Google search will only get you so far; consider purchasing fashion books and memoirs that will give you an insight into the industry. The Teen Vogue Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to Careers in Fashion is, as the name would suggest, tremendously useful. One of the risks of pursuing a career in the fashion industry is not knowing exactly what you want. Although you may want to pursue merchandising, you may find that you’re more into journalism or design.
On a more technical level, Teri Agins’ The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed The Clothing Business Forever is a must read. The fashion industry has drastically changed over the past decade, particularly with the introduction of new technologies. Fashion is a constantly moving force and you need to understand all aspects to keep up with the latest advances.
Also, take a look at Alex Newman and Zakee Shariff’s Fashion A-Z. You may not want to be a seamstress, but knowing what an asymmetric hem, drop waist, and boat necks are will be expected in all areas of the industry—you’ll need to know your fashion jargon.
You can also show creative interest by getting involved at your school or university. One way to get started is to contribute to the school newspaper, preferably with a fashion column. This shows dedication, which an employer will appreciate from a younger candidate who hasn’t had many opportunities to boost their CV. You can also create a fashion blog or apply to write for established online publications to gain further experience. Any experience in the fashion industry shows commitment and will help you develop important transferable skills. Even if you don’t want to work on the shop floor full-time, a part-time job in retail will give you important sales knowledge, client relations training, and show that you are reliable and can communicate well with others.
Fashion is a competitive industry, but don’t let that dishearten you. There is an incredible range of jobs working in all sectors and stages of development and even in all areas of the world. You need to be focused, dedicated, and hardworking, but don’t forget to show that you are extremely passionate about fashion. Many people have qualifications and work experience to their name, but it will be your drive, your energy, and your creative flair that will really help you stand apart from the crowd.