6 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started Working in Fashion
I have always loved fashion and was one of those kids who spent weekends tearing out pages from Vogue, but I didn’t have the most traditional path to a career in fashion. I started out as a pre-med college student—both of my parents work in medicine, and I always imagined I would too. But after one semester dreading chemistry and biology classes, I made a swift change and began studying art history and business instead. Still unsure about my career path, I interned—everywhere. I was lucky enough to attend school at USC in L.A. and so had access to opportunities across the board: film development at Warner Brothers, art with Christie’s Auction House and a local museum, talent management at a photography agency. I learned incredible things from each experience, but it wasn’t until I spent a summer in Paris that I figured out what I wanted to do.
Living in Paris, as cliché as it might sound, is what truly inspired me to work in fashion. I’m not sure if it was the buzz of watching fashion week unfold on Avenue Montaigne, the cool style of the French, or just having time to soul search a little bit, but I left Paris determined to work in fashion. And when I returned to L.A., I landed an internship with Rodarte that later turned into job. It was there that I learned how a fashion brand operates and all of the pieces that make it work—from runway shows to collaborations to social media. Inspired by the editorial projects I was managing, I decided to pick up and move to NYC to pursue a path as an editor. I joined Allure as the assistant to the editor in chief and learned all about the publishing world, working on my own print and digital pieces focused on beauty and fashion. Then, I landed my dream job back in L.A. working as an associate editor for Who What Wear.
It’s been quite a path, and the best part is everything I’ve learned along the way, but there are some things I wish I had known from the beginning. If you’re considering a job in fashion, here are some notes that might help you along the way.
The best way to learn if a career is for you is to intern for someone who has the job you want. Apply for internships that are advertised, but also reach out to people who inspire you. Even if they can’t offer you an internship, they may be willing to meet for an informational interview to share their insight.
Remember the Power of Connections
Even in the digital fashion world, it’s an industry built on networking. Never underestimate the power of personal connections, and put time into maintaining them.
Allow Yourself the Freedom to Change
The fashion industry is constantly evolving. Major jobs (like social media editors and influencer marketing directors) exist today that weren’t even on the radar just a few years ago. It’s important to keep an open mind in this industry.
Read everything. Watch everything. Be a culture junkie. It’s important to stay inspired by absorbing what’s happening today across the board, whether it’s related to celebrities, politics, art, music, or anything else.
Don't Be Afraid to Experiment
Right now, the fashion industry is at a point of change. Digital and social are more important than ever, and it’s created a change to approach content in new and interesting ways. There’s new room for creative freedom. While some things work, others won’t, and that’s okay.
Take Advantage of Every Opportunity You Have
Last but not least, if you have the chance to attend an event or meet someone new, take advantage of it. It’s the opportunity to have a unique experience or make a new connection that could set you apart.