EP Basics: How to Start a Fashion Business? Here are 7 Tips to Initiate You into the World of Fashion
There is a substantial amount of disillusionment that comes along with growing up and kicking off a career, and how to start a fashion business is no exception. Regardless of the disruptive progress, we have made over the past decade in terms of inclusivity, transparency, all sorts of positivity and more conducive work environments; the fashion business can still be extremely difficult to break into.
The vicious cycle of experience on your CV is a tough enemy to get past. So, whether you are looking to be hired into the fashion business, or are looking to take the entrepreneurial route, starting off can be extremely daunting. And it’s only natural to be thinking, “How the fire-truck am I supposed to do this!?”
We can’t take away all your existential dread, but we can definitely give you a few tricks that will, not only help your confidence but help kick-start your career as well.
1. Educate Yourself
Having a basic degree goes without saying, but this tip focuses on different forms of knowledge and education.
The fashion industry is notoriously flaky and doesn’t ask permission before changing. What may currently be the case, may not stay the same even an hour from now. Keeping yourself educated about the changes and fluctuations in the fashion industry is paramount to impress anyone during an interview or pitch.
Your CV may be scarce, but knowledge and the capacity for growth is always evident in a person who is well-read and well-informed about their field. And along with knowledge comes confidence, which is a crucial quality in any field of business.
Staying up to date isn’t too difficult, all you have to do is follow relevant people on social media, subscribe to the right publications and have the curiosity and enthusiasm to learn.
The fashion business is vast and there is a tonne of roles available. So, educate yourself with courses (online, free, in-person or paid) and add to your wealth of knowledge as well as your CV.
2. Find Your Niche in the Fashion Business World
The fashion industry is ripe with opportunity in a host of different roles. From the outside, it is easy to assume that there are only a hand-full of designations for you. But you’d be surprised. It takes an army to keep the industry going. There is styling and designing of course, but there are also roles like fashion-journalism, photography, merchandising, set design, marketing, sales, account managers you name it!
It can be easy to get confused and overwhelmed, but there is no harm in testing out a bunch of roles before you take the leap. Being informed about what you’re getting into will only benefit you. Give everything a fair shot before taking the leap. You could do this through various short-term internships, rigorous research, talking to relevant people, and even participating in seminars/webinars and courses.
3. Internships in the Fashion Business World!
Internships are the easiest way to get your foot in the door, especially in the fashion industry. They are the best place to get started because they often have very few requirements to do with prior experience. And most importantly, there are ALWAYS tonnes and tonnes of internships available. Even with a fashion-related degree, nothing beats hands-on, real-world experience. The downside with internships, however, is that you have to start at the absolute bottom. It may be a fashion internship, but you may be stuck delivering packages and doing paperwork for the entire duration of your contract. This too is valuable, as it helps you understand the un-glamorous side of the fashion world.
Fashion internships are often short (1-6 months) and allow you to dip your feet into various different fields to help give you an all-round idea of the industry before you decide your niche. Additionally, internships can sometimes serve as extended job interviews that could eventually get you a permanent position.
4. Don’t Aim for Big Fish
You may have grown up dreaming of a job at Vogue or within the celebrity world, but this may not always be beneficial. It is crucial to remember that the fashion industry comprises much more than just Conde Nast and Sabyasachi. The smaller participants often offer opportunities with more scope for learning, and your seniors will probably be able to give you more attention since they are not overcrowded.
Start-ups in the fashion business rely on interns to a great extent, and since they are still growing and finding their footing, your input will carry more value, and you may have opportunities that don’t involve coffee runs or Excel sheets.
5. An Online Presence
Internships and other forms of experience play a huge role in your CV, but when it comes to the modern fashion industry, an online presence can be the cheat code that gets you in. Now, almost every second person has a couple of thousand followers on Instagram, but if you manage to create content that truly engages your audience, your social media could be the trick to getting your dream job.
A strong online presence allows you to build your identity and style while you gain the credibility that will help your CV stand out. It will make your work and style readily accessible to potential employers or investors, which in turn will allow you to get the jobs you want without too much prior experience.
An online presence isn’t exclusive to Instagram or Twitter. Having a strong presence on LinkedIn is profoundly essential. LinkedIn is basically the social media form of your CV.
6. Freelance to Fill Up your CV
Freelancing is a great way to get into fashion world with a limited CV. Various fashion magazines hire freelancers to write and edit for them. Now freelance may not pay as well as a traditional job, but it’s a great way to start off, and if you play your cards right, you could have a selection of clients who all contribute to an acceptable income along with a truckload of content for your CV.
Various small scale fashion start-ups also hire freelancers to manage their inventory, merchandising, social media etc. So there is plenty of scope when it comes to freelancing.
7. Actively Pursue Your Dream Jobs through Cold Emails
Cold emailing is grossly underrated. We live in a world with a population of 7.8 billion, and you cannot expect to land the first job you apply for. With cold emailing, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
You don’t want to be sending the same recycled email to every organisation. Put in the effort and write out a convincing and enthusiastic cover letter, detailing why you want the job and why you should get it. From hundreds of emails you send out, you are surely going to receive some positive replies and appreciation for your heartfelt and effortful email.
At the end of the day, you need to work hard and consistently to reap the results you desire. Implementing just one of these tips will not get you your dream job, you must consciously work towards as many of them as you can to help get you the best possible outcome.