The fashion industry is a competitive force where one must continuously strive to be the best they can. Having a creative personality or love for the industry is admirable, it is also important to understand the business side. We won’t be delving into too much stuff this time, however we are going to lay out some key tips and tricks of being professional and thriving in the business industry; fashion edition.
1. Learn the Industry
A crucial concept for success in any industry is knowledge. The fashion industry being no exception. While it is important to understand the basics, it is also imperative to grasp the history and keep up on current trends. You don’t want to reach out to a factory or fabric supplier and not know what a tech pack or pattern is. Knowing your industry is vital, no matter what you are doing. With fashion it is constantly changing, with new trends popping up seasonally, you don’t want your brand to be at a disadvantage. As the saying goes “history repeats itself”, so understanding previous trends could come in handy! Having an idea of past fashion trends will allow you to better predict what trends will happen in the future. With resources like WWD and We Connect Fashion allowing your collection to stay on trend and relevant to your demographic.
2. Relationships Matter
Network, network, network. You hear it time and time again, and for good reason. It is incredibly important. As the book “The Career Code” states: It’s who you know that gets you there and what you know that keeps you there. For obvious reasons networking can help move your career along, but it is also the more subtle reasons of learning from one another that makes it so fundamental for success. Often what takes place in the fashion industry can’t be taught in a typical classroom environment, reiterating the usefulness of learning through networking, your team, and experience.
3. Overcome your fear of Failure and Rejection
It is human nature to be afraid of putting yourself in a vulnerable situation, especially when you are placing your own creativity on the line. Which, to an extent, can feel even more personal. Because of this, it is essential that you handle failure in a positive manner. In the fashion industry calculated risks are imperative to coming out on top. Sometimes it won’t work out and you will experience the bitterness of failure. Instead of looking at it as a step back, look at it as a step in the right direction. Failure usually goes hand in hand with rejection. So it is important to respect the fact that your vision won’t always be accepted. Especially if you don’t sell your own line, you will have to recognize that the business may choose to go in a different direction. They are doing what is best for their brand, it’s not personal.
4. Dress for the Job You Want, Not the Job You Have
It can be extremely easy in the fashion industry to not dress professionally. It is fashion after all. You want to express yourself and show that you are on top of current trends. This is great if you are able to do so in a professional manner, but this could lead to not being taken seriously. As with most creative industries, companies tend to be more laid back to allow for creativity to strive and not be stifled. Again, keep in mind that you are still a professional that needs to be taken seriously in order to do well. That being said you must also keep in mind what your job is and dress for that. Stilettos aren’t always practical and the fashion industry isn’t always glamorous.
5. Be Okay with Change and know how to handle it
The fashion industry is constantly changing with no day the same. The ability to think on your feet and make a decision in a split second is key. Of course, this can be extremely stressful. It is important to know how to destress in a quick and timely manner. While you could be working a normal 9-5 job, you may also work overtime or odd hours. Starting your own brand only adds another level of intensity as you are attempting to establish yourself in an industry that has been around for centuries. Presumably, You will do your best work if you aren’t overly stressed and are able to be flexible at all times.
The fashion industry can be a chaotic place, whether you are starting your own brand or simply attempting to climb the ladder. It can be hard to establish yourself, as with any trade, the fashion industry seems to be at another level. That being said, it is an incredible industry that brings like-minded, creative, individuals together on a daily basis. As you move forward in your careers, no matter what path you choose, keep these tips in mind and remember although overtime and stress are a given, as long as you are following your passion it’s worth it!
Want more Tips? Check out this book:
“The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career” by Hillary Kerr and Kathrine Power