The fashion industry can be challenging to access. Due to its prestige and glamour, sometimes it feels that accessing an entry-level job in a fashion or luxury company is almost impossible unless you have strong connections.
And that’s the issue. How do you create your own network? How do you build and foster relationships that can help you land a job?
In this post, we’re going to list our top tips to help you build some connections that can help you pursue a job in the fashion industry.
Let’s delve into it.
#1 Attend a Fashion School
The most straightforward approach to building a network in the fashion industry is attending a fashion school.
Fashion business and design schools are not cheap, but they do provide some unique benefits that make the investment worthwhile.
Instructors teaching in these institutions are often established professionals, who have been working in the industry for years.
Attending their classes can make you understand how the industry works behind the scenes and can help you to identify opportunities to make connections and apply for jobs.
Moreover, fashion brands often focus on these institutions to recruit interns or new candidates in entry level positions through career fairs and open days.
All in all, pursuing a fashion degree is a great option in higher education, as it can allow passionate students to cut to the chase and start building their careers in their early twenties.
#2 Follow and Social Media
Another approach is to follow brands and influencers in social media.
Rather than simply filling your social media feed with high-level influencers, try to identify people who are a little more approachable, but still in positions that allow them to provide opportunities.
Look for HR managers, and middle-level managers for companies you’d like to work for and spend time understanding their voices and perspectives on the industry.
More importantly, contribute to their conversations and discussions with useful and interesting insights.
This will allow you to get noticed more easily so that when your online conversation has become spontaneous and engaged, you may have a chance to ask for advice regarding your career options.
#3 Attend Physical Events
Attending physical events is a great way to make connections. Look for events that allow for public attendance and show participation and interest towards the brands you want to work for.
In physical events you can learn a lot about what your target company is trying to achieve, what kind of audience is trying to attract and what kind of image it’s trying to build.
Moreover, some of these events could be career-oriented and could allow for an opportunity to be interviewed or submit your C.V.
Be prepared for that chance. Make sure you know a lot about the brand you are trying to connect to, so that if for any reason the right conversation arises, you can have your chance to make an impression.
In these circumstances it’s important to remember that before talking about yourself and what makes you different from other candidates, you need to show you are well informed about the company and the job you’re applying for.
#4 Reach out to Professionals with Relevant Questions
You can also reach out to professionals through LinkedIn to ask questions regarding job openings and opportunities at the company.
This however can be a challenge, HR managers cannot simply provide company information just because a prospective candidate asks.
In our opinion it’s not a good idea to be too direct, or “salesy” when it comes to pitching yourself for a job.
Recruiters receive these types of messages very often and there’s no point in asking for preferential treatment.
What you can do however is to ask for information that recruiters can actually provide.
Ask about qualifications you could be getting to make your profile more distinctive, ask for years of experience needed or ideal profile characteristics for a job you’re interested in applying for.
Of course, make sure you are asking relevant questions, which are not already covered by the job application or FAQs.
#5 Intern for a Fashion Company
A great way to build connections is to apply for an internship.
For some people an internship could be a step forward in their career, coming from college or university.
For others it could mean a step back from a well paid position in another sector.
In either case, there are some internship positions which could be a great place to start your career in fashion.
Nowadays, many companies are also providing remote internships, which can help you apply for a job from anywhere in the world.
Interning in a fashion company can provide a very steep learning curve, getting you to experience first-hand what it means to work for an organisation in the creative arts.
There’s a lot to learn in an internship, and if you’re looking for some additional advice, here’s an article where we go over some dos and don’t when interning in fashion and design.
Of course, finding the right internship can be a challenge, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this article, providing you with our ultimate guide to fashion internships.
#6 Conduct Research
As you complete your degree and are carrying out research as part of your final dissertation, focusing on a fashion business topic could allow you to interact with potential employers.
If you are trying to understand a problem in the fashion industry which is relevant for many brands, you could get two birds with one stone.
On the one end you’d be building valuable knowledge on a current and relevant topic.
On the other, you may reach out to industry professionals to collect primary research.
You may have to conduct interviews, write questionnaires or even run focus groups.
In all of these cases you have a valid reason to interact with established professionals you could impress.
By the time you defend your thesis, you could have created a long list of new contacts that can support you in your future job search.
#7 Apply for Jobs
Last but not least, apply for jobs.
Applying for jobs can allow you to cut to the chase and make your case to recruiters on how amazing you would be if a fashion company gave you a shot.
Applying for jobs is hard work, but it does provide you with an opportunity to meet other candidates and recruiters who could become your allies in your search for a job.
By comparing and contrasting yourself with the job requirements and by having conversations with HR professionals you can understand how likely you are to find a job you like and what your best options are.
Moreover, if you make a good impression on a recruiter, you may get advice or help in applying for other jobs that are aligned with your qualities and skills.
Great, now that we’ve covered all of our 7 tips, let’s draw a few conclusive remarks.
There you have it! In this post we’ve looked at 7 tips to make connections in the fashion industry.
We all know how the fashion industry is competitive to get into, but at the same time, by persevering and working hard, your chances of landing your dream job will increase exponentially!
If you’d like to learn more about the fashion industry and read more posts on how to find a job in fashion, don’t hesitate to explore our blog, where you can find a wealth of free resources. Enjoy!