Top 10 Tips to Prepare Fashion Business Interview

Thomas Brownlees

Thomas Brownlees

CEO and Founder,
440 Industries

Introduction

You got the interview call? That’s great!

However, if you think you can cram loads of books and earn a fashion job straight away, then my friend you are mistaken. The fashion industry, unlike scientific fields, doesn’t require factual data.

Surely you did great learning all the basics, but to be a part of a fashion business would require a lot more than that. What matters is your skills and how effective you are in polishing them.

So, how would you prepare for a fashion business interview? In the art of self-expression, everything will be counted from general attire to your experience in the field as well as your communication skills.

You can think of your services as products in a shop, for which you must convince the consumers to buy them. The same is the case with a fashion interview where your employer already knows what you have to offer, but still, you’ll be asked to prove yourself.

Should you ever find yourself in the hurricane of preparing for a fashion interview, we have listed the top 10 tips and tricks to ace your next fashion business interview.

1. Do your homework!

Whoever you aspire to be, either a designer, stylist, editor, photographer or anyone relating to the fashion business, your first step after receiving an interview call should be to investigate.

The brand/company

Research the brand, know their history, their target audience, the position you are applying for – all should be at your fingertips. Why? Because knowing all this will bring confidence in you about the place you are going to be interviewed. While mentioning any of such information during the interview would also add to your points as it’ll show your keen interest in the field.

Your expertise

Furthermore, make sure you have a thorough knowledge of the potential position. Revise your skills, learn and relearn, and leave nothing left. Know why you are going on an interview, and what do you have to present. If possible, reach out to their website and social media accounts and carefully observe your respective area of the field. For instance, if you are a designer, notice the apparel. This will help you get an idea of what requirements will be expected.

Don’t treat your job interview as fun. If you want to stand out among other candidates, you should not only prepare the basics but also learn what others won’t!

2. Practice a mock-interview

Whether it’s your first interview or you have been there before, always remembering the golden rule of the day: the key to ace a fashion interview (or any interview) is to practice beforehand: the questions, their answers, and the quality. Let’s look at each of them in detail.

Sample questions

Before you ‘practice’ the questions, you first must prepare the answers. There are hundreds of sample questions you can find on the web relating to your respective field, but the most common are:

  • What was your inspiration behind pursuing a career in fashion?

  • How do you define fashion?

  • Why was the reason behind leaving your last job?

  • How was your internship period?

  • What success in the fashion industry is according to you?

  • How do you plan to see yourself in the next 10 years?

  • What is your individual style in fashion/your respective field?

  • How do you keep a check on ongoing trends?

Don’t be surprised when your employer asks you about your weaknesses or any failure in life – they just want to see how honest and optimistic you are. But the key here is to not play dumb by telling your whole life story. Instead, keep the conversation short and make sure to mention what you learned from it.

Once you have found the perfect answers to all the questions that might the asked in the interview, it is now time to practice. You can stand in front of a mirror and observe your speaking style, body language, and facial expressions. Or you can ask a friend to assist you in conducting a mock interview.

3. Choose your portfolio wisely

Your portfolio is what will speak for your passion and skills. So, make sure you are including everything that will excel your expertise. However, you must not forget to keep an eye on the company/brand and observe their current fashion and styles. Note all that and incorporate similar samples in your portfolio. You cannot imagine how high value it makes your portfolio and leaves a great impression on your employer(s).

Appreciate yourself

Be comfortable and proud of your efforts. Don’t feel hesitant in accepting it, rather acknowledge your skills and speak of them confidently. How do you expect the interviewers to be happy with your work when you, yourself are doubtful? This leaves an extremely bad impression and surely you wouldn’t want that at any cost!

Organize your portfolio carefully

Separate your excellent and not-so-excellent pieces. While you may have heard of putting the perfect samples at the beginning and ending of a portfolio, I would suggest you go for few excellent samples in the beginning and last, and one outstanding piece followed by one not-so-outstanding sample, and so on. This will keep the viewers interested till the end.

Portfolio type

The debate between a handbook or digital portfolio is never old. You should choose what suits you the most. If the interview is being held face to face, you can consider having a handbook. While if it’s an online interview, then surely a digital portfolio will be a great option.

4. Attire

The way you dress speaks a lot about you. Your list to wear professional apparel may go a long way, but the thing that comes on the top is the comfort.

Clothing style

First, you should choose what type of clothing would be best based on what type of interview it is going to be: business, casual, or an internship job interview. Also, keep the climate in mind. If it’s a summer job, go for light apparel and vice versa.

Wear your skills

The clothing you’ll wear should stand out your personality, not overshadow it. And since it’s a fashion interview, dress according to your respective domain. For instance, classic attire would be perfect for a photographer, while a designer is welcome to play with colors.

Take notes

There is, however, another trick that can do wonders for you. As stated earlier, observe how the designers and stylists of the brand causally wear and wear something like that. The more you show your interest in the company/brand, the more are the chances of your selection.

5. What else with the portfolio?

A portfolio is surely your gateway to the career you always wanted. But there are few other things you should take care of when preparing for an interview.

  • Keep the interview letter along with the other things. You may not be able to enter the place without showing it.

  • Your C.V. or resume is a must. Mention everything in it and take more than two copies. Who knows they ask for one and then not having it will cause not only embarrassment but a negative impression!

  • A copy of the application form that you filled applying for the job.

  • All your certifications, any courses you took, competitions won, internship credentials – keep everything in a separate, neat, and organized folder. You can also opt for a small business file in case you want to share a professional vibe.

  • Business cards: only if you have them! Even if you do not qualify for what your employers are looking for, a business card showcases you as a powerful candidate which may make them rethink their decision.

Now if we talk about some tricks, you can consider taking with you a journal, magazine, or recent catalog of the brand and study/look at it when sitting in the waiting area. But don’t forget to go through it beforehand as it’s a high chance your employers would ask you about it. Lastly, it’s a wonderful way of taking the conversation into your hands and speaking about what you want to discuss.

6. Arriving etiquettes

Going on an interview is like going on the battlefield. You must prepare better and superior to your counterparts. Other than the attire and portfolio, what speaks for you is your manners.

Arrive early

Many will suggest you be on time, because after all, who prefers a late-comer? But what if you arrive early on the spot, walk around, and have a little chit-chat with other employees?

Stay professional

You need not hurry. Start preparing for the interview at least two hours before the fixed time. Revise all your stuff, keep it secure in some file, and wear a professional, yet comfortable attire. Don’t forget to have breath mints in your wallet/purse and take it at least five minutes before you are called. It is also suggested to freshen up yourself right before the interview by going to the bathroom, however, be careful in that.

Stay active

Finally, stay sharp even after the interview the done. Don’t look sluggish or sit like you are lying on a couch in your living room. Many companies have cameras in their waiting areas just to see how spirited their candidates are. You wouldn’t want to let an unprofessional act take your chance in any way! If it’s an online interview, you can consider having a good background with a noise-free, luminous room.

7. First impressions

Your employers are interviewing a bunch of candidates, each with the same story. How would you make a difference? That’s exactly what you should prepare yourself beforehand.

Introduce yourself professionally and confidently speak about your expertise. Don’t let the other person sense your confusion. And even if you are dubious or anxious, stay calm.

Take the crown

Every question you’ll be asked is the same question asked to other candidates. So, understand that it’s not the explanation or justification your employers are looking for. They want to see your development, your mastery over your skills, and how sincere you are with your work. You can easily beat the game in the first five minutes by taking care of all these things.

There is a simple trick smart people use to get time when asked a question they need time to think. Take a small water bottle with you and drink from it whenever you need few seconds to grab the answer.

8. Body language

While you speak with your mouth, your body completes your point. A little practice is mandatory in advance, and you should learn the movements of your hands as gestures or emphasising stress. Sit comfortably and share a positive vibe. Always a win-win solution, keep a light smile on your face and look into the eyes when talking.

Focus on conversation

When you are asked questions, listen carefully. Don’t interrupt while the other person is speaking and wait till they are finished. You need to show engagement and for that, make sure you are understanding them well enough to answer exactly what they have asked.

When responding, show enthusiasm, and most importantly, why do you want to be a part of their brand/company. Even if they don’t ask, show your passion. However, this doesn’t mean oversharing or over-expressing which you should clearly avoid. Stick to the point and stay concise.

9. Ask questions

This expresses how committed you are to the job. The communication soon will be dead if it’s just one-way. To keep it alive, you must ask questions and prepare them in advance. Do not ask vague, baseless questions. Instead, ask something that has a meaning in it, such as

  • What will be the expectations from you in the next 70 or 90 days?
  • Does the package/job/internship include additional training?
  • Is there anything that needs to be clear about your skills or expertise?
  • What is their approach towards specific trends?
  • What will be the next steps from this onwards?

10. Be optimistic

That’s the most important of all. Even if you are not selected, don’t burden yourself with self-doubt. Instead, try to find what the chosen candidate had in him/her which you lacked. Try to improve yourself for the next time. Remember, there is plenty of fish in the sea. You just have to get the right one. If you are optimistic, new chances will come to you. While hopelessness and disparity result in nothing but failure. Keep up your high pace and stick to professionalism.

11. Conclusions

So here we are at the final lines. Did you learn anything from the top 10 tips to prepare fashion business interview? Don’t forget to prepare in advance and polish your skills according to the job required. Practicing always makes it perfect and the same you should apply to your life.

Make your portfolio as excellent as you can. Get the right things and organize them well. Arrive early on the interview place, dress well, and sit actively. Everything you do is going to add to your image, so be careful. Don’t be afraid of anything, especially asking questions or clearing a doubt, and be positive and acceptable towards everything. You surely are going to win this race!

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Top 10 Tips to Prepare Fashion Business Interview In this post, we're going to share our advice on how to prepare for a fashion business interview and land your perfect job!
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Thomas Brownlees

Thomas Brownlees

I am an Anglo-Italian business lecturer and consultant based in Florence, Italy. In 2017 I started 440 Industries, an education and training company focused on fashion, music, and technology. Our mission is to help students, entrepreneurs and managers in overcoming the challenges of starting, developing and scaling their business in the creative industries. When there's a will, there's a way!

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