10 Steps towards a Career In Fashion
Photography by Tom Buck
What I’m Wearing
Around 4 years ago I moved to London, I can’t believe it’s been 4 years already they have literally gone by so quickly and I’m so so proud of myself for what I’ve achieved from nothing but my own sheer determination. I did Contemporary theatre at Uni – had zero ‘Fashion’ experience in the whole school department but still ended up interning for a menswear designer, assisting a stylist, to working at Mr.Porter (to then quit) and do my Blog and YouTube channel full time. Crazy right?! It’s been a whirlwind since the end of University and It’s all because I’m not a settler. I think of myself as trying to make my life better, one step at a time, it’s a slow process but it’s the constant improvement that keeps me motivated.
I get asked the same questions a hell of a lot, things like ‘how do you get a job in the fashion industry?’ ‘how do you become a full time blogger?’. Truth be told I’d fallen out of writing advice posts here on the blog for quite some time but I feel so passionate about this kind of thing that I had the urge to write again which I’m really happy about. So here are my tips on how to get started in the ‘Fashion’ Industry, I put it inverted commas because the Fashion industry is HUGE and there are literally thousands of access points, you just need that foot in the door.
I say choices because the first thing you have to think about and the first thing I ask people that ask me for advice is ‘What Do You Want To Do?’ You kind of need a general idea or an angle to work at – at least to start off from. Is it Styling? Merchandising? PR? Designing? Social Media? Editorial? Copyrighting? Photography? Graphic Design? (the list goes on..) My original dream was to be a fashion designer, for someone with no experience in designing it seemed like an unachievable dream so I utilised my blog to get closer to the industry, it was the one relevant piece of experience I had and boy has it helped. (In fact I just designed my first piece of clothing so hey, dream do come true!) But like I said you just need an idea for starting off – that idea might just change for the better.
Ok so let’s say for the sake of this blog post that you, yes you, want to be a stylist. You think to yourself – yes I can style anyone, I can style everything, I know what trends are coming, I have my finger on the pulse. Except who the hell is going to ask you to help them out on a shoot or better yet pay you to do anything without a portfolio of work to show just what you’re capable of? You need to get off your arse and create something. Me and my friends at college used to get together and do shoots, someone would take the role of photographer, someone else would be the model and then another by the stylist etc. Sometimes I took on every single role and shot things on self timer in my bedroom but hey look where it got me. I think what I’m saying is just start creating things, images, experiences so that you yourself can not only show other people what you’re made of but also learn on your own.
Like in the previous point, getting together with friends who have similar interests is a great idea. If you don’t have any friends who have the same interests then it’s time to utilise that little thing called the internet. Your phone/laptop or however you’re reading this is literally connected to billions of other people, it’s how you choose to use it that sets you apart from the rest. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be other people in your area/country that are in the same position as you so reach out, join facebook groups, tweet at others – put yourself out there (please be careful and safe on the internet though haha) Meet up with other creatives and collaborate together that’s literally what happens on a higher level but everyone has fancy titles and there’s a lot more money involved.
Master your skills
Get better at what you do, there are thousands of people who want to be stylists, designers and now even bloggers. Improve on your own quality, don’t concern yourself with others, just keep improving – the only person you should be in competition with is yourself. Practice makes perfect, no one got anywhere by sitting around and doing nothing.
Try different things
My first proper job in ‘Fashion’ was as an assistant stylist, I did it for around 8 months and it was probably the best first job I could have ever dreamed of. We were styling musicians so it was definitely the more ‘showbiz’ side of the industry, it’s all incredibly cut throat and definitely about connections – who you know, how nice you are and how good you are at your job. However I found out that that side of the industry wasn’t necessarily for me. However the only way I found that was by trying it and giving it my best shot. I still stayed in the Styling game for my next few jobs but completely different angles of Styling. So yeah, try different things until you find what you like. (sounds like an innuendo but it’s not I promise.)
Assist and Learn
Becoming someones assistant is the best possible way to learn the ropes, it’s a great way to meet people, brands, PRs and everything in between so if you do know what you want to do and you’re aware of the big players in that space and you feel like you’re ready to put in the work – send them an email, what’s the worst that could happen? I mean they could say no, but at least they know who you are.
Start Your Own Thing
So for me – I absolutely hated working for other people – I’ve got that attitude where I think I’m right all the time and find it hard to let other people boss me around but I’m aware and so working for myself was the BEST decision I ever made because I was no longer unhappy (yay). In fact my ‘work’ doesn’t even feel like work because I love it so much and I feel extremely fortunate to be in that position because it’s a very difficult thing to find. ‘Find a job that you love and you never have to work a day in your life’ – yep. Damn right.
Stay True To Your Own Style
Don’t change yourself to fit in somewhere, I see a lot of people copying others, literally becoming a clone of someone else who is successful and they want to be like them – I get how they must feel but think about it – the person you’re copying, there’s already one of them and they must be doing it well. Be your OWN person, there’s no one else like you in the whole world – just be true to your own style, clothing wise, personality wise and attitude-wise. Don’t change for something because you’ll most likely change back and people will be confused. God I sound like I’m describing a shape-shifting lizard or something, but you know what I mean.
Don’t let Others Cloud Your Judgement
Ok so this was a big one for me – Other people. Other people can be absolute d*cks. They’ll tear your dreams apart and make you feel worthless just because you have high hopes and aspirations. ALWAYS keep your high hopes and aspirations because you CAN make them a reality you just have to put in the work with a sprinkle of patience (sometimes a whole bottle of patience) but I promise you you will get there. I had friends tell me ‘why are you still doing that blog thing’ ‘why do you post on instagram all the time’ ‘why do you care so much about your YouTube videos’ – erm because It’s my life and I’ll do what I want. If you want to be a Stylist, you tell people you’re a f*cking Stylist – do the hard work and show everyone who ever doubted you just what you can do.
Work like you’ve never worked before, if you need a second job for income, do it. Work into the early hours of the morning, network yourself constantly, type so much your fingers fall off because if you stick at it, believe in yourself and improve every day. Hard work does pay off.