How to Get a Job in the Fashion Industry
Fashion is an alluring industry for skilled professionals across a variety of disciplines. For those with a passion for this industry, finding a job in fashion can be a dream come true. However, breaking into this competitive field requires determination, relevant experience, and a keen understanding of the industry's unique demands. While there is no one set path for how to get a job in the fashion industry, there are many steps you can take to build your skillset and discover new opportunities.
Where to start your career in fashion
If you know you want to pursue a career in the fashion industry, you can study fashion design, or another discipline in the industry, in college. Some schools specialize in fashion – like SCAD, Pratt Institute, or Parsons (the New School) – but many non-specialized colleges offer courses or organizations that can help you to begin your career in the fashion industry. Even a general business degree with relevant internships will help you stand out amongst other applicants. Alternatively, there are many courses you can take without pursuing a degree; these can be great opportunities for professionals who want to expand their skill sets without taking on the full-time responsibilities of a degree.
While in college, get as involved as possible. Join clubs or organizations that pertain to the industry. Seek out internships or opportunities to learn beyond the classroom. Any way that you can build your resume in this field will help you down the road.
Most people don’t realize the fashion career opportunities that can come out of working in retail. Having strong experiences within this capacity will give your resume a massive boost as hiring managers for higher-level roles at these brands will often gravitate towards candidates who have tangible experience with their brand or a comparable one. Working in retail is a great way to build your expertise on a brand, and within the industry, and can ultimately help you get a job at a higher level as your career progresses.
Freelance work is another way to get your foot in the door. From sample sales to showroom jobs, taking on short-term temporary roles in retail is crucial to getting experience within the industry and building your network. These roles are also valuable for job seekers in school or those working multiple jobs at once. As many of these roles are immediate, last-minute needs, they provide an avenue to build your resume with reputable brand names through short-term assignments.
Landing a job in the fashion industry
If you are interested in working on the business side of the fashion industry, there are a variety of ways to start your journey. The best way to break into the industry is by pursuing a path that aligns with your previous experience or overall interest. For example, if you have experience in showroom roles, you may be a good fit for a Wholesale Assistant job in fashion, or another entry-level position with room for on-the-job training and comparable entry-level responsibilities (Excel data entry, for example).
Some of the most popular titles for entry level positions include:
- Merchandising or Buying Assistant
- Planning or Allocation Assistant
- PR Assistant
- Marketing Assistant
- Wholesale Assistant
- Design Assistant
- Design Operations Assistant
- Sample Coordinator
Fashion Resume Must-Haves
For entry level fashion jobs, having an internship or any sort of relevant retail experience on your resume, along with longevity and a strong skillset is key. For a corporate role specifically, strong internships are the most valuable thing to have under your belt. Even if you want to pivot into another field, an internship with a fashion brand is a great way to start a conversation with a recruiter or hiring manager and eventually land a job in the industry.
Interviewing for a Job in the Fashion Industry
What to Wear
For fashion-industry interviews, you need to balance trends and professionalism. You want to show that you have an eye for what is happening in the industry, while still maintaining a professional demeanor. Look professional and polished, while still leaning into trends. Minimalism will always be your friend to maintain a classic professional look.
Established names in the fashion industry often have a rich history behind them – do your research and come to the interview prepared to talk about the brand, why it speaks to you, and why you would be the right fit.
Know exactly what you bring to the table, and make sure you tie that to the mission or goals of the company or position in the interview. Preparing for the interview beforehand through research and consideration of your own experience will help you feel more confident when it comes time to meet.
In any industry, people want to work with people they get along with. Build a rapport with the individuals you are interviewing with and make sure your genuine personality shines through. Establishing a real, authentic connection is the key to any interview.
Find commonalities and build a relationship like you would in any other professional setting. Maybe you went to the same college, live in the same neighborhood, or have shared common interests. Small talk and simple questions can go a long way towards establishing a relationship with your interviewer.
For those wondering how to get a job in the fashion industry, there is no singular path to success. Fashion is such a vast and diverse industry, and there are always new opportunities to explore.
If you are ready to begin your career as a fashion professional, head to our Find Work page or explore our LinkedIn for our most recent jobs. If you are looking to hire fashion professionals, head to our Hire Talent page to get in touch with our industry experts.