Steps to Make it Big in the Fashion Industry

What steps do you need take to make it big in the fashion industry? It’s a simple enough question, but the answer is far from simple. Although top designers make it look easy to get to the top of this profession, that’s not quite how it works.

There are basically two types of routes to enter into the fashion business: alternative or traditional.

The alternative route is through self-education and blogging. You can teach yourself how to draw, sew, sketch, and run a business.You can also follow the lead of Chiara Ferragani. This Italian model started out as a blogger, founding the Blonde Salad, and then became a fashion designer. Today, she is a well-known business woman, social media influencer, and multimillionaire. Although the alternative route appears easy, it takes immense discipline and an unusual combination of good fortune and business acumen to be successful this way.

The traditional route is more likely to point you in the right direction. It will increase your probability of success. This route will gradually improve your knowledge and skills about fashion and progressively build up your portfolio. So to start, look for colleges that offer fashion merchandising degrees or other fashion-based degrees, be open to taking internships, and learn the art of networking. Let’s take a closer look at these three steps.

1. Going to school for a degree

The reason it’s advisable to attend a fashion school is that you’ll be introduced to a comprehensive curriculum. You’ll acquire the knowledge and skills you need to do well in fashion. In addition, you’ll be surrounded by others who have the same passion, and you’ll rapidly develop a lot of invaluable connections in the fashion industry.

You might be able to get a scholarship or a grant to do a bachelor’s degree. After completion, you can then decide whether or not to do a master’s degree. An undergraduate degree will take you four years and a graduate degree will take you another two years.

When deciding on a school, review its reputation. This will not only be significant in helping you get a good education but it will make a huge difference when you apply for a job after graduation. If the school has a good reputation and the faculty is well-known, it will make it far easier to land a great job. Besides reading their website, sending for their brochure, and talking to the school’s representatives, you should make a trip to the campus and ask current students about their experience.

2. Internship

You can look into getting an internship either during your school years or after you graduate. If you get an internship while you’re still at school, then you will probably not have enough time to be a full-time student. In this case, it may take longer to graduate.

An internship will provide you with invaluable insights into the vertical that you find exciting. A vertical could be as broad as women’s, men’s, or children’s clothing or it could be as specialized as sportswear, bridal wear, or costumes.

As an intern, you’ll learn about the key competitors in your niche, as well as pricing structure, ways of selling (website, boutiques, or trade shows), profit margins, and preferred manufacturing processes (domestic or overseas).

3. Networking

While it’s fine to interact with others through your blog, social media network, and other online ways of connecting with people, this is not a substitute for face-to-face interactions. It’s difficult to learn about your craft through exchanging text messages or the occasional Skype call.

Develop a good elevator pitch to immediately answer these two questions: “what do you do?” and “where are you from?” This will serve to steer the conversation in a positive direction and build instant rapport. In essence, you’ll be delivering a subtle sales pitch iwhile appearing to just being social. Also be sure to have high-quality business cards. (Avoid free or cheap cards that carry the printer’s URL). And, of course, since you’re in the fashion industry, you need to look as if you have an excellent sense of sartorial taste.

Your Next Steps

Once you’re more fully engaged in the world of fashion, you should also attend fashion events, create your own line, and keep up with the latest trends from top designers.

About The Author

Aleksandar Tomovic
Editor in Chief

French photographer (of Serbian Origins) lives and works in Los Angeles. Known for his celebrity fashion editorials and recognized around the world for his european esthetics and american efficiency.

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