Your Future in Fashion
How to Get Your Foot in the Door
Did you know that the fashion industry generates more then $172 billion nationwide in revenue per year and employs over 4.64 million people? New York City is the nation's fashion capital and the home of the Fashion Institute of Technology, a State University of New York college of art and design, business and technology, which has been education professionals for careers in a variety of fields, including fashion and its related industries, for 60 years.
The fashion industry is a fast-paced, increasingly complex world of creativity, design, business, and technology that many people find fascinating and alluring. As a growth industry, fashion is certain to provide many future career opportunities.
If you are contemplating a career in fashion, it is beneficial to take as many art-related classes as possible while you are in high school. This will help you develop your creative skills and sense of aesthetics. Being computer literate is also important, since many fashion companies obtain valuable information from the Internet and make use of design software programs suck as Photoshop and Illustrator.
You should also follow industry trends by reading books and fashion magazines, visiting museums, exploring fashion-related web sites, and watching television to observe advertising. It is critical to understand the world around you and to be aware of cultural, economic, and political events, which all have an impact on the fashion industry.
The payoff for a fashion career can be glamour and excitement, but it can be a long, hard road. Most people in the industry start at the bottom and pay their dues, and there are no guarantees of fame and fortune. It is a very competitive and demanding industry, and many careers in fashion require that you work long and tedious work hours. In order to be successful, you must have a passion for fashion—a real burning desire to work in the industry. For many successful people in this business, fashion is their life—they live it, breathe it, and think it constantly.
If you decide to attend college, try to select a school that will provide an enriching and exciting educational experience—one where you can grow intellectually, creatively, professionally, and personally. A college or university that offers a specialized curriculum in fashion education is especially beneficial. Attend a college that has strong ties to the industry and where faculty are active practitioners in their fields. This will enable you to gain essential information and develop the skills you need to be successful. In addition, colleges that offer study abroad programs are a plus, because you will have he opportunity to travel and experience how other cultures view fashion.
This industry values work experience and education, so try to get as much experience as possible in some area of the industry while you are in school. In fashion, it is often said that "what you know and who you know" can provide you with a golden career opportunity. If you know people in the industry, try to nurture and build relationships with them. Often, they will know other people in the industry and will recommend you for a job. This is known as networking. Statistics indicate that nearly seventy-five percent of all jobs are obtained through word-of-mouth and personal connections. Many seasoned professionals claim that networking is often the key to landing thatspecial job.
Working at a flea market or as a sales associate for a retail store is a good way to get some initial experience. If you cannot obtain a position that pays, volunteering your time or doing an internship with a company that you would like to work for is another avenue to get your foot in the door. Often, part-time jobs or internships can lead to permanent job opportunities.
When we think of the word "fashion", we usually imagine designing apparel and watching runway shows with supermodels. However, nearly every part of our lives is touched by the world of fashion, from photography to music to interior design. Fashion careers exist in the areas of art and design as well as in business and technology.
Opportunities in the industry include the researching of raw materials and production of fabrics and notions and the design and manufacturing of textiles and finished garments. The fashion world also includes the sale of merchandise to retailers who then sell to consumers and, equally as important, the marketing, promotion and advertising of products via magazines, newspapers, television, fashion runway shows, web sites, trade organizations, and forecasting services.
When we speak of the fashion and related industries, we are including a wide range of opportunities in women's, children's, and men's clothing design as well as careers in jewelry and accessories design, textiles, home products, interior design, and even toy design. Developing new fragrances and cosmetics also falls under the umbrella of the fashion industries. The advertising and marketing of products and merchandise includes photography, advertising, packaging and graphic design, and the development of web sites for e-commerce.
So, follow your dream. Spend time visiting your guidance counselor, and speak with as many people in the industry as possible. Be prepared to work hard. Most importantly, be realistic and don't be discouraged. If you are passionate and love what you do, anything is possible!
Provided by Pam Zuckerman, Director of Career Services at Fashion Institute of Technology.