How To Choose a Career in Fashion

If you’re the kind of person who wants to work in the fashion industry, chances are, you’ll already know it. You’ll read the glossy magazines, follow fashion blogs (or perhaps even have your own) and your love of fashion defines who you are as a person. Deciding how to make a career out of that however can sometimes be tricky. It’s not just fashion designers, but also visual merchandisers, boutique owners, buyers and many many more types of roles within the industry. 
Before starting Fashion Mumblr, I studied at the London College of Fashion – I knew I wanted to work within the fashion industry but wasn’t sure which part of it, and the course that I studied gave me an insight into many different roles, going through the skills needed to run a fashion business – including Marketing, buying, merchandising, finance and PR. Once I graduated, I worked in the Marketing department at Mulberry, did some consultancy for John Lewis, worked in various shops and then finally worked as PR and Marketing Manager for a retail software company. Now, I’m a full time blogger, so it’s fair to say I’ve tried a few different roles in fashion! So if you’re just thinking about what kind of role you’d like in the future, then read on for a few of my top tips!

Fashion Marketing 
This is how I started my career in Fashion, and a role in marketing combines business and creativity. Designers and brands need to get their products to the market and make customers aware of them, and create a desire for them. This is where the marketing team comes in. When you start out in a marketing role, you can expect your tasks to include assisting at campaign photo shoots, organising in-store events, planning newsletters, assisting with social media, collecting customer information, working with store managers to ensure that they’re up to date with the marketing strategy, and much more depending on the company that you work for. 
It’s true what they say about the fashion industry, it so often is about ‘who you know’ and for me, even getting an internship at Mulberry to start with was a huge accomplishment and amount of luck (my mum met the god-father of one of the PR team at a dinner event!), but there are ways of getting into a marketing role without knowing someone. Firstly, you most likely will have to intern. Sadly it’s often unpaid but most of the time it’s the best way to network with people in the industry and get a foot in the door. Graduate schemes are another great way in but these are hugely competitive. Often, university courses will help you to make connections in the industry so take full advantage of ‘Industry Speakers’ and have a 30 second mental pitch prepared about why YOU should work for them.
Buying / Merchandising 
Firstly, what’s the difference? Buyers and merchandisers work together to create a range that offers the best choice to customers, while maximising sales and profits. Buyers tend to work closely with designers and suppliers, considering the style, colour and overall look of a range and customers desires, whereas merchandisers work closely with financial information, structuring a range from a figures and sales point of view.
If you’re not afraid of figures then merchandising roles can earn you decent money (as far as the fashion industry goes!) and also give you a real insight into the workings of a fashion company. Buyers will benefit hugely from experience on the shop floor, understanding customer needs, and the ability to know what’s on trend and what a customer wants is non-negotiable! Friends of mine from uni often started out selling clothes on the shop floor and are now the ones deciding which clothes get on the shop floor in the first place.
Working for a Magazine
Whether an editor, photographer, copywriter or stylist, there are countless roles within a magazine. Many roles involve office based tasks and many external appointments so no two days are the same. Creativity is crucial, and if you want to work for a fashion magazine then experience is crucial. Many publications offer internships although they’re very competitive so make yourself stand out. Do you have a blog? A photography portfolio? Thousands of Instagram followers who follow you to pick up style tips? When applying for a role it’s important to do your homework and understand the style of the magazine – perhaps you could even write a mock article for them to show them how creative you are!

Boutique Owner
If you LOVE shopping and already spend a lot of time in boutiques, imagine the satisfaction of running your own – the fun and financial rewards from having your very own boutique? As boutique owner you choose the products, set the prices and open your doors to customers eager to snap up your latest collections. It’s a career path I often think about, and had I not fallen into marketing I definitely would have pursued it. I’m currently spending my ‘down time’ as a virtual boutique owner via the new  Style Boutique 2 – Fashion Forward game for Nintendo 3DS. Within moments of launching into the game I was tempted with the option to work as a model, but after helping a friend put together a killer outfit (and styling her hair and makeup to suit her new look) I knew my calling was to be a boutique owner. Now, I run all aspects of the store from networking across the city, styling outfits according to customers exact specifications and budgets, and buying in new items according to my customers desires.

Other career paths within
the game include being a designer – if you’ve got the eye for a well styled
outfit then putting together fabulous looks is a great way of getting the word
out about your boutique. You can also show off your perfect new hair cut and
makeup and try your luck as a model, maybe even appearing on billboards around
the city!

Fashion Blogger
I’ll always maintain that if you’re starting your blog to make money (or get free things) then chances are you’re in it for the wrong reasons. Having said that, of course there is the possibility of making your blog a successful career choice. I blogged alongside working full time for two years, and only once I was generating a relatively consistent earning from the blog did I make the decision to take it full time. If you aspire to be a blogger then of course you’ll need to start a blog, find your niche, and create consistently top quality content in order to grow your readership. Brands and readers will notice your efforts and eventually you may be able to make it your career.
There are mixed feelings about whether or not to go to university, especially given the recent hike in the costs involved. The career path that I took would only have been an option for me as a graduate – working in the head office of a major fashion retailer means you need to have industry knowledge that can only really be gained from a degree in retail (or similar) or having vast amounts of experience within the sector. If you decide that university isn’t for you, then working in stores is the best way to get your foot in the door. If you can work in a flagship store then that’s even better, as you’ll probably meet the visual merchandising or marketing teams when they visit the stores. 
I hope this post has been useful for you, I know it only skims the very surface of the fashion industry and there is so much more I could say! If you have any questions then tweet me and i’ll do my very best to answer them!

What’s your ideal career within the fashion industry?


This post is kindly sponsored by Nintendo but of course all views are my own and I’ve genuinely become addicted to New Style Boutique 2 – Fashion Forward!