The fashion industry continues to get wider and intimidating with time. As the awareness of the industry increases, so does the competition. But what many don’t realise is that this industry is not just about designers and models; that there is so much more in the underbelly of it. These jobs may look glamorous, but with the grinding nature of the industry, the core of these jobs may prove to be essentially stressful. So, before choosing any path, be aware of what it truly beholds. Nevertheless, there will always be surprises.
Here are five crucial roles, apart from the usual ones, that lift the growth bar of the fashion industry:
With the rising amount of fashion houses and retail platforms, both online and offline, the position of a fashion merchandiser is on high demand. This profile not just seeks a fashion enthusiast, but also a person who has a madness for it; who has tracked every move and shift and growth, who uses their thinking ability to analyse every change and is one step ahead of trends.
You will find a fashion merchandiser at management roles of big brands or even be self employed and working alongside designers, manufacturers and even theatre and dance companies. Some even have their own boutiques.
In this role, you will be expected to promote the apparel through advertising, campaigning and sales strategies that you design for your client. With your understanding of not just the creative knowledge in fashion, but also business, you will design strategies that will help the industry grow. These strategies will be a result of your research and understanding through attending events like fashion shows, analysing textile markets and meeting with manufactures. However, it all comes down to how you advertise all of that to the client.
Have you always been the friend or family member who everyone comes to for an honest fashion advice? Have you honestly enjoyed it instead of getting annoyed by the recurring need for it? As a fashion consultant, you need not do it for free anymore. This position will give you a platform where you can offer fashion advice to people as a retail sales person or even a fashion stylist for an individual. Your advice will not only help clients, but also the brand you are working for.
As a fashion consultant, you would be expected to stay on top of fashion trends, nationally and globally. You need to carefully introduce new styles and ways of dressing from around the world to your community. Though, to do so, an extensive understanding of the people in your community is needed, and also of the fashion trends in the past.
Whereas, when it comes to an individual, you need to be the person who takes their budget, body type, personality and the trends of today into account and give them the best of your advice.
Fashion Public Relations (PR)
Every PR job we have seen in movies and television shows has always seemed glamorous. But what they fail to show us is the grit that takes to make your way into a party and all the fun you have to put aside to actually squeeze out the goodies you need from the event.
You are not to attend all the extravagant events to party all night, instead, you are there to polish your relations with the editors, models, celebrities and designers. No matter how exhausted you are by the end of it, you have to put on a smiling face to meet your target and get through the day. It may sound like you are being asked to be phony, but you will soon learn that it is just you working at all times.
This position would require you to solve problems creatively and be strategic with who you talk to and how you behave. Your personal life becomes your professional life because your reputation and personality turns into a trusting point for investment. As a Fashion PR professional, you would soon learn to work 24×7 and enjoy it as well.
If you decide to take this job, be ready to not just attend heaps of fashion shows but also to pen down every moment of it. This job requires you to analyse designs, trends and fashion shows, it needs you to ask the right questions and investigate answers, just like in any other journalism front.
In today’s exceeding crop of online publications and the high demand for content, the spectrum has broadened for writers, but it has also turned as much competitive. A writing portfolio showing variant styles of work via blogging and internships build a good chance to land a well paid job as a writer for a print magazine or an online publication.
Magazines are always looking for fresh talents, and as there is never too much content these days, they resort to hiring freelancers. Be bold and send out emails and even call editors personally. Circulate your work but make sure your pitch is something fresh. All your published work adds up to your portfolio and gives you a bigger chance of landing a full-time job at a publication. So, don’t keep that pen down or take your hands off the keyboard.
A textile designer is not just limited to the fashion industry. You would find one working for interior designers, apparel manufacturers, home furnishing companies and the likes. Textiles include yarns, fabrics and fibres, and you would be designing patterns for these materials. While designing textiles, you would be expected to consider the colour, fabric, flammability, elasticity and anything more depending on the use of the fabric. You would be meeting designers or clients to narrow these factors down and translate it into a design they were hoping for. Along with the design aspect, you will also be overlooking the production of these products.
Small tip for portfolio-building:
More than a bachelor’s degree, your portfolio and experience is what is taken into account. Even though employers do accept digital portfolios, it is always best to have a physical one, too. You would be working as an in-house designer and hence there is an option for training periods for beginners. It is vital to have a portfolio with original designs and knowing how to use the needed software to design patterns. This field is a constant learning process with new trends, production techniques, design software and fabrics.
Like every other career in fashion, the above mentioned fields also require a sturdy portfolio and substantial experience over a degree. Your portfolio and practice is what employers look at the most. You can manage to get a job even with just a long list of experiences to show. Although, it is not the same the other way around. Hence, use your summers wisely as a student; volunteer at fashion weeks and take up unpaid jobs if needed, to kick-start your dream career. You could later add a cover letter along with it to apply to fashion houses that match up to your personality. With the changing and growing nature of fashion, it is imperative to have a portfolio which is up to date, and to always keep polishing your skills in order to stay in the now.
No matter how difficult it may sound, don’t lose hope. Find your ambition and chase it, even if it seems hard to get to.
Edits by: Mili Doshi