Monday, 16 June 2008

Graduate Fashion Week: How to get ahead in fashion

So did anyone make it to Graduate Fashion Week? We did! It was really impressive and we discovered a whole heap of untapped talent out there. Naturally, we homed in on the fashion promotion graduates and found some great writing talent at the University College for the Creative Arts at Epsom. One student called Kate Tregoning had interviewed the editor-in-chief of Grazia (our fave mag). Kudos! We are hoping to publish it here but are waiting for permission first. We were also lucky enough to be allowed in to the Careers Clinic on Thursday which was the newly created 'education day' for 14-18 year old fashionistas-in-the-making. Caryn Franklin compered the talk, an insightful panel discussion about how to nab a career in fashion. Among the panellists were Lorraine Candy and Avril Mair (editor and fashion features director of Elle), Christopher Hodge (Fashion Programme Leader from Northumbria University), Catherine Bell (senior editor of fashion forcasting agency WGSN), Richard Bradbury (CEO of River Island) and Henry Holland (needs no introduction).

Even though we though we knew it all we did pick up some handy hints so feeling generous, we thought we'd share them here:

All fashion peeps from designers to fashion editors to fashion PRs get inundated with work experience applications. To distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack, Catherine Bell advises you to use visuals to help your application stand out. Mood boards, scrap-books or a print-out of your blog could all give you the edge over the next person. Richard Bradbury implores you to do your preparation. If you do your research and pepper your application with proof that you know your stuff, you're more likely to get that oh-so-elusive placement. Avril suggests keeping up with fashion blogs to stay ahead of the curve. She regularly reads and Style Bubble. Who knows, maybe she even reads yours?

One of the fun parts of the discussion was finding out what everyone's school reports said. Lorraine's said she was a hard-worker (swot!), Avril's flagged up her passion and curiosity (essential journalist qualities), Chris's said he was interested in everything and Henry's bemoaned that he was too creative. Too creative! How can there be such a thing? Caryn quite proudly revealed that her school report said 'Caryn will not get a good job by being the most fashionably dressed girl in the school.' Of course, she promptly went on to be the fashion editor of ID and present Britain's best-loved fashion TV prog.

Fashion is all about knowing what's going to happen next. Henry Holland stressed the importance of trying to look ahead beyond what's happening now. Richard backed this up suggesting that by observing and people-watching you can tune your trend radar into what's bubbling under so you can predict the trends of the future. We would add that this is top advice and fun too! So keep tabs on what people are wearing (and not wearing) fashion and beauty-wise around you at school, in the park, on street-style blogs and among your friends.

All the panellists agreed that you don't go into fashion for the money. The thing that keeps them all loving what they do is the fun and creativity they get from their jobs. No-one said it was easy and this is a lesson well worth remembering. Working hard is the number one quality you need to succeed in fashion, crazily enough it's even more important than having talent (don't believe us? Just look at Victoria Beckham).

The most useful message we took away with us was one we already knew but can always be reiterated. Keep pushing ahead. Often, whatever stage you're at in your career, you'll find there are times when things aren't moving. Maybe you're not motivated, maybe you've lost your creative mojo or maybe you're just not getting the breaks. Don't give up and don't dwell on it. Just keep pushing ahead. Go through the motions and keep doing what you have to do. After ten unanswered emails you'll get an answered one. After ten false starts at customising a T-shirt you'll get your breakthrough. After ten job rejections you'll get an interview. And when you do, all the effort will be worth it.

1 comment:

emsie said...

some great tips!

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