Thursday, 7 February 2013

A Tip of the Hat to You

With work being busier, more challenging and more demanding then I could ever have predicted when I started this blog, I have neglected my updates.

After a crash landing in reality I have come to realise everything my lecturers ever told me about the fashion industry is indeed true; hard work, long hours, a distinct lack of glamour and completely thrilling.

In my job as an Assistant Buyer I am involved in the whole process; from trend forecasting, design, product development, picking Pantones, fabrics and trims to making sure the final garment is perfection, to thinking of and finding the finishing touches (in this case cufflinks, tie bars, 1930's arm bands and pocket squares).

Working in menswear I have a constant eye on the latest blogs, mens magazines and websites like Mr Porter and of course the painstaking chore of picking male models to shoot our shirts on...

I love this industry, I couldn't imagine being part of anything else, it's dynamic, rewarding, challenging, ever-changing, inspirational, beautiful, creative and has a vast depth. I would recommend this to anyone but it's not without it's difficulties.

Tips for starting out in the world of fashion

1. Leave your ego a-go-go - This is a competitive and difficult world to work in, if you are think you are too good to run errands for your seniors, someone else will.

2. Think positive - Difficult days are a plenty but the rewarding one make up for it - just remember that.

3. Get as much experience as possible when at Uni / college - It's the only time in your life when you can really work for free, student loan and an abundance of time make this the perfect opportunity - do anything and everything - you won't know if you want to do it until you've done it!

4. Network - It's hard and often shamelessly cringey but, again, if you don't someone else will. Business cards are a good idea, you never know when you may meet someone influential and it's more professional than scribbling your name and number in the back of a receipt. Linked In is also a great networking site, even making friends with people on your course - you don't know which one may be the next Anna Wintour.

5. Always be professional - Every company is different but, at least at first, it's usually better to dress smart and be polite, recently a girl came to do a two week placement in our buying office - she wore an offensive T-shirt and swore like a sailor, needless to say she won't be coming back!

6. Write down everything - I have a million lists; potential companies to send my CV to when I graduate (about a million at the last count...) , potential career avenues, contacts I've made networking, things I've learnt at work, things I want to learn before I leave (what exactly is the difference between at satin and a sateen?!) skills I need to develop, courses I could take to do this and 1001 different things.

7. Constantly look at job adverts - You may not be in the position to apply (they may be too senior, you might be happy where you are or you might have a degree to finish like me) but you need to know what's out there, where it is, how much it pays and most importantly - what you need to be successful in getting the job when the time comes.

8. Keep up to date - Vogue, Elle, Harpers, Drapers, blogs, fashion shows anything and everything - it will always be useful!

9. Stay inspired - It's a creative industry above everything else and sometimes a day spent doing nothing other than emailing and phoning that supplier half way across the world about some very boring technical issue may make you forget once in a while. Read a book, watch a film, knock up a piece of art - it's all relevant.

10. And back to number 2... Stay positive - it's a tough cookie to crack and may take it's time, you may have to pay your dues running errands for a year or two or suffer job rejection but...

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