So, you want to work in the fashion industry? You’re not alone. Many other talented, driven and ambitious candidates are ready to fight for their very own spot in the industry. How do you set yourself apart from the pack? How do you prove that you’re the one to hire? We spoke with guest blogger, John Walker, who has been in the fashion industry for years! Read his tips on how to stand out at your fashion internship.
1. Speak Up. First, congratulations on scoring the internship in the first place! This proves that you are already way ahead of the crowd. Now you have to absolutely rock that internship. This means speaking up and asking for more responsibility. The fashion industry is full of temperamental designers surrounded by “yes-men.” Don’t be a sycophant. Speak up when the hangers on are wrong…just make sure that you do so respectfully.
2. Don’t Wait. Get Started ASAP. Do not wait for someone to “notice you” to start producing your own work. Yes, you’re busy. We all are. Find time to design or produce your own stuff. The internet makes this ridiculously easy. You can set up a website and sell your designs through it. You can sell your work to boutiques on consignment. Sure, you’re learning a lot at your internship; but if you wait until after the internship to get started, you’ll fall behind.
3. Break Some Rules. There are some worlds in which sticking to the rules and being the best rule-follower will help you get ahead. Fashion is not one of those worlds. Fashion is a world in which risks are taken—and often rewarded. . It’s a world in which we look for ways to turn things upside down. If the ideas you have don’t exactly jive with what’s currently on the runway, don’t throw them out! Work with them. The idea that seems crazy to you now could be the next September cover of Vogue.
4. Ask Questions. Ask your mentors for their insights. Remember: fashion pros are notoriously and famously insecure. Even the big names worry that one little nose wrinkle from Anna Wintour could completely ruin their empires. They worry that -- even if they’re the toast of Paris now -- nobody will actually buy their latest line when it hits the stores. Asking for advice and insight shows “the biggies” that you still think they are brilliant and that there’s value in what they have to say. It’s an ego-boost for them and valuable insight and teaching for you -- AKA, a win-win.
5. Gush Now… And then get over it. Asking for advice and help is one thing. Flipping out and gushing every time someone walks into a room makes you creepy and annoying. Never forget that you are a professional. Act like it. You can spaz out on the inside, but work on that poker face so that it doesn’t continue to show.
At the same time, you don’t want to come off as completely aloof or like you truly do not care about the person you’re inwardly fan girl-ing out over. There’s a fine and respectful balance in which you can show that you value someone’s presence but you aren’t going to lose your mind over it. Find that balance and master it.
Finally: stop reading about how to launch that fashion career…and go out and launch that fashion career!
John Walker is a community manager for ooShirts, a custom t-shirts design company focused on creativity and design for custom shirts. Jim has been involved in the marketing, design, and printing of shirts for quite some time as his interest in the business of fashion led him into the personalized shirt business.