On studying & working in fashion

If 5 years ago someone told me I would be doing a degree in fashion and my first real job would be revolving around clothes, I would (not) quite politely tell them to stop insulting me. Funny how things change, as now I get offended whenever someone doubts if fashion can be a real degree and whether my job has any purpose other than trying to empty your wallets.

Back then I had a mindset similar to that of many – I thought people who work in fashion are shallow and not very intelligent. We all know the stereotype from the films and we all felt proud watching Ann Hathaway give up the world of expensive, shiny shoes in favour of staying sane and fulfilling her “real” ambitions. (Come on, working in fashion can’t be a real ambition, can it?)

It only takes a tiny bit of research to see that fashion is actually a pretty serious business. And in fact, one of the most inspirational and hardworking people I’ve ever met work in fashion. But we love those stereotypes because they’re funny, they make things easier and why should we change yet another simple thing as clothes into something complicated.

And don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that we can save the world with fashion. All I’m trying to say is: here is why I chose to study fashion, why I am proud to be a part of this industry, and why is it worth to consider it as a career path.

First of all, what a lot of people seem to forget about, fashion as a business is worth 3 trillion dollars. 3 TRILLION dollars. (That’s a lot of shoes) It provides jobs for approx. 120 million people globally – twice the population of UK. It is, also, second only to the oil industry when it comes to pollution. Yes, the last statistics is nothing to be proud of, but shows how big of an impact this industry has on the world and why fashion education is just as important as any other. Maybe we could save the world with fashion in the end?

When I was in my early teenage years I had a really strange idea about fashion brands. I knew someone designed the clothes. I also knew someone had to shoot those campaigns that make us buy the 3rd pair of jeans that month, because this one, maybe, finally will make us as happy as the model from the picture.  But all the rest – the planning, construction, production, all the logistics, costing, it just somehow happened and I never gave it any more thought. There was the designer (just one, of course), the marketing, and as I eventually discovered, PR. I was silly back then, I know. But not a lot of everyday consumers know that actually, there is so many different people with different backgrounds involved before we get to buy the end product. There are whole teams of trend forecasters, designers, garment technologists, buyers, merchandisers and marketing specialists working behind the scenes. And hey, all these roles are career opportunities!

And here is another surprise, especially if you’re from Poland – fashion design is not the only fashion course you can take. There are courses that can prepare you for any of the jobs available in the industry. There’s fashion design, textiles, fashion marketing, PR, fashion buying & merchandising, even BSc courses in fashion technology. And as much as I’m sorry to say this those courses probably won’t teach you the secret ways of taking fire outfit photos and getting a verified Instagram account. But instead, you could learn how Donald Trump becoming a president can influence the cost of making a t-shirt, or even influence what kind of t-shirt you will be looking for in shops in half a year time.  Or, if you’re more of a science geek, you can research the use of nanotechnology in textiles and be involved in revolutionizing the clothes we wear every day. Would be cool if our clothes washed themselves, wouldn’t it?

And no, we can’t all study and work in fashion, and god –  we shouldn’t! All I really meant to say here is that fashion industry is not as shallow and brainless as we like to think. Even though 70% of my friends and family don’t understand what I’m doing with my life – I promise, I do way more than just flipping through the pages of Vogue.  Fashion industry has tons of opportunities for those who are looking for it, and that’s the important part. If you, like me, didn’t realise this and you have a feeling that it might be a choice for you, then don’t be afraid to go for it! And feel free to ask me any questions.

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3 thoughts on “On studying & working in fashion

  1. Hi Anita,

    This was such a beautiful post to come across. I’ve recently (well over a year now) pursued my passion for fashion and left my permanent job last year April. Having to approach clients and get more followers on my Instagram page has proven to be near impossible. Are you able to share your insights on how to start approaching brands and potential clients for projects as a new fashion stylist?
    oh and i’m all the way in South Africa 🙂
    xxx

    Like

  2. Hi Itumeleng,
    Thank you for your comment! Glad to hear you’re pursueing your dreams, hope it’s working out for you!
    I see that you’re actually doing really well with social media following, so perhaps you could give me some advice instead! 😉
    What I would say is just be patient, keep going and make sure you have some good content – the kind of content you would like to see/read and follow yourself. Show off your styling skills, share your inspirations, your aesthetics etc. And the most important thing – comment, share, like, be involved, and people will come to you. Not in a follow for follow kind of way;) but when you leave a quality comment somewhere it doesn’t go unnoticed and more and more people will check out your profile. And you never know who looks! I would also check out some facebook groups and websites related to work in fashion (even Linkedin) – I know there are often some advertisements there, or you could try contact photographers/models/make up artists to see if they could use help with the styling for the next photoshoot. Fashion is a really small world where connections are everything, so the best way to get new clients and projects is networking!
    And fortunately we live in an amazing world where it’s so fast and easy to connect with people:)

    All the best and good luck!

    Like

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