Breaking Into the Fashion Industry
How to Land Your Ideal Fashion Job

How to Land Your Ideal Fashion Job

Fashion is a tough and competitive industry that can seem impossible to break into but with some planning and determination it can be one of the most rewarding and creative careers around.

Work in the Fashion Industry

There’s a myriad of roles within the fashion industry ranging from the production side to the creative and design side to the business side. So whether you want to be a fashion designer or a pattern maker or a fashion buyer if you have a passion for fashion you can find a niche that suits your skills, talents and abilities.

To get you thinking here are 20 different jobs for fashionistas to get you thinking: fashion designer, milliner, costume designer, swimwear designer, bridal gown designer, buyer, retail, journalist, photographer, pattern maker, cutter, machinist, stylist, model, model agent, fashion recruitment agent, events management planner, fashion magazine editor, footwear designer and fashion illustrator.

All of these careers need some form of training from TAFEs to private colleges to university educations to start getting the skills you need to start opening doors and building your industry network.

In Australia the main areas for fashion study are in Melbourne and Sydney because that’s where the industry is based. The university courses at RMIT, UTS and CIT in Canberra are usually more for those focusing on becoming a fashion or textile designer and are based around theory and practical.

The TAFE courses are more practical and develop excellent skills in production, design, manufacturing, business development and planning, merchandising and marketing. They range from certificates and diplomas for clothing and textile production and design to millinery and footwear.

There are a range of private colleges offering courses as well and while many are excellent they can be more expensive than the TAFE courses and cover many of the similar topics. Others give you access to skills and experience that are exactly what’s required by certain employers. So do your research so you can make the best decisions for where you want to be.

Win genuine gemstone jewellery in gold with She Inspires! Doing your research before deciding on your course of study is vital but it is the starting that is most important. Sometimes just starting with a taster course is the best option as it lets you get a clearer idea of what you want to be doing.

When you’re studying you need to consider finding the balance of study, work (paid and voluntary) and personal life so you can get the most out the experience. Study environments like universities, colleges and TAFEs can be very creative and offer great opportunities for personal growth. If you’re always dashing off for the next work assignment then you can miss out on having the time and space to let your creative spirit flourish.

Work Experience

Getting work experience within the fashion industry is vital for success. It is a requirement for nearly all courses and all employers look for it. The challenge can be deciding what is the best sort of work experience to get under your belt.

One way to find out what you need is to go through the job advertisement for your ideal fashion industry jobs and list what skills and experience is being requested and viewed favourably. This will show you what is needed to focus on with your choice of work experience opportunities.

As most fashion businesses within Australia are small businesses you’ll find it easier to get access for volunteer work experience as there is always a need for an extra pair of hands.

You can find a range of interesting small and growing businesses being profiled in the media so it is important to read a broad range of publications both online and in print. You can also find a good selection of creative businesses at the local markets like Paddington, The Rocks etc where many small fashion businesses are building a customer base.

Being organised with your planning for education and work experience can make it a lot easier to stay on track when you have a busy schedule. Try having a folder that you can keep all the information together like article clippings about interesting designers and businesses locally and internationally you want to work with, details about courses and classes, magazine subscription details, network contact events and details, design and business ideas, all the little bits of information that comes your way that you need to keep together so you can easily access them again.

By being focused, using your initiative and giving things a go you'll be able to find a way into the industry.

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