Fashion is one of the most difficult industries to break into. So many young creatives dream of working for the many publications, designers, and startups that make fashion such a vibrant and intriguing field.
We checked in with fashion pros to hear their tips for making it work and launching your fashion career in NYC.
Mir Muneeb Anwar
Director of Operations
Walker & Company
Mir’s tip: People always say that success is when preparation meets luck. What people don’t realize is ‘luck’ in this sense isn’t some random act detached from the hard work you’ve put in. All that hard work you’ve put in has put you in the place where “luck” strikes the most. Be the best you can be, always! Ignore the distractions and keep networking. Lucks just around the corner.
Kelly Keenan Trumpbour
See Jane Invest
Kelly’s tip: Foster the relationships that will lead to good networking. It’s so much better to get to know someone before you make an ask. Like dating, this gives the person a chance to trust and value you. You will get more help more easily if your colleague knows you as a person, not a pitch.
Associate Style Editor
The Huffington Post
Chanel’s tip: Speak up! Whether it’s through your writing or physically talking, it’s the only way your passions and talents are going to be heard. It’s better to be noticed for something rather than stewing on what could happen.
East Coast Account Executive / Apparel
Elizabeth and James
Hillary’s tip: My number one career tip is to never give up regardless of the challenges you encounter. Hard work and unwavering dedication to accomplish your goals is the only way to succeed in any career. Strive to have a great attitude and embrace teamwork. Continue to network and never be afraid to ask questions, there is no dumb question, as knowledge is power. Don’t be afraid to fail, overcoming failure is what leads to your ultimate success.
Visual Merchandising Manager
Brandon’s tip: If you are in a creative field, always open your eyes and keep your mind open to what tingles your brain. Constantly take pictures of things you like, constantly write down ideas, and constantly practice your craft whether that is at work, home, or volunteering your time. This, combined with hard work, will make you develop the “feel” to be in a creative job. On the flip side of always being open, always be open to meeting new people and surrounding yourself with great people in your industry. So many opportunities come from strange places and this is how you capture those.
The Fount Group
Chauncea’s tip: Strive to be the best person you can be, challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone and turn your weaknesses into strengths!
Evelyn’s tip: Update your skills or get new ones by taking classes when you can. Take continuing education classes, or even online courses like those found on Coursera.org.
Adrian’s tip: Working in fashion isn’t an extended shopping trip. Expect to pay your dues and work your ass off while keeping a smile on your face in painful shoes that sometimes don’t fit you, but look absolutely fabulous. Oh and say please and thank you – it goes a long way.
Laura’s tip: Be adventurous and never stop learning — whether that means supplementing your current experiences or taking the plunge to try completely new ones! You never know what you might learn about yourself in the process, or who you might meet.
Senior Editor /Contributing Freelance Writer
Fashion Bomb Daily/Brides.com/Glamour.com
Faith’s tip: Be willing to work harder than anyone else and know that the road to success is a long journey, but a fulfilling one. Your work ethic will always set you apart for the rest of your life. Get into the habit of giving your all and know that sometimes putting in hours or weekends is just a part of inching closer to your dream. You will need that vacation every few months to disconnect, rest, and rejuvenate, but never fear or shy away from the hard work.
The New York Times
Denise’s tip: Find something that you love and just keep at it, and maintain a strong and diverse professional network. Sometimes the best help comes from the most unexpected places.
Social Media Consultant
Amanda’s tip: Always be open to new opportunities and challenges. You never know where they may lead! Also, my favorite quote from the movie Dan In Real Life, “Plan to be surprised.”
Shannon’s tip: Learn how to say no, but only use it when you need to–don’t be afraid to say yes to opportunities, but only if they benefit you and they’re what you truly want.
Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer
Rank & Style
Pooja’s tip: It’s OK if you haven’t figured out exactly what you want to do yet! Figuring out your career is as much about figuring out what you DON’T like as much as what you DO like. Every experience matters and helps to narrow things down – and if you find yourself in a place you never expected – often times you’ve landed exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Estée Lauder Companies
Marisa’s tip: From the moment you walk in the door to a new job, whether it’s for an interview or the first day, be sure to be nice to everyone. From security to reception to the people you meet in the elevator, you never know where it may lead you.
Kelli J. Bartlett
Director of Makeup Artistry
Kelli’s tip: When dealing with set backs, I always think about what my Nana would say: “Rise above it!” Sometimes you have to teach people how to treat you, so don’t be afraid to voice your style.
Annie Laurie Malarkey
NY Community Partnerships Manager
Annie’s tip: Always lead with a compliment if you are cold emailing someone for the first time. If you say, “I’ve read these three articles you’ve written and they have changed my perspective in this way,” you will have a much greater chance of getting an in-person meeting!
Tiffany’s tip: Dare to follow your dreams. Don’t waste your life living someone else’s thoughts of who you should become. Listen to your own inner voice and have the courage to follow your intuition. Embrace adversity. Your ability to overcome hard situations allows you to grow, learn, and instill change. Don’t be afraid to fail. Use it as a tool to keep getting better. At the end of every day, ask yourself if you did something that made you proud.
Social Media Manager
Eileen’s tip: Challenge yourself! It’s easy to get comfortable but don’t be afraid to ask your manager about other projects with which you can assist or take on. This will improve your skill set while learning something new.
Social Media Marketing Manager
Sarah’s tip: Every rejection you get and every mistake you make is just an opportunity to learn and advance in the field that you’ve chosen. Don’t give up. Take the criticism and improve on it. You win or you learn.
rag & bone
Emily’s tip: Early on, focusing on climbing the ladder will only get you so far. Be curious and develop relationships. Gain as much experience as you can to get you farther in the future.
Senior Audience Development Editor
Rebecca’s tip: When you’re deciding what you want to do, don’t limit yourself. It’s so easy to assume you can’t do something, and then not try. You never know what will be your next passion.
Ready to get start your fashion career? Join us at LIM College on Saturday, March 5th for #FindSpark Fashion Conference. Speakers from H&M, JackThreads, Time Inc, Calvin Klein, Refinery29, and more are dying to meet you! Learn more and register at findspark.com/fashionconference
The business of fashion is an exhilarating, fast-paced field offering hundreds of dazzling career options. Located in New York City, the fashion capital of the world, LIM College prepares students for exciting careers in every aspect of the fashion industry.