How to Start a Career in the Fashion Industry

Break into the fashion industry with the #FindSpark Fashion Conference at LIM College on Saturday, March 5th. Join speakers from Free People, H&M, Jack Threads, Alexander Wang, and more for this full-day conference where they will give advice on how to get your foot into this competitive industry and how to boost your career. You’ll also get to meet and connect with the most ambitious young pros in NYC, so grab your ticket before it’s too late!

If you dream of one day strutting down the streets of NYC like Anna Wintour, you’re one of many aspiring fashionistas hoping to start a career in New York. So many stylish hopefuls dream of working in New York’s most glamorous field, making the fashion industry a tough one to break into.

But if you start preparing now, you can have a career in fashion! We spoke to the pros at LIM College in New York City to get their tips for getting started. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting front-row next to a screaming North West.

1. Self-Assess

This first step is crucial; there are so many different paths within the fashion industry. What are your strengths?

Are you a stellar writer? Do you have an knack for putting together the perfect outfit? Do you spend hours finding the best way to arrange your clothes and accessories in your room?

When you identify your strengths, you’re finding the things that make you stand out from the crowd. These are the aspects of yourself that you should highlight. They’re your biggest assets – show them off!

FindSpark LIM College Networking

2. Prepare

Preparation is key for any industry. You need to understand who you are, where you are, and where you want to be.

What are your goals? Anyone can say they want to work in the fashion industry. What about the industry excites you? What fields within it are most appealing to you – and why?

Identifying your strengths will make this easier. Build a list of your skill sets, then browse LinkedIn to find people with similar skills and see the career paths they’ve taken.

Once you’ve explored the different options open to you, you can start strategizing. How did those people get to where they are now? Everyone’s path will be different, but you can draw inspiration from them to build your own.

With a strategy to accomplish your goals, it’s time to get out there! Start networking at events or with your peers. Just remember to…

  • Dress for the occasion. When you go to interviews or networking events, find a style that balances your personality and professionalism.
  • Practice verbalizing your ‘wish list.’ What do you want and why? Practice explaining it to yourself until you’re comfortable explaining it to others.
  • Craft your elevator pitch. Your elevator pitch is a description of your background and career goals – in 30 seconds or less. Be ready to express it to employers and connections.
  • Do your research. Before you go into any job fair, networking event, or interview, know who you’ll be talking to. Research companies and speakers, know what they do, and know what they’re hiring for. Not only will you impress them, you’ll have more time to show off since you won’t have to ask all those questions.

3. Define Your Brand

Your personal brand allows people to quickly understand who you are and helps you to leave a lasting impression. Build a brand that comes across online and in-person, so it’s authentic and memorable.

Start by writing your branding statement. It’s your personal marketing package to the world. Craft something that accurately reflects who you are and where you want to go – keep it real!

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • The ‘personal brand’ effect happens before you even speak. What are you putting out there to make that first impression?
  • What are you telling the world about who you are?
  • How can you prepare for the position you want, not the position you have?

Your personal brand comes from so many aspects of yourself. Keep these in mind; what are they saying about you, and how does it align with what you want to say about yourself?

  • Personal appearance
  • Demeanor
  • Vibe
  • Attitude
  • Work ethic
  • Presentation of your experience

FindSpark LIM College Networking

4. Connect

Networking is a powerful tool. But it’s not enough to just make the connection – find creative ways to maintain it and make it last.

Before networking: prepare your personal branding statement. The easiest way to make sure someone understands who you are and what you want is to prepare that message. Know what your priorities are and what you want to get across, so you don’t waste time thinking about it in the moment.

While networking: relax! Networking doesn’t have to be awkward. You prepared for this, remember? This is where your elevator pitch comes in. Nail down what you want to say early, so you can get it across easily when you meet new people.

After networking: follow up. Seriously. Do it. There’s no point in making a new connection if you don’t take care of that relationship after. Write a thoughtful followup email, LinkedIn message, or even a tweet. If anything was promised during your initial conversation – like calling them on Monday or getting coffee the following week – make sure you follow through.

Use these quick tips to make sure your followups are genuine:

  • Write notes on the back of people’s business cards, so you can remember what you talked about.
  • Keep a rolodex of business cards every year. It may sound old-fashioned, but you never know when they’ll come in handy!
  • Separate business cards by industry, so you can find the right person quickly and easily.
  • Make a list of people you need to follow up with on your phone or a notepad as you meet them.

Breaking into the fashion industry doesn’t have to be so difficult. If you start preparing yourself now, there’s nothing you can’t do.

Break into the fashion industry with the #FindSpark Fashion Conference at LIM College on Saturday, March 5th. Join speakers from Free People, H&M, Jack Threads, Alexander Wang, and more for this full-day conference where they will give advice on how to get your foot into this competitive industry and how to boost your career. You’ll also get to meet and connect with the most ambitious young pros in NYC, so grab your ticket before it’s too late!

FindSpark LIM College

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.

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