Breaking into the fashion industry

Guest post by Hannah Lawrence at Inspiring Interns

Getting a job in the fashion industry is not just about your love of shopping (though that doesn’t hurt). To break into such a competitive industry is tricky business. Living for the style pages, having a monthly subscription to Wonderland and being able to spot a Vivienne Westwood design from a mile off is a good start but to really stand-out in an oversubscribed industry you need that little bit extra on your CV.

Passion for the industry is key

Each year 4,000 graduates from fashion-related courses compete for around 500 jobs. The sector is very competitive and challenging to break into without knowing someone on the inside or having some relevant work experience. An internship is a great way to gain valuable experience, make some important contacts and ultimately secure your dream graduate job.

The concept central to every meaningful graduate internship is that the experience should be primarily about learning so that, on completion of the internship, you will be a valued and informed employee. A fashion intern should be indoctrinated into the fashion world, and leave the experience with working knowledge of technical aspects of the subject and a clearer view of the industry.

The fashion industry involves many different departments, businesses and processes with a vast amount of exciting possibilities available. With such a large range of roles from fashion journalism, event planning and buying to designing, styling and photography, your choices are endless. If you are unsure of which direction to take then an internship can be the best way to test the waters without having to commit to a job.

Once you have got an internship it is important to make the most of the opportunity. To prepare you should familiarise yourself with the company and the industry. Make sure you volunteer for projects that interest you and show lots of enthusiasm. Make sure you keep a diary of all your newly required skills so you can update your CV. Doing an internship is a great chance to develop connections in your chosen industry so ask questions, network and build a list of contacts.

I asked fashion intern Amy Sillince about her internship experiences, she had this to say;

“My internship experiences have varied greatly from working in PR agencies, to covering the shows at London Fashion Week, to merchandising brand’s websites and writing blog posts for them. I think it is the skills, knowledge and contacts that I’ve obtained during my work experience that makes it worthwhile.”

“I know I’ve spent every spare minute of my time doing something productive, and I can finally see it starting to pay off. I’ve had the most fun I probably ever will; I’ve met some amazing people who have not only become useful contacts but also great friends.”

Inspiring Interns actively match graduates and employers, eager to create opportunities where there is potential for interns to earn permanent employment. We have placed over 900 interns at companies since we were established in January 09 with most of our vacancies based in London.  We have a success rate of 65% of the interns we place being taken on permanently by the company they interned for and 93% of interns securing a full-time job within a month of doing an internship.

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