8 Things I Learned as a Fashion Student
When one thinks of a "fashion student", you can't help but reference Gossip Girl's Jenny Humphrey (maybe minus the psycho) ,or young and charismatic Carrie Bradshaw following her dreams in The Carrie Diaries.
For those of you who didn't know, I just wrapped up my first year as a Fashion student studying Marketing & Fashion Publishing. Being in New York City, the hub of fashion, has provided me with lessons that I didn't happen to learn from Jenny's numerous mental breakdowns or Carrie's dreamy encounters with Austin Butler.
1. Research, CONSTANTLY.
When I mean constantly, I mean it literally. I always spent time reading fashion books, magazines, and articles- but once I started school it was on another level. Be prepared to set aside time and do your research, using Vogue, The Zoe Report, WWD, Who What Wear, Business of Fashion, etc.
Also, I don't just mean keep up with the trends. You will need to keep up with the industry. This means how politics are affecting the industry, the ethics of fashion/sustainability, how companies are doing in profits, new CEO's, business ventures, etc.
(I never knew when my professor would ask who knew who the new CEO of Ralph Lauren was for extra credit.)
2. Confidence is Key
The way you carry yourself is important. To me, I pretty much mastered the art of BS'ing. If you don't know something, you need to act confident like you do. Present your ideas in a Confident matter, because if you sound like you're unsure of what you're saying, so will the person you're listening to. If you're at an interview, make sure that person knows that you are READY for this job/internship/opportunity. Self Doubting is normal, but if people sense too much of it, they may think you're not ready.
3. Don't Be Afraid to Say Hello
In the Fashion Industry, connections are important. Networking is important. Don't be afraid to go to career fairs and introduce yourself. Don't be afraid to keep up with a professor if you know they've worked in the industry. It can seem difficult, but taking the step is what will show people you've got what it takes. Don't be afraid to send that email, or strike up that conversation. You got this, even if your self doubt may be telling you you don't.
4. You Better Work, B.
Experience is everything. Don't fear starting small. You don't need to start off at VOGUE. Whether its starting your own blog, or working at a retail store, any amount of experience pays off in the end. You will have to experience some hands on, physical, and draining work but it will pay off in the end.
5. Take the Initiative
Never think you are too young. For my past 2 Internships, I have been surrounded by Grad students, college seniors and juniors. If you think you have what it takes to meet the requirements and tasks of an internship/job, go for it, and prove to them why you're a qualified candidate. Rejection may happen, but your initiative can often bring you a success. You never know if you never try.
6. It's a Competitive World.
The Fashion Industry is changing constantly and it's competitive. Don't let failure tear you down. My first year has taught me that every-time a door is closed, a new one will be opened for you. Trust Me.
7. Inspiration is EVERYWHERE.
My creative mindset and personal style really upgraded after my first year. Being in such a creative driven environment, you will think your work is draining all your creative energy, but in fact–it's strengthening it. Never be afraid to walk down 5th Ave and take pictures of that new Visual Display. There are days where on my lunch break I simply would walk into Saks and study their new arrivals and visuals. You will not only see things that inspire you, but you will meet professors, students, and alumni who will inspire you.
8. Fashion can be Beneficial
There is a materialistic stereotype that carries in Fashion. I agree, there are a lot of materialistic aspects and in my first year I learned the waste that can come along with the industry from us consumers. But from this, I learned how Fashion can make a difference. I learned the importance of Ethical Fashion + Sustainability. I learned that we must research the clothes we buy, control how much we buy, and really have knowledge on who makes the clothes we wear. I am not the perfect shopper, but little changes can have a big effect in the long run. There is more to what we buy.
My biggest take away from my first year as a Fashion Student is that there's more to the industry than we know. Because behind it all, there's morals, and there's definition. Fashion can be used to empower. In any fast paced industry, it's important to take a step back, be conscious, and acknowledge our purpose. it's important to make sure you are not letting the speed of the wave take you along with it, but rather sail your own ship.