Tips for Launching a Career in Fashion

If fashion is more than just a hobby for you but is instead a genuine passion, you might have thought of turning it into a career. Whether this is a career change for you or you are just thinking about entering the job market for the first time, there are steps you can take to plan for success.

Career Options

Fashion designer is probably the first thing that comes to mind when most people think about these types of careers, and this can be an exciting area. It can also be highly competitive. Keep in mind that if you love fashion but feel as though your talents lie somewhere other than art and design, the industry needs accountants, IT professionals and administrative assistants just like any other. This would keep you adjacent to a field you love while building on your strengths. If you do specifically want to work on a fashion career, there are a number of other types of design-related jobs including textile designer or stylist. If you are more business-oriented, you might enjoy working as a buyer. Public relations is another choice that puts you in the middle of the industry but draws on people-focused rather than design skills.


If you want a career in design, you should study fashion design, merchandising or a similar field. While you’re still in school, you should start to put together a portfolio. If you want to go into the buying side of fashion, you may want to seek a business degree with a minor in a fashion-related subject. Student loans are one way to pay for your education. You may be eligible for need-based federal student loans, and you can also apply for private student loans, which are not need-based. Be sure to look for loans with low interest rates. Many people combine student loans with other funding sources, including savings, grants and scholarships.

Breaking In

Fashion can be a tough field to break into, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It only means it might take a little more leg work on your part than some other industries would. Networking can be particularly important in a field like this one. Join professional organizations and start attending events while you are still a student if possible. A mentor can be invaluable. If you’re a designer, you need to have a top-notch portfolio. There are a lot of ways to get experience and showcase your ability, and even if these approaches do not directly lead to employment, you can learn a great deal from them. For example, vlogging, in which you document your own or others’ styles, can be a launchpad to success. Working in fashion retail may not sound very glamorous, but it will give you a look at how things work on the ground as well as a sense of various types of fabric and styling and how clothes fit different people. Volunteering in the costume department of your campus or community theater or even learning to sew can also offer valuable experience.

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