Having been part of the fashion industry for a while now, I get many people asking me the secret behind surviving in the fashion industry. Apart from being talented and having a natural flare for the job, a few tips that can help anyone in the industry are:
1. Develop your skills
Practice, practice and more practice. Whether it is binge-watching videos, or scanning through pictures, it is important you take the time to perfect your art in the fashion industry.
If you want to be a model, practice your runway-walk, angles you can pose in, the look in your eye. If you want to be a stylist, style everything and everyone you can. As a make-up artist and hair stylist, practice on people with different skin tones and hair texture, highlight different aspects in every look you practice.
An aspiring photographer or stylist needs to find inspiration everywhere and in every frame they see. Take the time to experiment and find the niche you are most comfortable with.
2. Work towards an outstanding portfolio
Invest in compiling a profile that showcases your work in the fashion industry. Take small assignments that allow you to experiment and include something new in your portfolio. Try being part of projects that need you to go out of your comfort zone and learn something you have not done before.
Take the time to compile a resume that highlights your work and you. Your portfolio is the first thing any agency or client will look at and having a well rounded and impressive one is very important.
Invest in high quality images, and links of various projects that make you stand out from the crowd. Having both an online version as well as printer copy of your portfolio is advisable in today’s work culture.
3. Work towards constantly improving yourself
The fashion industry is forever evolving and growing, and being able to constantly learn and improve oneself is an important skill everyone in this industry should have.
The fashion industry may need you to replicate a project from the past or envision something completely new, different and creative; to be able to do both you need to be open to learning and improving your skills in your field.
Every day, a new trend is being envisioned and new boundaries are broken in this industry, and being able to adapt to the constant change is an important way to become successful in the fashion industry.
4. Embrace rejection
You will not be the right person for every project in the fashion industry, no matter how willing you are to dedicate yourself to the assignment.
At times like this it is important to accept the rejection gracefully and maintain a respectful relationship with the agency and/or client so that they may consider for future projects that you may qualify for.
5. Be professional
Every assignment in the fashion industry relies on the work of multiple people. It is important to be professional and prompt in the fashion industry, as everyone can be replaced with another artist or another face.
Reply to emails in a timely manner, return calls if you miss them, be on time (in fact, being early doesn’t hurt) for meetings and shoots.
Nobody wants to work with a diva.
Sometimes, agencies and clients in the fashion industry think it is more beneficial for them to hire someone who has a strong social media following as it will get their products and services a larger audience and more attention.
While it may not be a very important aspect, but having a decent following on social media may just be the extra boost you need to land a project.
While these points can help you become successful in the fashion industry, the most important thing to note when entering the industry is to know your end goal or five-year plan in the industry.
Do you want to work only nationally or internationally? Are you experimental or would you rather work only on traditional assignments? Knowing your end goal will help you pick the right assignments, and network with the right people in the industry.
Finding a mentor who will guide you to reach your internship goal is as important as working hard to achieve your goal.