Monday, June 14, 2010

Fashion 101: Fashion Career Talk

*Sourced and edited by Dayana Sobri

How’d You Get So Far? Three Honest Answers to Succeeding in Fashion

I know how hard it is to get a job in this industry, even in a good economy. And I’d like to help you as much as I can.

So I’ve gathered some of fashion’s finest to extend their sage advice on how to make it in this business.

I covered some of the fashion career bases: designer, journalist and editor. Hopefully their real answers will help you when it comes time to carving your own career path.

Joe Zee, Creative Director, Elle magazine

How did you get started?
Perseverance. I moved to NYC with only one goal: to work in magazines. It was the early Nineties and there was a recession but I didn’t care. I still sent out 18 resumes and got 16 job interviews. Ultimately, I started at Allure magazine in the fashion department.

Name one quality that contributed to your success.
Being open and pushing myself. I am always open to new ideas, unique ideas and different viewpoints. And the best part is you never know where these ideas come from: I love speaking with everyone, listening to everything and watching it all. I can be inspired by everything from music to art to food. And I am always pushing myself to learn and do something new and embrace what’s next. In the end, isn’t that what fashion should be all about?

What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring fashion editor/stylist trying to make it in the industry?
Assist. There’s nothing like roll-up-your-sleeves, all-hands-on-deck assisting where you can see and learn everything. My advice is find someone whose work you admire and aim to assist them. Their knowledge, experience and expertise will be tremendous in your own career path and the people you meet along the way will be invaluable. But always keep in mind that no task is too menial or job too small—just do it all. I had the privilege of assisting Polly Mellen and Lori Goldstein when I first started out and that experience still lives with me in everything I do.

Pamela Love, Jewelry Designer

How did you get started?
I started out wanting to do a million different things. College was a really confusing time for me, and when I got out I was completely lost. I was working on all kinds of projects and making jewelry with a friend of mine. It was more like a hobby than anything. But it quickly became something I wanted to dedicate all my time to. I wanted to learn everything I could about making jewelry. I didn’t go to school for it so I had to learn on my own and through apprenticeships with jewelers. Every season I learn new techniques and work with new materials. I will never stop my jewelry education. I am really thankful that found something I am so in love with.

Name one quality that contributed to your success.
It’s a combination of things. For me, working hard, following my instincts and having really supportive people in my life have all contributed to what I have achieved so far. I lost my father almost four years ago, and that also affected things for me. I really wanted to work hard and make him proud of me, and it also reminded me that life is short. It’s important to spend your time doing the things you love most and living passionately.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to a young designer trying to make it in the industry?
Follow your instincts! Don’t get discouraged! Sometimes things can be really tough before they get good, and it’s important to not let that stop you.

Eric Wilson, Fashion Journalist, The New York Times

How did you get started?
I called up the editors at Women’s Wear Daily, which I had been reading since college, and asked for a job. Repeatedly. I was turned down for the shampoo beat and an editorial assistant position before landing a job on the third try, covering ready-to-wear, the furs, suits and dresses beat.

Name one quality that contributed to your success.
Curiosity. I want to know why designers do what they do, why one suit can cost $4,999 and another costs $49.99, why one designer succeeds and another fails over and over again, why an editor has the power to change fashion, and why people buy so many more clothes than they could possibly need. After 13 years of asking these questions, I’m still curious.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to a young journalist trying to make it in the industry?
Keep your goals in mind and never forget them. Throughout your career, whether you are just starting out or have become part of the establishment, you will constantly be reminded that tomorrow, you could be nothing. It doesn’t matter. There’s always a day after tomorrow. Be honest. Be fair. If you are good at communicating what it is you want to do, whether writing a story, styling a model or building a career, you will find your subjects more willing to cooperate.

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