For the fashion industry, the requirements are kicked up a big notch. Jobs and internships within fashion are insanely competitive, every year thousands of young students apply for jobs and internships, hoping to make it big. In the end, it comes down to a few things: talent, skills, and most of the time pure luck. Whether you went to one of the big fashion universities or just have a big heart for fashion and just want to work within the lucrative industry, here are some of the certain skills you should acquire to make it big.
To work in fashion, you need to speak AT LEAST 3 languages. The classic French, English and Italian combination is always a good go-to as most of the luxury fashion companies are based in France and Italy. If you speak this trio of languages, you could technically work wherever you want! English is already the language of the world and spoken mostly everywhere, combined with French to speak with seamstresses or other teams, and Italian to work with communication and production teams, there’s a plethora of job opportunities awaiting. Nowadays however, thanks to the huge fashion boom in China, companies are also looking for people who speak Chinese. Thankfully, technology has made it immensely easier to learn a language by introducing new resources: for example, with language learning app Babbel available for all devices including iOS and among the most popular today, you can pick up a new language and practice while on the go.
Perhaps one of the most important personality traits you could have to work in this tough industry is thick skin. Don’t expect people to pat you on the back and say “good job” every now and then. Usually people are nicer however than Miranda Priestley from the Devil Wears Prada, however every now and then you may encounter a Miranda or two on your path. Be ready to face to a certain degree, mental abuse by being told your work is not good enough or be prepared to not get recognized when you did a good job, and be yelled at for small things. When you are an intern, this is even more prominent. Be ready to clock in long hours, maybe not even that high of a salary, and to be feeling a bit alone at the beginning. If you are rather sensitive and tend to take things personally, maybe working in the fashion industry isn’t right for you. It isn’t common that sometimes people need to go to therapy to talk about their work problems. Take the mental and emotional capacity into consideration when deciding.
Fashion trends don’t just get pulled out of a hat. What people are wearing and how they are wearing it are based off how the world is behaving right now. You need to be aware of global trends such as women’s rights, transgender legislations, political news, etc. For example, from the feminist movement that began almost 2 years ago, Dior began creating t-shirts that said “We are all feminists” in response to the recent rise and demand for women’s rights. It’s important to respond to society in fashion, whether it’s by creating masks to respond to high pollution levels, or sheer shirts for body freedom, you need to be able to respond to society and what people are wanting to represent.
They say fashion goes in a 20-year cycle which actually is kind of true. You need to be able to understand fashion’s past and history in order to understand the future. You need to be open to studying and researching what happened in the 80’s for example and why women were wearing power suits. You need to be able to understand the historical meaning behind something and why women were dressing. For example, now look at the late 90’s and how people are dressing now, do you notice anything similar?
Fashion is something that is sold globally, but not all brands are successful globally. This is thanks to cultural diversions and customs and you need to be able to understand why in certain cultures somethings work, while in others they don’t. For example, in India white is the color worn for funerals while in the rest of the world, it’s just a normal color. You need to be able to understand that in some cultures, they can wear certain things like spikes or masks, and in others you will not because it is weird and not normal. You can become more culturally aware by reading and being well-traveled.
There are many skills and attributes needed to work in the fashion industry, but these are the most important ones. If you think you can do it, go for it because the reward is knowing you are doing the coolest job in the world surrounded by beautiful clothes and likeminded fashion fanatics. Just be read to work to get all of the benefits.