For any young person coming out of school or college finding the first job can be a daunting prospect. This may especially be the case if the dream is starting a career in fashion as the industry is notorious for its competitive nature, largely due to its popularity. Taking the first steps to attaining a position in the industry might seem like a mountain to climb.
Despite the reputation of job hunting in the fashion industry nothing is unattainable when the right boxes are ticked and effort is made. As with most job aspiration reaching the goal can be simplified by breaking down your targets that can help to visualise the steps that you need to take.
- Experience and Portfolio – the difference between being successful in an interview and not making the cut can be as simple as the amount of experience that you have behind you. Taking opportunities to get into the working environment and challenge yourself will build your knowledge of what work you can thrive with and is right for you.
- CV and Interview Follow-ups – Stand out from the crowd when sending your CV to a company or after interviews. Turning away an application is a lot easier when there hasn’t been a conversation between you and the employer
- Look at your talents and use them – There are plenty of areas in the fashion industry which require a range of skills, don’t think that you have to be an expert fashion designer to be in the industry. Roles in marketing, writing, and finance all have a place in fashion; find your strength and follow it.
- Manage your online presence – social media is an invaluable tool for keeping up to date with current trends in the industry as well as developments in the companies you’re aspiring to. Follow the people that are in the know with the key information that could help to give you the killer edge on others.
See additional guidelines for what’s looked for in the fashion industry with a full list of job roles in this article from Fashion-Schools.org.
Superdry are one of the most prominent international fashion brands to spring from the UK over the last two decades. Started in 2003 by founders Julian Dunkerton and James Holder, the brand distinguishes itself fusing American and Japanese-inspired graphics with British style. Celebrities such as David Beckham, Bradley Cooper and Justin Bieber have worn and endorsed the brand.
Julian Dunkerton first entered the fashion industry in 1985 at the age of 19 through a government grant scheme. He now takes the role of product and brand director, focussing on the creative force behind Superdry.
Is there any advice you would give to people, in their early twenties, looking to start a business?
You have to forget about objects and just try to be the best that you can possibly be in the niche that you think you have found. There are thousands of niches, it’s just a case of finding yours. Never think of yourself. It’s about your staff, your customer, and your business. You’re tenth on the list. If you are thinking that you are doing it for material things, then forget it, because you’ll never make the right decisions in business to build the business.
Is your specific route that you have taken something that you would advise others to follow? A lot of aspirational young people are beginning to consider university to be the default option.
I think it’s very typical for people like me to have not been to university. If you look at the serious entrepreneurs in this country you will find that a huge number of them have not been to university and out of the entrepreneurs that have been to university they become entrepreneurs because often of their particular skills base, so they go down a very narrow channel.
James Holder co-founded Superdry with Julian, sharing his drive and continued ambition for fashion. Also starting his career early Holder shares his journey into the fashion industry:
What made you decide to get into the world of fashion?
I fell into fashion by accident! When I was at college, I was crazily being an expert in skateboarding, and somehow I saw that nobody is making that king of cool t-shirts for these skaters, so I started doing them by myself and selling them to others. From that, I saw that I can make a living out of it. So it was not what I love for fashion, it was what I loved for creativity. Even for this day, I don’t count myself as a fashion designer, but as a product designer.
What has been the best part about creating the brand?
We are obsessed with products, and also with creativity and with what we do. When things got tough, we see that it’s time to give more creative and expansion. You’ve got a different source of emotional attachment to each product you make, but you’re in love with them. So whether it could be the smallest little accessory or the most incredible artisan of the jacket, you will have the same emotional attachment, so it is a joy to do this. We’re a premium branded brand, but we think far for fashion and we have a completely dynamic clothes collection that changes on a weekly basis.
There are many avenues to take to get into the industry that you want to be involved with. Opportunities might not present themselves as being a direct step into the fashion world yet with building your experiences your path should follow where your strengths lie. And remember that with whatever role you decide to pursue it should be something that you love and enjoy doing above all else!
Contributor, Mathew Foster