Fashion is a $2.4 trillion industry—and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. With such huge numbers, it’s no wonder you might be thinking about how you can get into the industry yourself. After all, the startup potential in fashion is huge, and it’s a great creative outlet if you find yourself bored by the tradition office job or “safe” career path. If you’re considering a career in fashion, there are a few things you should know.
It’s Not a Women-Only Career
It’s not uncommon for men interested in fashion to wonder if there’s a place for them on the creative (and corporate) side of the business. There is a common misconception that the industry is run by women; however, it’s important to understand that while fashion is generally considered a woman-dominated business, it doesn’t discriminate men.
In fact, when you take a look at some of the biggest fashion brands in the world, the majority of them are helmed by men. Case in point: the roster for New York Fashion Week 2017, which showcased upcoming styles from 371 designers, found that nearly 60% of those were spearheaded by men.
Whether you want a career in women’s or men’s fashion, it’s important to consider the statistics, and to not be discouraged by any preconceived notions of the fashion industry that you might have.
There’s Multiple Fashion Careers
Just because you’re interested in clothes, accessories, and styling, doesn’t mean you have to know how to sketch and design them. There are several career tracks in fashion, each with a different spin. Here are just a few you might be interested in:
- Fashion designer
- Fashion publicist
- Fashion writer or editor
- Fashion stylist
And of course, in today’s tech-centric world, you can even carve your own path with fashion business. Got an idea for a fashion-forward app? You can become the next big fashion startup. There are endless possibilities for where your career in fashion can go, so it’s important to truly hone in on what you enjoy doing most, and finding the right way to marry your skills with a fashion path that fits you just right.
You Have to Be Passionate
If you’re not passionate about the world of fashion, this isn’t a career track that will work for you. There are plenty of careers out there that people can take day by day, but fashion is not one of them. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing each day when you wake up, it will show in the work you produce. This is why, if you’re on the fence, it’s best to take small steps in fashion and learn what truly works for you. If you’re looking for inspiration, take heed from men who have made it in the fashion world.
Get Your Foot in the Door
There are multiple ways you can approach your forage into the fashion world. Of course, one of the first thoughts that might enter your mind is going to school. You might participate in a fashion program at a traditional 4-year university, or you could apply for fashion track at a design or fashion-specific school, like the Fashion Institute of Technology.
For those looking for a less traditional route—or men who would like to test the waters before they commit to several years of studying—there are other ways you can learn about fashion without a price tag-heavy commitment. For example, you could participate in a short summer fashion program at Project Fashion, or volunteer to intern with a local fashion designer. By learning as much as you can early on, you can save yourself valuable time and money.
“Go anywhere you can get experience,” says Nick Sullivan, the fashion director at Esquire. “It is stepping stones. As you change jobs, you accrue experience, and then more people know who you are.”
Internships are particularly effective at teaching you the skills that are most important to the type of fashion you’re interested in. Think of an internship like a hands-on mentoring program, where you can learn plenty of what you need to know in the business by watching and assisting.
“There is so much humility in learning, and wanting to be taught how to do something correctly,” Matthew Henson, stylist and Fashion Director at AWGE, said in an interview with Fashionista. “I’m really happy that I interned and assisted for a long time, because it taught me everything I know.”