If you, like me, are a student who is dead set on working in the fashion industry, yet studying anything else but, it is highly likely that you are wondering how on earth you could possibly break into such a competitive industry.
The good news is, not all hope is lost: many high profile names in fashion now initially started out in a much different career path.
Imran Amed from The Business of Fashion got an MBA from Harvard and started out as a management consultant at McKinsey before founding the top fashion business website in the UK. Tom Ford graduated from Parsons with a degree in architecture before going on to become one of the most famous designers in America. Lyndsey Butler, founder and CEO of Veda, did a degree in philosophy before landing her first job in fashion.
One common advice that people like them give to students like us is to first educate ourselves about fashion as much as possible. So, after months of personal exploration and research, I have narrowed down the best resources that a non-fashion student can use to tap into to learn about the fashion industry.
1. The Business of Fashion – Media and Publishing
Business of Fashion Homepage | Source: http://www.businessoffashion.com
This website was god-sent for a business student like me. Where most fashion media and publications solely focus on the artsy, creative side of fashion, The Business of Fashion gives a whole new perspective to the fashion industry by successfully marrying business analytics, global trends and finance talk to fashion. Imran Amed has given hope to countless students that business skills are useful in fashion. Better still? The Business of Fashion collaborated with Topshop to make its content free for all students.
2. Fashion Books
You have heard this time and again from a self-help guru, business article or successful entrepreneur: books put you on the fast-track for accumulating knowledge and learning. I usually hunt for my fashion books on Amazon Kindle, where I only need to pay a fraction of the price for the e-Books compared to physical ones, then read them on my tablet on the go. If Kindle does not work, then there is always the old yet reliable option of the library to look for the book you want.
Here are a few recommendations that I have:
a) The Business of Fashion: Designing, Manufacturing and Marketing by Leslie Davis Burns and Kathy K. Mullet
The Business of Fashion | Image source: amazon.com
The best handbook for fashion businesses and aspiring designers. It contains in-depth information about the processes in the fashion industry, from fashion designing, sourcing, marketing, distribution and operations, framed within a global context.
b) Coco Chanel: The Legend and Life by Justine Picardie
Coco Chanel: The Legend and Life | Source: amazon.com
Look into the life of the woman who was credited with transforming the way women dressed in the 20th century. The vision she had for her clothes and her keen understanding of women’s lifestyles serves as an inspiration to many fashion designers even till this day.
c) Ralph Lauren by Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren | Source: amazon.com
Ralph Lauren is one of the most successful American designers deemed not only by the press, but also proven by the multi-billion dollar revenue that his company has raked in over the years. He was no couturier, but a marketer through and through, an essential skill that everyone in fashion has to master.
c) The End of Fashion: How Marketing of the Clothing Business Forever by Teri Agins
The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever | Source: Amazon
Teri Agins sheds insight on the fall of haute couture and the movements that brought rise to fashion for the masses.
d) In Fashion: From Runway to Retail, Everything You Need to Know to Break into the Fashion Industry by Annemarie Iverson
In Fashion: From Retail to Runway | Source: amazon.com
This book is a must-have for aspirants who want to break into fashion. Iverson shares insightful tips from her own experience as well as advice from important leaders across the industry to help newbies find footing in a notoriously competitive industry.
3. M2M TV (Made 2 Measure) – Film and Videography
M2M TV | Source: m2m.tv
Made to Measure is a website that compiles all video series, films, documentaries and runway shows into one place. What I really appreciate about this website is that all the clips are free, yet in very high quality. From classic fashion movies, such as “The September Issue” and “Valentino: The Last Emperor”, to indie films by young and upcoming videographers, you are sure to find a video that interests you within its rich and diverse archive. This site is a hidden gem of a resource for those who prefer watching videos over reading.
Udemy | Source: udemy.com
Some of you might already be familiar with Udemy, an online platform that offers over 40,000 courses across different subjects, from business and technology to art and design. It should not come as a surprise that such an extensive offering also includes a section that offers fashion courses too. Popular titles include ‘A Lifestyle/Fashion Enthusiast’s Guide to Blogging by Mimi G‘ and ‘Learn to draw fashion with Adobe Illustrator CC Intermediate‘. Quick tip: although usual prices for each course are about $100-$200, Udemy constantly offers promotions during holiday periods or sales seasons that brings the prices for certain courses down to only $15, so do look out for those!
Devil Wears Prada Screengrab | Source: dailymail.co.uk
Getting an internship with a fashion company is the best way to gain experience working in the fashion industry and test out whether the career you think you want to be in is really right for you. It also provides an excellent opportunity to network with like-minded peers and build relationships with mentors who are able to guide you in your career journey. Do look for an internship that really allows you to use and improve the skills you think you might require to succeed in the future, and always do more than what is expected of you.
I hope these resources are as useful in helping you learn about the fashion industry as much as they were useful for me. Are there any resources that you might know that will help educate non-fashion students about the world of fashion? Do share in the comments down below!