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What are some unique ways to gain experience?

Hi I'm in High School and I'm interested in working in the fashion industry. Do you have any recommendations for things I can do that I can do to make me stand out? #high-school #fashion #fashion-shows #career-details #apparel-and-fashion


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John’s Answer

Bella to become a fashion stylist, you need work experience and an associate degree. Voluntary certification can also be helpful.

BECOME A FASHION STYLIST

To be a fashion stylist, it's recommended that you have at least an associate's degree in fashion merchandising. You'll also need 4-5 years of personal or on-set fashion styling experience and visual accuracy, creativity, attention to detail, spoken and written communication skills, interpersonal skills, time management, analytical mind, problem-solving ability, and knowledge of Microsoft Office software. Professional certification is also available from the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI).

EARN YOUR ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE
Many employers prefer a minimum of an associate's degree for fashion stylist positions. Several colleges offer two-year degree programs in fashion merchandising, which can provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the industry. Classes include the science of textiles, history of fashion, visual merchandising and retail buying. Programs may involve experiential learning, such as speaking with local fashion businesses and attending fashion meetings. You may be required to complete internships and/or assemble portfolios before graduation. Create a portfolio of work. Many employers require applicants to submit portfolios that display a variety of previous fashion styling work. If degree programs do not require you to create a portfolio, making one is still a good idea. Fashion projects completed as part of course requirements can contribute to this professional collection of work. Uploading the portfolio online may provide opportunities to connect with possible employers quicker.

GAIN WORK EXPERIENCE AND CERTIFICATION
Fashion stylist positions often require at least four to five years of experience, though some require upwards of eight to ten years of work in the fashion industry. Entry-level fashion retail jobs can help you gain perspective on how various elements come together to create unique, ready-to-wear looks. Stylist jobs often require skills in multiple departments, so experience in areas like children's, men's, and intimates are good preparation. Entry-level jobs can also help you network and make contacts in the fashion industry. Gaining certification demonstrates expertise and credibility in the fashion industry, which can expand career opportunities. The Fashion Image Institute offers courses that satisfy continuing education requirements that can also lead to additional certifications, like the Certified Fashion Stylist credential. It also has a course in bridal styling that results in the Certified Image Consultant designation.

Bella the work environment is often fast-paced with travel possibly required or even relocation to major cities for work opportunities. Stylists must keep up with frequently changing fashion trends and may need to put in extra hours to meet deadlines. PayScale.com reported the median annual salary for fashion stylists was $54,000 as of June 2020.

Hope this was Helpful Bella

John recommends the following next steps:

Join a fashion organization to stay current in industry trends. You need to ensure they are up-to-date on ever-changing fashion looks. Joining a professional organization, like the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) or the International Fashion Stylists Association (IFSA), can connect you with resources, including the latest fashion news, professional development training opportunities and fashion industry events. The IFSA coordinates a major annual conference that includes lectures and workshops directed by fashion stylist leaders.
Models help market different fashions to consumers through photography or fashion shows, which requires no prior work experience or on-the-job training. Models may represent a particular fashion designer or brand as they work at trade shows, walk on runways or pose for photographers. Many models travel to various locations for different modeling jobs and maintain a professional portfolio of their work to show potential clients. Models may need to meet specific physical characteristics for a particular job, but they have no formal education requirement.
Photographers commit to long-term on-the-job training, but they do not need work experience in a related occupation. Some photographers may specialize in fashion and take high-quality images of models in different pieces of clothing using a digital camera. Many photographers also use photo-enhancing software to edit their images, which may then be used to advertise clothing and fashion designers, as well as added to the photographer's professional portfolio. Most photographers only need a technical understanding of the field, but some kinds of photographers, such as photojournalists, need a bachelor's degree.
Wholesale and retail buyers do not need previous work experience and must have a good sense of fashion and understand what consumers want as they buy clothing to sell to consumers. They must learn about different clothing products and compare suppliers before deciding which suppliers to enter into a contract with. Once they have negotiated a contract, they carefully monitor contracts and clothing products to ensure conditions of the contract are met and quality products are delivered. These buyers need a bachelor's degree, and advancement to positions in management may require some work experience in addition to the degree.

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Justine’s Answer

I think the best thing you can do is to do some research about the industry and the types of career paths available. Some thought starters:

Retail Buyer
Clothing Designer
Textile Designer
Print Designer
Visual Merchandiser
Technical Designer
Product Developer
3D Artist

Take a look at the jobs descriptions for some of these positions and see what appeals to you most, that way you are able to focus your studies and your interests in school.

Next, after exploring the different options, take some steps to learn skills related to that position. ie: if being a Designer or Technical designer sounds appealing to you, see if there are some opportunities to learn how to sew and understand garment construction and fit.

If you are more interested in the retail or merchandising side, it may be helpful to get some retail work experience before heading to college.

Hope this helps!


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Hanna’s Answer

Hi Bella,

I went to school for Fashion Merchandising at LSU and graduated with my degree and a minor in business administration in 2011. I then went to work in NYC for Kenneth Cole and moved back home to New Orleans where I worked for local brands on the ecommerce/marketing side of the industry. I would highly suggest internships or just volunteering at various events near you. This will help you build connections in the industry and learn what area you would like to focus on (design, runway, retail floor, visual merchandising, buying, ecommerce, customer service, etc). There are a lot of options in the industry. I had three un-paid internships before working full time and these were all extremely helpful to learn various aspects and my interest in the industry. I would also suggest working at a retail store if you don't already to gain experience in the consumer/customer service side.


Hope this helps!

Hanna

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Hanna’s Answer

Hi Bella,

I went to school for Fashion Merchandising at LSU and graduated with my degree and a minor in business administration in 2011. I then went to work in NYC for Kenneth Cole and moved back home to New Orleans where I worked for local brands on the ecommerce/marketing side of the industry. I would highly suggest internships or just volunteering at various events near you. This will help you build connections in the industry and learn what area you would like to focus on (design, runway, retail floor, visual merchandising, buying, ecommerce, customer service, etc). There are a lot of options in the industry. I had three un-paid internships before working full time and these were all extremely helpful to learn various aspects and my interest in the industry. I would also suggest working at a retail store if you don't already to gain experience in the consumer/customer service side.


Hope this helps!

Hanna

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Carolyn’s Answer

Hi Bella,

I would recommend doing some sort of internship. You can do some research on places you would want to gain experience at and then call them and see if they would take on an intern. If not, then you can set up an informational interview to learn more about the Fashion Industry. If you call enough places, one of them will likely be interested in having some extra help and that would be a great way to gain experience and get your foot in the door.

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Sharool’s Answer

5 Things You Can Do To Gain New Skills and Experiences
Take Online Courses.
Volunteer. ...
Internships. ...
Create a Blog
Work With a Mentor.

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Alycia’s Answer

If you want to double-down and make your experiences in fashion wholesome and meaningful (something you could definitely put on your resume), you should explore how the concept of fashion is different for underprivileged and low-income communities. Volunteer your time at clothing drives! Work part-time or become an intern at your local thrift store. Volunteer at women's homeless shelters and ask about their experience buying clothes. You can find opportunities like this and more online; my favorite site to use for volunteer experience is VolunteerMatch.org.

Although the instances mentioned above won't give you hands-on experience in the textile and clothing industry, I can guarantee you WILL stand out against all your competition! You'd be surprised at how much you might like the idea of helping others. Good luck!

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Sharool’s Answer

5 Things You Can Do To Gain New Skills and Experiences
Take Online Courses.
Volunteer. ...
Internships. ...
Create a Blog
Work With a Mentor.

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