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Where do I start if I want to go into the fashion industry?

I love to sketch out designs and have a huge passion for fashion but I don't know much about really big brands. Where do I start now that I know what I want to do with my life? #fashion #fashion designers #apparel-and-fashion #designers #fashion-design #fashion-shows

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Zachary’s Answer

Fashion is sooooo exciting and always changing. That said, a strong education from a fashion school is great for setting up your career. You learn so much that will help you throughout the years.

Thank you this really helped! MJ M.

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Jennifer’s Answer

Look into Colleges that have programs. FIT has a saturdays workshop for high school students into fashion. I did a summer workshop in Philadelphia when I was in high school. I also signed up for sewing classes. It is great to have ideas and that can not be taught but sewing gives you the foundation. You need to understand garment construction it is so important. These are also great ways to test yourself see if you like it. Also look into Illustrator classes even you tube can teach you. Hand sketching isn't really used much any more so the more computer designing you learn the better you are. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Thank you so much! I will definitely take some Adobe Illustrator classes and learn to sew garments. This was really helpful because now I know where I need to start achieving my dream! :) MJ M.

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Mindy’s Answer

The fashion industry is a big place with many many opportunities. I would suggest looking into your local community college at some courses on fashion design, fashion merchandising etc. Also depending on where you are located there are some excellent colleges that focus on all aspects of Fashion; everything from design to marketing. Educational resources like this can often give you insider resources and many of the instructors are involved in the industry as well.

My other suggestion would be to look at a job in retail. I know often retail jobs get a bad wrap however the fashion industry at its core is a business and the retail arm of it is a great way to learn the ropes. Look into come brands/companies you love and see what job opportunities are available. Specialty and Luxury retailers have smaller corporate structures so its a great opportunity to get exposed to different areas. Additionally I'd look at where their corporate locations are; if your near by research HQ opportunities. You'd be surprised how many entry level positions there are and these can be a valuable "foot in the door." Some brands/companies even offer tuition and education assistance so that you can possibly use that to help pay for the education mentioned above.

Lastly be persistent! Like i said the fashion world is big and there are tons of opportunities....Don't get discouraged

I cannot thank you enough! This helped me so much! I will definitely research job opportunities and internships. :) MJ M.

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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.

Lastly, 3D sampling and 3D virtual development is becoming very important in the Fashion Industry. If you are able, take some courses to help familiarize yourself with this technology.

Thank you so much for specifying career paths to research! I will definitely go and see which one fits what appeals to me most. I will also try to take some courses on 3D sampling and 3D virtual development. :) MJ M.

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Daisy’s Answer

Coming from someone who's been in the fashion industry for 6 years and having friends who work at different fashion houses (from fast fashion to designer brands) , I would suggest you figure out the path you want to take before deciding where to start. For example, the role you want to have, designer? stylist? fashion merchandiser? fashion editor? These will require different skill sets and therefore will set you up for different routes. If you'd like to become a designer, being able to sketch out designs or having designs of your own is not enough. Depending on the 'types' of designer you wanna be, you will have to at least go to a fashion house and get an internship (which is usually so MUCH less glamorous than you see on TV). The fastest and safest bet is go to a design school that sets you up with different internships after you graduate and also delivers you with the knowledge and skills. If you just love to draw the designs but don't know any brands in the industry, I'm sorry, it speaks to me that you don't do enough of your homework or you don't have enough passion or maybe you're early in your career planning and don't know what to do just yet, every brand has their own stories and signature designs. People who are preparing to go in the fashion industry generally know AT LEAST their background and what kind of brand they are. For instance, you don't mix up MM6 with Alexander Wang. It sounds harsh (but really not) but you'll hear harsher comments when you're really in it. Just like Jennifer said, you'll need the skills.

Thank you this was helpful. You didn't come across as harsh but honest. I am still in high school so I am currently preparing and researching. While I still clearly have a lot to learn I am very passionate and am willing to put in the work to learn some of the necessary skills you mentioned. Thank you for your honesty! I will definitely try to become more familiar with luxury fashion brands. MJ M.

You're welcome! I hope you'll succeed. I've seen many people come and go and see their dreams crush so definitely want to encourage the newcomers and to help them be mentally prepared if they are seriously about this. Daisy Lee

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shanice’s Answer

For someone who has been in the fashion industry for over 10 years i can tell you its not easy, but there is definitely a lot of opportunities and avenues to go within fashion. I would suggest doing some internships as its great experience and you really get a feel for the type of job you may want to do. It is also sometimes really good to find small designers instead of the big brands to do internships. This is something i did before i even started looking at colleges, and i found you get a more 1 on 1 experience and can ask all the questions you need. But getting a internship or even apprenticeships with big brands will also prove very valuable.
When looking for courses to study it could be good to study an all round fashion course that covers various different areas of fashion as you are still unsure on what career path to take. For example Fashion promotion which covered photography, marketing, merchandising, buying, illustration. This is something that i did as i wasn't 100% sure on my fashion career path and a course like that really helped me decide the area i wanted to go into.

Thanks so much! This helped a ton. MJ M.

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Lisa’s Answer

As someone who was a fashion major in college there are endless opportunities. You can decide if you want to take a design route or if you want to be in the corporate realm. There are plenty of universities around the country who have great fashion program to choose from based on your interests. Do some research about the different avenues you can explore and figure out which one is best for you. Also, there is nothing wrong with starting off with smaller brands and working your way to the larger businesses.

Lisa recommends the following next steps:

Explore creative director positions
Explore universities that can help enhance your skills
Continue to practice your sketching

Thank you so much! I will check out the programs that various universities have. :) MJ M.