As a fashion student the workload can be quite demanding, the critiques very harsh and pulling all-nighters isn’t necessary the best thing for our health either. Let’s not even talk about the amount of money we spend on fabrics, paper, printing and magazines. Having a side job is almost a must in order to pay for your rent, materials and eager to fulfil your fashion desire to purchase clothes.
Often we forget how important it is to get really involved in the industry instead of living in our bubble of university, because, I know, let’s admit it: when we finish our work, all we want to do is sleep, party and eat. We often get faced with the real problem when we have to start looking for internships and make use of our almost non-existent network or hands-on experience. Today I have a few tips for all you fashion students out there to get more involved in the industry.
1.Participate in any volunteering event organised by school or its connections.
This may not be your number one priority, but it definitely makes a difference. The school (AMFI- Amsterdam Fashion Institute) often has a little market place on the website in which they seek for volunteers for fashion shows such as dressers or simply standing at the cloakroom. Although you don’t make any money with it, or a very underpaid amount. It definitely allows you to put these kind of experiences on your resume. You learn about the insights of the company and its event organisation, but also exposes you to many different contacts to broaden your network.
2. Join the school magazine, website or other projects.
Fashion school is the source of creativity with its wide range of passionate and ambitious students who all made it through the demanding intakes and heavy workload. Often there are many great ideas besides the usual school assignments and an infinite of opportunities for you to participate. Such as creating for the school website, visiting events from design shows and writing reviews about it, organising small events to showcase the work of the students or maintaining their social media. These factors are all very interesting for companies you will later apply for, because it shows your time management skills, ambitious- and hands-on attitude and true passion for the fashion industry even besides the usual school work.
3. Create your own platform.
This could be very easy by creating another Instagram account where you display your photography, starting a blog to share your thoughts and work, your own magazine, making short movies for YouTube or taking initiative for bullet number 2 by creating your own project. For me, blogging created huge opportunities when I was younger. Through this I was able to be invited for different fashion weeks, broaden my network, show companies my take on certain subjects and expose my work to others. Don’t be afraid to share, there is no thing such as bad content in a creative context.
4. Find a retail side job.
This one may seem quite lame and useless, but exposing yourself to the retail world will get you involved in a certain company. When you are really into denim; try applying at Levi’s, G-Star or Kings of Indigo. As a store employee you should know what the brands stands for and the insights of its branding, you will gain knowledge of the workings of a company and might be able to get a higher function within it eventually.
5. Don’t be afraid to reach out!
LinkedIn is an amazing starting point to invite people who you’re interested in to your network, starting a conversation and ask questions about what a day in their life looks like to gain more insights of the professional world. If the conversation goes smoothly you can invite them to go on a coffee date to talk about e.g. trend forecasting and ask tips. Professionals know what it is like to stand in your position as they also started from the “bottom”. Networking might be a dirty word for most, but it definitely is the key to success.