Before I continue with the main article, a big thank you to Annemarie Iverson for her amazing book “In Fashion”; my personal Chicken Soup for the Fashion Obsessed soul. Let me warn you in advance that this article is super ultra LONG! Viewer digression is advised ! For Part 2 of fashion 101, I’ll be dishing the dirt on how to drive your style career forward. From tips during an interview right down to what you should wear, DreamOfDior’s got it all !!! Now ,Let's start with the baby steps.
It’s natural that people who care for you want you to do the “Safe” thing for your future. Typical Schools is “what they know”. Parents think more school equals more money and security. But what they don’t understand is that it doesn't translate like that in fashion.
To be a great designer or photographer, you’ll need to be in the right design school. If you’re intentions are to be a model, stylist or makeup artist, you probably shouldn't concentrate on school because the WORLD is your education! Is your dream to be a fashion buyer or writer? College is your answer then. That’s why it’s EXTREMELY important to know what you really want.
If you’re a fashion fanatic but confused with what you want, take the fashion aptitude test in my previous post to find out what type of fashionista you are so that you're more clear on what you should study! :D
How about fashion schools for Creators (designers)?
As a creator, you will need to really assess what you want. Dig deep and reflect on things like where you see yourself 5 years later. I have friends who want to do fashion communications so they ended up going to Lassalle. Eventually, all of them wanted to quit because they couldn't “tahan” the design modules. You need to accept the harsh truth that some people are just more gifted than others.
If you weren't naturally gifted in sketching or fabric manipulation, fashion design might not be for you. If your heart is really in to it, you’ll find a way around this issue and hopefully come out on top. If you’re not 110% committed, you WILL suffer greatly.
How about Journalism School for Critics (Writers)?
Personally, I have a slight prejudice against those who think going to journalism school will make them a better writer. They do, however, get great exposure and learn about the different facets of journalism. After all, nothing is a bigger turn off than having bad grammar/spelling!
If you're especially keen on being a word smith , keep your hands in journalism through the school paper or better yet, start a blog like your's truly!
The next logical step is to up your game and take up an editorial internship or write for a bigger publication. This exposure is crucial because it will teach you to develop your reporter's nose and balls (yum!) to get the story plus the research skills that will prove invaluable over time.
How About Degrees for Sellers (Business of fashion)?
I'm a fashion fanatic and yet, I study Business. It all makes sense though because Business related courses are useful if you’re interested in becoming an executive for large fashion giants like LVMH, FJ Benjamins, Jones New York, Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus. These brands may find a business background useful in tabulating data or working on mergers and acquisitions.
Someone who’s purely about Business all day and doesn't explore other creative subjects like theatre or Music will never survive . Think of it this way. Why would they want to hire someone who's just a mindless businessman when they can hire someone who is creative, fashion savvy and has killer business acumen? Diversify yourself.
To aid you in your style education, Here is a list of noteworthy fashion literature and a few movies worth watching, all of which are aimed at honing your “critical eye".
- Must read Biographies: "D.V" by Diana Vreeland, "Chanel and her world" by Edmonde Charles-Roux , "No Time to Die" by Liz Tilberis & my personal favourite "Grace, a Memoir" by Grace Coddington.
- Daily Fashion Fix: Women's Wear Daily (WWD) ,New York Times Style section , Vogue.com, Style.com ,Streetpeeper.com & of course DREAMOFDIOR.BLOGSPOT.COM !!!
- Fashionista Movies: "The September Issue"- this documentary tracks Anna Wintour orchestrating the team as they build the biggest Issue of VOGUE ever! ,"Valentino: The Last Emperor" & "Vogue: The Editor's Eye".
Now that you’re all prepped up and ready to rumble, the next step would be to feel around before you're actually ready for the big leagues. A good way to start would be a part time job or an internship. The difference is that an internship ties you down and "makes you more loyal" to the company you’re interning for.
You'll also get to learn the inner workings of your employing company .That's where sh*t gets real. Good internships, however, are hard to find, especially since Fashion is an industry that's uber crowded . The key: remain competitive and persistent.
Here are the Six Sacred Rules you should follow when searching for that Dream Fashion job.
- Know who you know: Your contacts are a lot more powerful than you know. Utilize everyone you've ever met. Be it your neighbour’s hot daughter, a friend's parent or a senior from your previous school. As an intern, send frequent emails to assistants of the “atas” people and ask if there's ever an opening. In this industry, the best advocate for yourself is you!
- Your Resume is your Life! : Make sure your resume reflects clearly who you really are. If you’re a flamboyant guy who loves pink , make the borders pink. Express yourself. Check your emails and voice mails daily and remember to maintain a neutral voice mail message. Nothing too bitchy or "naughty".
- No little White, Red or Blue lies: Everyone I've ever asked has confessed that they bloat their resume by adding extra months of experience on their resume. These small little lies ARE TRACEABLE! Do not say that you interned at FJ Benjamin for 3 months when you couldn't even last a week. The industry is a small one and everyone knows everyone (no joke). Sooner or later, you're bound to get caught and trust me when I say you're not going to want to be there when they do…
- Be part of the community you’re trying to join: I don't know why but nowadays a lot of people feel that they're entitled to everything without any effort. Nobody in this industry is going to entertain any of this bullshit. Show your face and get a feel of what Where you're going. This initiative will set you apart from 80% of the people who have done nothing substantial for their interview.
- Possess Unyielding optimism: Fashion is about change. Believe that your situation can change within the next 24 hours. When the opportunity presents itself, grab it and run! Once that window of opportunity closes, it might never open again!
- Find your Fairy godmother &/or Fairy godfather: Get in touch with someone in the industry whose work you strongly admire. Be humble and honest and if you're lucky, these people will feel your enthusiasm. I've read somewhere that a Boy once saw Anna Wintour on a plane. Since he was an aspiring designer, he wanted to ask Anna Wintour to hook him up with Micheal Kors, a designer he idolizes. He didn't want to disturb Anna and so he slipped a note in her bag. Lo and behold, the Boy is now a Man apprenticing with his dream designer. Dreams really do come true :)
- Don't be afraid to make cold calls when you're desperate and don't know where else to turn. Swallow your pride and phone them up. Confidently, state what your intentions are without sounding like an introverted 10 year old girl. TRUST ME, THIS WORKS! When I set my sights on Gucci during the School holiday Season, I phoned their office for 2 days straight just to get on the line with their Human Resource Manager. Long story short, I became the youngest employee Gucci Singapore has ever had! Don't be that kind of person that expects these brands to phone YOU up and offer you a job. You're Not Kaiser Karl or Grace Mirabelle. You want that position? EARN IT!
YAY! By following all these tips, you've managed to land yourself an interview for your first big job after going through your internship! Remember; Everything you say or do will be used against you. Make full use of each second during that 15 minute chat session you'll be having with the interviewer. Here are some pointers you should keep in mind
- Show them a Spark, A passion: Make sure they notice that sparkle in your eye. Many times, bosses are looking for young and insanely passionate versions of themselves- before they were successful. Don’t fake that spark. Show them you really want it.
- Demonstrate a Sense of Humor: Only take the chance when the opportunity presents itself. Showing that funny side will make you seem more relatable and dynamic.
- Give Evidence of your hunger and ambition: The best way to show this is to come prepared with your resume and all other qualifications.
- Convince them that you'll work hard (nobody likes lazy egocentric dickheads) : Make it clear that you're not some demanding & bitchy Prima Donna . Ensure them that while the job looks glamorous on the outside(all fashion jobs do), you are fully aware of all the donkeywork that goes behind it.
- Know your stuff and prove it: Research research research. Find out the company's mission statement, who their current CEO is, Where their headquarters are based and all that jazz.
- Show that you’re a team player : Team players love to be included in press meetings, Ideas pitching and concept building. Its a bit tricky for an interviewer to tell whether someone is good as a team member before he actually enters the team. This is where your previous experienes come in handy. Ever volunteered at a hospice/children's home with a group of friends? Use that & everything else you've ever done to your advantage.
- Show that you have a "critical eye": A fashionista's most basic asset is his/her critical eye. This skill will set you apart from the general public and put yourself in the mindset of crafting words, pictures and editorials that would pull in your targeting viewers.
- Say why you want the job as well as why you're the best person on Earth for it! : This is actually a code for "say your last words before you get out" and at times, it's the most important question of all. If you haven't made it clear that you're mad for the job, do so now. Don't forget to maintain eye contact when you shake hands on your way out. Stop talking. Breathe. You made it.
EVERYTHING & anything you wear will be heavily scrutinized. “Trivial” issues like the colour of your shoe laces to the buttons on your shirt could very well make or break your chances. Your weapon of choice should complement the type of position you’re gunning for. Here are a few cardinal style sins you should avoid committing as well as some useful pointers you should follow if you wanna dress to impress.
DON'Ts for Guys:
DON'Ts for Guys:
- Don't wear sneakers unless you're sure it's super casual.
- No grungy T-shirts with distracting designs or writing .
- No sports jerseys, caps, flip flops, sweats or shorts.
DON'Ts for Girls:
- Don't wear a suit to a creative interview.
- Don't wear anything that isn't well ironed
- Don't carry multiple bags/shopping bags. You'll end up looking shallow.
- When it comes to jewelry, less is more.
- DON'T wear one singular designer from head to toe or multiple luxury designers all at once. Mix and match yours highs and lows. You'll instantly be labelled a fashion victim . I can assure you that you're resume will be flying out of the window way before you even leave their office.
.....And finally, a few tips during the actual interview , just to be safe :)
1) Don't be arrogant about where you studied or where you came from. Nobody wants to work with someone who's nose is up their ass. In-fact, never be arrogant about anything! Yuck!
2) Don't explain why you need the month of June off for your family vacation. You're interviewer honestly doesn't care. These follow up questions are meant to be asked after you've accepted the post
3) Keep your answers Crisp and Concise Babbling on and on about nonsense will only make them think you're all bark no bite.
4) Don't be late &
Never wear a blank facial expression
5) Confidence is all you need.
Now wasn't that a mouth full of nonsense. I hope you've managed to learn a thing or two about breaking in to the fashion world. Different people do different things. Some get in through their own blood, sweat and tears. Some have "powerful friends in high places". Others are just naturally talented and breeze their way through. Whatever the case, it never hurts to try and plan you way to success. I know this isn't a very Visual article and I haven't done that in a very long time. Hopefully, with all this free time on my hands, I'll be able to churn out more visually inclined mindless writing! & BTW, A big shout out to Singapore's infamous style sensation Bryan Gohey !!!! It truly is an honor having people like you tell me how much you like what I do. Be sure to visit his quirky Singapore Streetstyle Blog http://wtfywt.tumblr.com/ .
Ps, don't forget to mark your calenders 15-19 of may for Singapore's Annual Installation of the Audi Fashion Festival! Instead of its usual locale, the event will be hosted at the Marina Promenade! ( its about time! Orchard was getting derivative!)How Chic is that! Some noteworthy designers that will be strutting their stuff include Carolina Herrera, Raoul ,Ashley Isham and Zardoze. Victoria's Secret angel, Erin Heatheron will also be gracing the catwalk for the Raoul show.
It's nice to see the local fashion scene come to life after its long hibernation since Fide Fashion Week. Also, Blueprint; SG's leading fashion trade show will be happening very close by the festival. Sounds like a lot of fashion in one place doesn't it? The only issue now is picking out what to wear!