According to the Joint Economic Committee, the fashion industry is so huge that it generates a massive $250 billion annually in the US alone and $1.2 trillion globally. What’s more, this industry employs 1.9 million people in the US. While New York and Los Angeles are arguably America’s fashion capital, breaking into this industry is not easy because the industry is brutally competitive, prone to consumer-driven trends, dominated by a few highly influential individuals and companies, as well as structurally diverse. With that in mind, here are seven strategies you can use to get into fashion with zero industry contacts.
Start a Fashion Blog
Blogging is a popular activity that you can use to break into the fashion market. This is largely because individuals are more likely to blog than large corporate, Forbes reports. What’s more, 69% of marketers surveyed in 2015 said they were planning to ramp up their blogging efforts in 2016 while 45% said that blogging was their top content-creation strategy. Luckily, starting a blog is relatively easy thanks to blogging platforms such as WordPress that come with tons of plugins and features as well as support diverse programming languages. Do yourself a favor and start your blog today with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $2.95 a month and you’ll get a free domain if you sign up through my tutorial. I have a free blogging course you can join too that will help you start and launch a successful fashion blog!
Such features make blog customization easy even for someone with limited wed design knowledge. After setting up your blog, focus on a fashion niche that resonates with your target audience. Some popular niches include women’s clothes, baby’s apparel, sports shoes, and clothing accessories. Successful fashion bloggers such as Chiara Ferragni (The Blonde Salad), Kristina Bazan (Kayture), Aimee Song (Song of Style), Wendy Guyen (Wendy’s Lookbook), Julia Engel (Gal Meets Glam), Julie Sarinana (Sincerely Jules), Blaire Eadie (Atlantic Pacific), Gala Gonzalez (Amlul By Gala Gonzalez) and Chriselle Lim (The Chriselle Factor) earn millions of dollars annually from their own collections or brand endorsements. They are able to earn such huge amounts of money because their blogging efforts have earned them millions of loyal fans and followers.
Become a Contributor to Blog/Magazine
Another effective get-in-the-fashion-industry strategy is contributing content to a blog/magazine that aligns with your fashion interests. Since you will likely start out as an unknown and unproven content contributor, you should start by contributing content to small/fringe blogs that do not attract a lot of traffic and aim for a larger audience as your readership grows. A great resource to find writing opportunities is a site called Beyond Your Blog. Reach out to as many fashion blogs/magazines as you can to increase the likelihood of positive feedback. More importantly, ensure you define your value proposition clearly when contacting fashion blogs or magazines. Although it may take time to land your first guest blogging gig, it will likely get much easier after that.
Become a Personal Stylist
Personal stylists have become increasingly popular in fashion hotspots such as Los Angeles where some have become celebrities in their own right (have you heard of Rachel Zoe? ;-D). To become a top personal stylist, you must have in-depth knowledge of fashion trends (past, current, emerging) and keep abreast of industry developments. Besides celebrities, personal stylists also work with corporate executives, fashion magazine/catalog publishers, fashion-related retail outlets, fashion show organizers, and models. For a novice, an effective way of getting a foothold in this niche is by volunteering to work with a local celebrity. If your work is exceptional, word of mouth advertising will bring more clients your way.
To succeed in the fashion industry, you must establish a network of reliable industry contacts that you can leverage to get jobs and keep abreast of new trends. Networking essentially entails attending fashion-related events as well as working with designers, celebrity publicists, ad agencies, media personalities, fashion photographers, models, and fashion retail outlets. Of course, you must prove that you are trustworthy, a hard worker, a good communicator, and detail oriented in order to earn the trust and respect of industry insiders and influencers. Additionally, you must be street-smart to differentiate fashion experts from fraudsters who have permeated the industry.
Get an Internship
Consider applying for an internship at an organization that will boost your exposure to the fashion industry. It is important to note that some internship positions offer compensation of some kind while others do not. This notwithstanding, an internship is beneficial because it will expose you to the inner workings of the fashion industry including production cycles, public relations, media coverage intricacies, as well as development and implementation of cross-platform promotional campaigns. An internship will also make networking easier. If you are enrolled in a fashion study program, inquire about internship opportunities because some fashion schools maintain working relationships with fashion houses and industry leaders. Additionally, scour the web because some organizations advertise internship positions online.
Open an Online Store
Establishing an e-commerce store is another viable way of breaking into the fashion industry with zero connections. Fortunately, setting up such a store is easier now than a decade ago due to advances in cloud computing technology, a wide range of e-commerce solutions, and the proliferation of Internet-connected devices. Some popular ecommerce platforms include Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, Weebly, PrestaShop, 3DCart, Wix, ZenCart, and Volusion. These solutions abstract the technical aspects of setting up an e-store thereby making it easy for individuals with limited or no IT background to sell merchandise online.
Work as a Catalog Copywriter
As a catalog copywriter, you will be tasked with creating and publishing content that promotes your client’s products/services. Unlike editorial-style content, the aim of copywriting is to elicit a desirable action such as visiting a landing page, joining an email list, or purchasing a product from the target audience. In general, the content produced by a copywriter should be useful, descriptive, easy to consume, topic-specific (without fluff), and resonate with the target audience. Take note some employers require job applicants to have a background in fashion and working experience although these requirements are not mandatory.
Breaking into the fashion industry as a novice can be difficult even if you don’t have a solid business plan and some connections. However, you can break it in the fashion industry by employing some of the strategies mentioned above.