How To Kick Start Your Fashion Career
The desire to work in the fashion industry is not nearly as alien to the Nigerian consciousness as one would think. As a child, one would have desired to be in the pages of a magazine or as they grew older, want to be the photographer capturing such grand glamour.
Maybe they got introduced to the fast-paced world of fashion journalism through Meryl Streep’s character in the fashion cult classic The Devil Wears Prada. Regardless of what our introduction to the fashion industry was, it would not be a reach to say that a fair amount of us have entertained the thought of working in the fashion industry.
For many of us, the lack of determination and discipline that a modelling career would require was what made the decision that it was not the path for us. For others, we found love somewhere else.
However, those still in love with fashion and want to get their careers as fashion insiders, writers or editors. There is a burning question: How? How does one get to have a successful career in the industry? How does one get to work with top publications and incite conversations in the industry?
In 2019, things have changed from what they once were. Once upon a time, becoming a fashion journalist would most likely involve you writing and pitching to print magazines and publications, living in a fashion capital and being surrounded by a particular kind of crowd.
But today, with digital publications now the norm and Instagram and Twitter taking over, the need for living in fashion capitals have dwindled with the rise of remote jobs aided no doubt by technology and the internet, pitching to editors has become easier than ever and journalistic world has changed from it once and while yesterday’s problems are gone, we are faced with today’s problems. A staple problem being: how do I start my fashion career in the ever-changing industry?
Pat Ada Eze, a fashion consultant and the editor of StyleVitae reminisces on her days as a rookie model and writer, breaking into the industry and getting to where she is now;
Like every skinny millennial who grew up watching VS shows and fashion TV, I dreamt of being the biggest model the world had ever seen. I finally got a shot at this and discovered I didn’t care for it at all. As a matter of fact, I found a new love interest, one that had my pulse racing in ways modelling couldn’t even wrap its glamorous long neck around.
The bait was a contributing gig at a fashion website. An opportunity I had only because modelling had already given me a leg in (it’s important to get a leg in). With my University writing background and newly acquired model status, I was to write about my modelling experiences from a beginners view. That experience for all parties (myself & the website) was phenomenal, this led to a steadier gig, which led to another and another. I wrote as many articles as I could, interned with as many reputable publications that would have me, absorbing all I could.
The growth of the digital journalistic world seems to have simultaneously made it easier and harder to break into the fashion industry. Thanks to the internet, getting noticed is easier as editors and content producers are constantly on the search for newer, fresher, more distinct voices and talents. At the same time the internet is crowded with other people certain that they are the next big thing in the fashion industry, how then do you stand out and thrive within that crowd?
Mary Edoro, an editor at BellaNaija Style and fashion writer has this to say to young and upcoming fashion writers and journalists’:
Be willing to do the work. To actually work hard, I promise it will pay off. There’s really no short cut. Put yourself and your work out there. Create a niche and stick with it. Work hard but work smarter and the universe will reward you.
Mary’s journey, in particular, reminds us how much work and dedication goes into a career in fashion:
While I was in the university, in between my first blog and chasing an Economics degree, I realized what I wanted was a career in fashion, so I started pitching articles to top publications and eventually started writing for one in Nigeria, as a contributor. Eventually, I created my own platform where I could review fashion shows, collections, lookbooks, events, on my own terms and also where I shared my personal style. While I was running my website, I would freelance; press releases, ghost feature writing and much more which I was paid for. I also slightly dabbled into community management for fashion brands. It was a good way for me to learn about the business side of fashion; audience, engagement, and SEO.
As glamorous as the fashion industry appears, it demands sweat and hard work to climb to the top, so the most important question is if you want a career in fashion journalism is: Are you willing to give it your all?