"A Designers Journey" | FashionJobs.com
"A Designers Journey" | FashionJobs.com
Since 2001, FashionJobs.com has been connecting recruiters and candidates. An individual’s successful journey in the fashion industry hinges on several factors, such as, but not limited to, the right training, forward-thinking style, strong business sense, knowledge of current fashion trends, creativity and good communication skills.
Designer and fashion industry expert Geraldine Wharry confirms several of these points: “To become a designer you need to acquire a degree in the craft you have chosen whether it is fashion, textiles, and interiors to name a few. Once you have specialised, it boils down to hard work, curiosity, passion, initiative. But above and beyond technique, you have to have an unwavering curiosity, thirst for knowledge and work ethic in the increasingly competitive field of creative studies and design.”
Wharry’s advice to succeed in the industry is nothing new: training, practice and a vision. She says that although everyone wants to work for big brands it may be possible to learn much more with a smaller brand or emerging designer. Sound advice for a social media fuelled era, where long-standing traditions are being challenged by the ‘see now, buy now’ trend seeking to take a long-term hold.
Whether it be because of social media, ease of availability or simply increased interest, there seems to be a lot more people interested in fashion than ever before, with new designers trying to find a place in the fashion world. Wharry says that when she graduated 17 years ago the economy was much better and there were less students entering the workforce as fashion designers. When asked if even compared to 10 years ago it is more difficult to become a designer now she said: “I think so because there are less jobs available and the pay is not as good in comparison to the cost of living. There are too many students in women's and men's fashion design.”
From a recruiter’s perspective, Claire Wright, Retail Recruitment Manager for Europe, Michael Kors, stated that the most important quality she searches for in a candidate is a vibrant and warm/engaging personality. As for experience and qualifications, for her experience on the whole is most important but does admit that for more technical roles qualifications can form part of the criteria.
When it comes to the actual recruitment process, something Wright finds frustrating is nothing new: candidates who don’t read the job posting properly and still apply without meeting the given requirements. She also adds that longevity and loyalty to a company are important factors when screening a CV, with those who have frequently changed jobs often not making the short-list.
Elaine Mulvihill, Director of Operations at People Marketing Fashion Recruitment has a similar approach when looking for candidates. She says that although it depends on the job, the most important aspect is that they have a personality fit for the company. After that she looks to see that they have the skills required to fill the role. As to the question of experience trumping qualifications for her as well experience (in most cases) is the most important, “as with experience, you learn how to handle different situations, and seek out anything within a job/task that may need addressing. However, if the role is at entry level, qualifications come into play, but it is always useful to have some work experience to back this up.”
Her advice to those looking for a job in the fashion industry is to do their research. “There are so many fantastic companies that do not fall into the ‘brand’ or ‘retailer’ side that will give you the best 1st step into the fashion industry. I wouldn’t be blinded by looking for working at the company with the best name, but instead, look at what you can get out of the role at the company you are interviewing with. There are lots of benefits within working in the fashion industry but it is hard work.”
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