Staying up to date with the LA fashion industry is no easy task with its ever-changing trends and evolving style—but, Melissa Poster tries to do just that with her LA fashion industry blogs. The Fashion Trend Guide and its offshoot The Key to Chic uses Melissa's trend-forecasting skills, keen fashion style and writing skills to keep the pulse on California's fashion industry.
Melissa isn't just a blogger though, she has a BA from UCLA and AA in Fashion Merchandising, and was mentored by California fashion industry forecasting professionals. After learning the precarious art of fashion forecasting she branched off on her own and started her blogs.
We recently sat down (virtually) with Melissa, where she got her to put her trend forecasting skills to work—and the outcome was anecdotal and extremely tangible advice for our aspiring fashionista readers:
How did you get your foot into the door of the fashion industry?
The most important thing I did to get started in the fashion industry was to go back to college for a Fashion Merchandising degree and complete internships in areas of the industry that interested me. The best advice I received from mentors when I was a student was to "intern, intern, and intern some more." One of my internships was with a Los Angeles fashion forecasting firm, where I discovered my passion for researching and predicting trends. That's how I got my start.
I started Fashion Trend Guide as a result of being inspired by street style blogs in early 2007. Over the years, my blog evolved into a general fashion blog focusing on trends, travel, fashion tips, shopping, and my personal style. In order to share more of my personal style, I started The Key To Chic in June 2011. I've always had a passion for fashion trend forecasting, shopping, traveling, and writing, and both of my blogs serve as creative outlets. They also allow me to share inspiration and connect with like-minded readers.
Do you hold any other fashion-related positions in the industry?
I have experience as a fashion forecasting consultant, footwear product development specialist, and secondhand clothing dealer.
What type of education did it take to get you where you are today? And how has your career path progressed over the years?
I have a B.A. from UCLA and an A.A. in Fashion Merchandising. Both my work in the fashion forecasting sector and my blogging experience have given me great experience and opportunities in the industry. As I previously stated, I think internships are highly valuable for achieving your goals and getting your foot in the door.
If you had it to do all over again what would you do differently, change or improve?
If I had to do it over again, I might have taken more business classes during my time at UCLA. I also would have done more internships with Los Angeles-based fashion companies and attended industry events in order to develop a network of contacts and friends.
Which designers and/or artists influenced you the most as a creative professional?
As a blogger, I'm naturally influenced by many bloggers who I admire, including Liz from Late Afternoon and Helena from Brooklyn Blonde. As far as fashion designers, I'm drawn to the work of Karen Walker, Carven, Jason Wu, and Mary Katranzou.
What is the most important skill or hard lesson you have learned while working on your fashion blog?
Maintaining a fashion blog is harder than it looks. It takes persistence, planning, and creativity to constantly create original content and develop a readership. There is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes, especially when it comes to attending events, negotiating with advertisers, editing photos, and email correspondence. Since I started Fashion Trend Guide, I've learned new skills in areas such as: SEO, copyright infringement, marketing, journalism, photography, ethics, HTML coding, advertising, publicity, and social media.
Do you accept interns looking to get a career in fashion writing, blogging, PR or in reviewing?
At this time, I'm not looking for an intern, however, it's something I may consider in the future.
Which role(s) in the fashion industry do you think will offer the best career opportunities moving forward? eg. designer, PR, entrepreneur, etc.?
Social media has created new positions that did not exist when I was a fashion student. Companies know that reaching their customers via sites and apps such as Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr is key to building trust, interacting with customers, and increasing sales. Moving forward, I think social media and marketing jobs in conjunction with innovative marketing techniques and campaigns will see remarkable growth in the fashion industry.
What designer(s) or brand(s) influenced you the most as a creative professional?
As a blogger, I'm influenced by the online retailers whose sites I visit often, such as Threadsence and Nasty Gal, as well as fast fashion stores such as H&M, Foreign Exchange, Topshop, and Forever 21.
Which skills do you consider to be most critical for a career in fashion?
Creativity is key, but so is knowing how to market yourself and make meaningful connections in the industry.
What would you recommend for aspiring fashion professionals looking to break into today's fashion industry?
Set specific short and long-term goals for yourself, envision yourself achieving them, be nice to people, work hard, don't be afraid to start at the bottom, and stay positive.
Check out more interviews at The Fashion-Schools.org Interview Series.