Our readers are generally creative individuals looking for tangible advice on how to break into the cut-throat fashion industry, either by finding the right education degree program, securing a first job or starting their own small label. If this sounds like you, read on.
When I came across Fashion United (part of the Fashion Education Network) during a late night link-to-link internet browsing session I knew immediately that this is something that our readers would gravitate to. Throughout our Interview Series we have heard time and time again how critical it is to network locally and globally, and to use all the tools available to you. Enter Fashion United.
With more fashion resources than you could ever hope for, Fashion United is paving the way for motivated people to enter the fashion industry. By offering their members a large international Job Board (which features internship opportunities as well), networking opps, industry-wide contacts, trade news, executive recruitment, directories, network tools, e-markets, events and other global fashion industry solutions, they are empowering aspiring designers with the tools they need to break into the industry. Oh, and by the way, its free.
Through their helpful staff I connected with Sarah Delatour, their International Marketing Executive, who was eager to offer advice to our readers about how to successfully break into the industry, and also what Fashion United tools can help them do it:
For any of our readers not familiar with you could you explain your company's vision?
FashionUnited is a leading business-to-business, cross-media fashion platform enabling fashion professionals and companies to make their activities more fun and efficient.
As an independent trade organization we operate worldwide, crossing borders and cultures, to optimise the industry's way of working. Our activities are based on, and driven by, cross media services using opportunities that this fast dynamic world offers. The main target is to make the fashion industry more fun and efficient by using the one-stop-shop services, including trade news, job databases, executive recruitment, directories, network tools, e-markets and events.
What inspired the idea and creation of the Fashion Education Network to help connect up-and-coming fashion graduates with professionals already working in the fashion industry?
Students are the upcoming generation of fashion professionals and often leave school finding it hard to get a foot into the fashion industry. Many have had great education and have many creative idea’s, but not a platform to present themselves.
The Fashion Education Network is a non-profit initiative, which stimulates interaction and knowledge sharing between fashion educators and students worldwide through an online platform www.FashionUnited.com/education. Furthermore, the Fashion Education Network aims to bridge the gap between schools and the industry by connecting them and offering schools a platform to present themselves and interact with the industry.
As the leading fashion education platform we offer relevant News, Jobs & Internships, a Lookbook tool and global industry connections.
How does an individual get connected with you to use your services?
Through our local international fashion industry news: www.FashionUnited.com
Through the FashionUnited Network: Connect interact and share on the leading online Fashion Network for professionals with over 35.000 members.
Through the Fashion Education Network website: www.FashionUnited.com/education
What are some of the successes the Fashion Education Network has had so far?
I think our biggest success so far is that we received a great amount of positive responses to our initiative by schools and institutes. Currently we collaborate with over 150 schools and have a good relationship with educators and students worldwide. Since the start of the Fashion Education Network we have grown strong support from schools and students and have a growing number of returning visitors monthly. We are quickly growing into the leading international platform that focuses on Fashion Education.
Besides your services, how else would you recommend up-and-coming designers to promote themselves?
Well first of all, make sure that you are present everywhere. Online and offline. Integrate all the channels you use to reach your audience so that everyone can find you easily, through every channel, whether its through your Facebook profile, your FashionUnited passport, twitter account, LinkedIn profile, your blog, online portfolio or at a network event.
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 studied International Communication, knowing that I wanted to work in the fashion industry, but wanting to educate myself in a broader sense. I knew that if I wanted to work in the fashion industry it would be possible, as long as I focused on that. During my studies I had to do an internship, which I did at FashionUnited, leading to a job offer after my graduation.
What is the most important skill and/or hard lesson you have learned while working in the industry?
That if you want to succeed in the fashion industry you definitely need to be creative but more importantly you need to understand the industry and market. You are lucky to know how to design a dress, but you also need to know how to make people want the dress and wear it!
If FashionUnited (and the Fashion Education Network) were going to recruit another employee/intern where would you look for them and what would you look for?
At FashionUnited we often hire interns who can support our activities. Being internationally orientated or speaking more languages is definitely a plus. Furthermore we look for people that are creative, commercial and show initiative.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashion professionals looking to break into today's fashion industry?
Everything is possible as long as you have a strong focus. As soon as you know what your goals are, try to figure out how to realize them (realistically) and go for it. Always focus on becoming better at what you are good at and try to get better at what your weaknesses are.
Check out more interviews at The Fashion-Schools.org Interview Series.