Working in fashion? Here’s what you need to do to survive

Published November 4, 2020, 5:19 PM

by John Legaspi

“I love my job. I love my job. I love my job.”

The Devil Wears Prada (FOX)

“A million girls would kill for this job,” that’s one of the iconic quotes from the movie The Devil Wears Prada. Everybody who wants to work in the fashion industry has seen the movie, and takes notes of everything that they can learn from Andy Sachs’ successes and misadventures. All hoping that one day, they too can drink champagne with the fashion elite, get front row seats on runway shows, and if lucky, be taken to style capitals Paris or New York.

Decades after decades, fashion has given birth to numerous jobs, providing everyone a chance to step into its universe, whether on garment creation and media, or something new and more intimate like styling and personal shopping. While these roles have different purposes and missions in the industry, they all require passion, taste, creativity, and, above all, stamina to keep up with its fast-paced world.

Sex and the City’s A Vogue Idea episode (HBO)

As cliché as it is, fashion is not all glamorous. Just like Carrie Bradshaw’s time in Vogue, Emily Cooper’s experience in Savoir, and yes, the push and pull energy between Andy and Miranda Priestly, a life in fashion is never easy. And as soon as new recruits join in fashion’s workforce, they find their fantasy of living in style and luxury shattered by loads of heavy lifting, sleepless nights, and how hard it is to live up with their bosses’ expectations.

Emily in Paris (Netflix)

To help new fashion creatives, world-renowned Filipino fashion influencer and editor at Perfect Magazine Bryanboy and YouTuber Loic Prigent list down rules to comply when working in the fashion industry, and hopefully, how to survive it. So, fashion pupils, listen up!

Be kind and polite

The fashion industry may seem to be all about the art of appearances, but what’s more important than that is how you deal with people. As Bryanboy says, “Fashion is a very small family.” So, wow them not just by love of clothes, but also with courteousness and easiness to work with.

Be professional at all times

Fashion is a business, and just like other industries, professionalism is a must. Nobody wants to have delayed meetings, ill-fitting clothes, or disorganized shoots. Learning the operational side of the business of fashion is essential, too. 

Have a point of view

Uniformity versus expression and standing out from the crowd is fashion’s paradox. While getting to know what’s on trend and aligning your taste with it are important, it does not mean that you lose your sense of individuality. “Your voice is your currency,” as Bryanboy says. So, don’t lose it. 

Never be intimidated

Let’s admit it, it is hard not to be intimidated, especially when you’re a newbie. But it is best to maintain your composure while under pressure. Remember, “fashion is not for the weak… because she [or they] can smell if you’re weak or not.”

Be aware of the world

Working in fashion doesn’t mean you center your focus just on the clothes. Fashion sets the norm, yet it is also dictated by people, events, and other things that are out of its borders. “It is important to be relevant and informed at all times,” Bryanboy says. “Fashion is a reflection of the time we live in.” And a good fashion creative is always aware of what’s shaking things up and what shifts culture.

Be prepared to put in the work

A great collection doesn’t just happen overnight. This goes the same with perfecting an editorial shoot or a fashion article. Get ready to go through a brutal process of researching and editing, an endless journey back to the drawing board, and carrying clothes that weigh more than you can handle, because that’s when art happens.

Engage with people outside the fashion industry

Having a support group outside the fashion circle will keep you grounded and sane. These are the people who may or may not understand you (ehem, Andy’s friends), but they can surely help you get a break when your mind is going crazy about tulle, prints, knits, or whatever it is that is in season. Fashion is all about fantasy, and these people anchor you to reality.

Always have fun

As Bryanboy simply puts it, “If you’re not having fun with what you’re doing, don’t do it. We are not saving lives, we’re just looking at the clothes.” 

Watch Bryanboy’s rules of fashion in this video: