Blame it on The Devil Wears Prada, Cathy Horyn’s scathing comments, or the over-the-top instagrams of Anna Wintour’s assistants, but the fashion world is one industry with a lot of myth and hype surrounding it. Sure these tidbits can be entertaining, but if you’re actually looking to work in fashion, we thought it might be useful to reveal some of the realities—the straightforward truths that aren't often discussed. We asked each of our Who What Wear editors (as well as our co-founders!) for a nugget of fashion industry wisdom, which they think anyone interested in a similar career might find useful.
Scroll down for eight things no one’s ever told you about working in the fashion industry.
"Be friendly. I've always found that a kind and approachable attitude will get you ahead in this industry. It's usually unexpected and it's always met with a positive response." -Alex Taylor, Senior Director of Digital Strategy
“Once upon a time, the fashion industry was super specialized and totally hierarchical: editors edited, writers wrote, and stylists styled, period. You didn’t get to step outside your very specific box, pretty much ever. But in today’s working world, the most successful people are proficient at everything. They can write the perfect tweet, assemble a polished presentation, create and curate content, and really take a hands-on, 360-degree approach to all aspects of their work.” -Hillary Kerr, Co-Founder & Co-CEO
"The one thing I really wish someone had told me about working in the fashion industry is that it's actually not nearly as intimidating as it seems. I used to feel like I wasn't cool enough to even be in the same room as some of the people I've had the good luck of working under and with. But one major thing I've learned is that people are just people. I don't care if you're in a room with Marc Jacobs—he still has to eat, sleep, and breathe, just like you and I do. I think understanding this has helped me go further in my career than I would have otherwise." -Meghan Blalock, Managing Editor
"Luckily, I'm a big fan of women so it's not a problem, but I didn't realize how sparse my interactions with men in the workplace would be until I actually started working in the fashion industry. If you're the personality type that needs a balanced gender presence, it's something to consider before pursuing." -Nicole Kliest, Senior Editor
“Things change so quickly in fashion, especially when you produce online content. You have to learn to solve problems on the spot and be open to a flexible schedule—the sooner you learn to stress less the easier your life will be!” -Michelle Scanga, Associate Editor
"Intern. And not only that, but intern in different areas of the industry. It's easy to think that all jobs in fashion are similar, but you will quickly learn how different a job in PR can be from an editorial position, just as an example. Sometimes the best internships are the ones that teach you what you don't want to do." –Nicole Akhtarzad, Fashion Assistant
“If you want to work in editorial (magazines or online), there really isn’t a need to go to fashion school, which can be quite expensive. I’d actually recommend attending a traditional university and gaining fashion experience through internships, so you can have a more flexible and well-rounded educational background in case you decide to move to a different industry.” -Kat Collings, Editorial Director
“You need to know that the 'work' is just as hard as in any other profession. It's a business at the end of the day, and it takes drive, focus, and lots of long hard hours filled with sometimes manual labor to be successful. It's not all glamour and free swag.” -Katherine Power, Co-Founder & Co-CEO
What career advice would you give your younger self? Let us know in the comments below!