If you have a sartorial eye and a creative mind, a career in fashion could prove enormously fruitful. The glitz and the glamour of haute-couture runway shows, exposure to cultural icons, and the ability to determine style attracts many would-be tastemakers; those successful enough to break through the steep entry barriers, however, recognize that the industry requires sharp business acumen as well. Jobs in fashion are often grueling for little pay, but those who are truly passionate about fashion believe that the rewards are well worth the work. Career paths include:
- Design: Determine the cut and fit of clothing, creating and executing a creative vision. Collaborate with illustrators and production artists. After designs are finalized, they are produced by manufacturers.
- Merchandising: Merchandisers bring goods to the public. Includes positions in Visual Display Design (dressing store shelves and windows), Buying (using style know-how and business acumen to fill stores with the season's trends as it aligns to customer demand), and Retail (opening, managing, and staffing stores). Wholesale representatives work to get their company's products into major stores.
- Styling: Stylists work with designers and fashion houses to select looks for clients, including high profile individuals.
- Marketing, Public Relations and Editorial: Communicate messages and information about companies and the industry to various audiences including clients and the general public.
The difficulty of entering the fashion industry renders networking and interning crucial. While many designers have often studied their craft, many on the business end of fashion used prior internship experiences to secure their jobs. Proactivity and initiative are key. Companies typically recruit for interns a semester prior (i.e. spring for summer, summer for fall), and candidates for full time jobs need to be available to work immediately, so for most opportunities start applying 6-8 weeks prior to graduation. Some retailers, like Macy's, The Gap, and Adidas, have full time leadership development programs (see "Retail") for the business side that recruit as early as fall for full time jobs that start after a May graduation.
- Fashion Industry Showcase: Each Spring, CCE holds a joint information session for organizations with opportunities in fashion. CCE also hosts career fairs and employer information sessions throughout the year. Attendees have included Kenneth Cole, Rent the Runway, and Birchbox.
- LionSHARE: Find internships and full time jobs as well as a list of companies that have posted in the past, including StyleSight and Alice + Olivia.
- CCE Internship Programs: CCE helps connect students to domestic and international internships in a wide variety of fields.
- Vault and WetFeet Guides: CCE subscribes to career-focused web services such as Vault and WetFeet, which offer profiles of industries, companies, and careers- the Vault Guide to Fashion Careers is particularly thorough.
Last updated December 2014