8 Ways to Kick Start Your Fashion Career

We've boiled it down to a science.
Image c/o Ayyyna Budaeva for Couturesque Magazine

It's often easy to feel like your dreams aren't attainable - maybe you think you're too young, don't have good enough connections, or you live too far away from a big fashion citySo while it's true that the fashion industry is tough to break in to, it's certainly not impossible.  With the rise of the Internet and digital communication, it's never been easier to establish your fashion career than it is right now.  Here are the crucial steps to take you from nada to Prada.

1. Get a Mentor
Is there an editor, photographer, or blogger whose career you would love to emulate?  Someone who inspires you, day in and day out?  E-mail them and let them know!  Compose a concise message that is thoughtful, unique, and genuine, proofread for perfect grammar and spelling, and send it off.  You may not hear back, but if you do, you might just have yourself a mentor for life - I've made countless relationships from just e-mailing people whose work I admire.  Now, I even get e-mails asking for advice!
2. Be an Expert
Don't expect to make it big without knowing your stuff.  Stay up to date on the latest industry news everyday - designers like Alexander Wang recount checking Style.com every single day as a student, and being hyper-aware of the latest shows and trends.  Invest in books that will help you learn the basics of the industry; no matter what field in fashion you hope to pursue, we recommend Harriet Posner's Marketing Fashion: Strategy, Branding and Promotion (2nd edition)It's an absolute must-read.
3. Do Well at School
Whoever said that the fashion industry wasn't smart had no idea what they were talking about.  These days, a solid university degree is vital to getting a job at a magazine or PR firm, and even many designers have set the benchmark at having an M.A. in Design.  Even if you aren't following the post-secondary route, you need to be a strong writer and businessperson with excellent critical thinking skills in order to do well in the industry.  Math and English might not seem applicable right now, but they will serve you well in the future!
4. Build Your Portfolio
You've probably heard it before, but starting a blog or Instagram can really create a lot of notoriety in the fashion world.  Using either platform to promote your work - whether its design, styling, or writing - is an awesome way to show that your aesthetic has an audience, and to create an incentive for brands to work with you.  Top magazines and fashion PR agencies have both said on record that they always look at an applicant's Instagram feed to better understand their take to the industry, and many bloggers have been head-hunted by publications from their websites.

5. Look for Opportunities
Keep your ear to the ground about trade fairs, events, and internships in your area.  The Fashionista Careers page can be great if you're in a big city looking for an internship, but even if you're still in high school, brands like TeenVogue, as well as here at Couturesque, create a lot of chances to get involved and learn more about the industry.  We're currently in the process of revamping our Internship program, so sit tight for updates in the next couple of months... 

6. Make Friends
Getting connected doesn't always mean networking with top fashion executives - oftentimes, forming relationships with your own peers can open up many doors.  I often collaborate on projects with friends who I have interned with or met at seminars, and it's amazing to see what kinds of jobs and work they land.  You can stay in touch and help each other out as both of your careers progress.  Look for Facebook groups for fashion interns in your area, or start one yourself!

7. Absorb Everything
Learn from watching what the experts do, even from afar.  How did your favourite brand use social media to promote their latest collection?  What makes your favourite blogger's Instagram so appealingHow was that magazine article written with such strong detail?  Read and watch everything, and then analyze it in a way that applies to your own situation. 

8. Start Working    
Nothing is stopping you from getting started right now.  Practice makes perfect, so grab your sewing machine and sketchbook, or start planning an article you'd like to write.  It may not end up in Vogue, but so what?  You're building your skillset, and pursuing your passions.  Working in fashion should always be fun, too!  

Tia Elisabeth is the 17 year-old Editor in Chief of Couturesque.  Since founding the publication at the age of 15, her work has been recognized by Condé Nast and she has worked with some of the world's top luxury brands.  You can keep up with Tia on Instagram, at @tia.elisabeth.

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I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief