In media and popular culture, the fashion industry is often portrayed as a boxing ring of sorts, filled with impeccably dressed and seemingly shallow people backstabbing, sabotaging, and namedropping in order to beat the competition.
I’m not going to lie to you – situations like that do occur in fashion, but not nearly as often as you’d think (and it’s usually seen as an act of utter desperation when someone sabotages your work). Competition can cause some people to crumble, but competition can also be a cause for good.
There is nothing like some healthy competition to get you motivated. Studying at fashion school, everyone seems to have something to prove. Sitting in a class with hundreds of other students, all of whom ultimately share your same goal of working in fashion - this can fill you with hunger to make yourself and what you have to offer known. Acknowledging this challenge is a great wake up call. It can seem daunting at times - God knows I’ve felt the pressure - but if you take it by the reigns it can become a very real motivator. If a job in fashion is your ambition, you must ask yourself “what do I have to offer?”
I started asking myself this more regularly and it really made me up my game. Whilst studying Fashion Marketing, I came to realize that in reality, I am not good at business and marketing. I am inherently a creative soul and these conflicting needs became particularly frustrating for me this term. There’s nothing like studying a course you don’t thrive in to make you feel like you’re failing at life. Honestly, the whole process of going to university and seeing heaps of other people who knew what they were doing and why made me feel utterly incompetent. In all honesty, I was actually on the verge of just giving up and dropping out (luckily, I didn’t).
Instead, I work hard on developing my real passions outside of the classroom. I fill my time with writing, creating, interning, and working on Couturesque, because I know these will be more valuable to me in the future than a course that I don’t enjoy.
At the end of the day, you are your biggest competition. I was stood alone in that boxing ring and was practically at the point of sabotaging myself. No one else thought I was incompetent – only me. Self-doubt is one of the greatest barriers in any career. Because if you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t have the confidence to know that you have something to offer, then you willcrumble, and the competition will win.
Fashion is an industry with so much opportunity, and if you believe in yourself, then you can and will succeed, because others will believe in you too. There will be no cause for desperation or to backstab or sabotage someone else. Competition in the industry should be seen as a good thing. It makes us work harder, and when you work honestly for something, the satisfaction when you achieve it will be so much sweeter.