Beyond the press packs, bar tabs and party invitations, the fashion industry is governed by bitter sweet life lessons – those which define us and those which we defined. These lessons not only shape the fashion world but the world of those playing the fashion game – and what a fickle game it is.
1. Individuality and originality is key
After 14 runway shows, 12 press showings and three after parties at fashion week all showing collections with the same three seasonal elements, originality and individuality fast become the luxury hot-words. Instead of following the fashpack, follow your own lead and have a bit of freshness about your style, work ethic, career outlook or drink of choice. It’s a compelling industry but so is a point of difference.
2. The benefit to having skin as thick as the soles of your Louboutins
...even better, as thick as your platform soles, or that crocodile tote (you get the idea). In an industry owned by wealth, power and social hierarchy, those winning the fashion game were never easily offended. A catty comment or a subtle name-not-on-the-guest-list move should never be your dying moment. Keep your head and morals as high as those stilettoes.
3. The necessity to be true to yourself and your career
Flashing lights, party vibes and perks of the job are wonderful but don’t let those things outshine your values and the reason you love fashion. Be true to your style, be true to your career, be true to yourself every day and success will come without even trying. The best part about the fashion industry is it welcomes personal influences and those leading the field can be who they are while still making all the right kinds of impressions.
4. To know PR companies and their reps are well-paid, university educated sales people
Brands pay PR companies to force their product into the market, onto the top shelf and to make money. It’s that simple. So don’t feel obliged to turn down a press release, invitation or even a meeting. Much like you don’t have to buy the dress the sales person says looks great on you, you don’t have to help with their promotion plight.
5. The importance of having a “look”
This comes in handy when PR companies are sending press packs or designers are wanting you to wear their pieces front row. Having a look which you own, work and hold like a pro defines what you stand for and what you’re about. It will also make sure you get a lipstick sample in a shade you’d actually wear.
6. How to build and don’t burn bridges
It doesn’t matter how much you dislike your opponent...and those shoes....always be gracious. This is for two reasons: ten years in the future, said opponent could be compiling the guest list your name is at the top of and fussing to make sure their most important client is comfortable– but they could also be the person you end up serving coffee to. Grudges stick around in the fashion industry much the same as big hair never really went completely out of style.
7. The importance of knowing how fortunate you are
Nobody builds a career in the fashion industry because it was plan B or because they couldn’t get a graduate job – the fashion industry is owned by people who only ever had a plan A. They love what they do and do what they love, literally mixing work and play, working their fashion dream. Be thankful every day you are one of the few people in the world who can say you do all those things, who can combine work and passion, who was true to their dream and is now living the benefits.