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 What are some tips for working in fashion?

Answer: The fashion industry is a notoriously hard industry to break into, and if you don’t have family connections or are starring in a reality TV show, you may be wondering: how on Earth do I make it in the fashion industry?!

Here are a few tips and lessons I’ve learned along the way. (Giselle Bowyer, Designer @ Ralph Lauren)

Be extra internet savvy

I landed two design jobs and countless interviews through the power of Linkedin. It’s so easy to find a person’s email address these days, so if you want your resume to be seen — send it to the right person. Rather than sending your resume to the general company email, take initiative and go directly to the HR Director or someone who works in the department you wish to work in.

It’s okay to be nice

Hiring managers want to hire people that are fun to work with. It doesn’t matter if you’re uber talented — if it appears you might be difficult to work or get along with, you’re not getting hired. You don’t have to be a harsh Miranda Priestly type to get to the top, or even to land the best fashion industry jobs. It’s actually okay to be nice!

Network, network, network

During college I got a Saturday job working at a gym, and (unbeknownst to me at the time), it was frequented by some of the top designers in NYC. I built up the courage to ask them for interviews, timing it well (last thing you want to do is annoy them in their free time), but it worked for me and led to internships at Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriguez and Calvin Klein. Of course you might not be bumping into Anna Wintour on a daily basis, but there are a million ways to network. Keep in touch with everyone from school (that guy who never turned up to class could be the next Michael Kors), and attend fashion lectures/events (if you’re in NYC, 92y often bring in major fashion designers to talk), and get friendly with the people there — you never know who they might become.

Roll up your sleeves & get ready to (seriously) work

This is a phrase I’ve been told many times in interviews, and it’s no joke. I’ve worked 16 hours straight (for free), and gone days without free time, as we were too busy. I was that girl running around the garment district with four large fabric rolls thrown over my shoulders. Fashion is glamorous about 5% of the time…and the rest? Get ready to work like never before!

Patience is a virtue

It won’t happen overnight, so keep writing those emails and learn the industry inside and out. If you have enough determination and a strong work ethic, you will get there!