Working Toward A Career In Fashion: What You Need To Know

Jan 6, 2018 by

Have you been thinking about a job in the fashion industry? Have you asked yourself what is fashion merchandising? If you don’t already know, it’s a career that allows you to express your design style and creative vision in multiple ways through clothing, texture, and color. If it’s something that you’ve been dreaming about for years but just not sure what direction to go, there are some things to consider. Education,  setting up a portfolio, and many more things. Here are just a few examples of how you can get started. 

Visit Fashion Shows

One of the first steps in obtaining a career in fashion, specifically as a merchandiser, is to get a general idea as to how the industry functions with trends. Style is one of the most important elements and the best way to get a good idea of what’s the latest in fashion is to attend as many shows as possible. In many cases, you may not be able to attend a lot of high-end fashion shows due to the high ticket prices and invitation-only entry requirements.  One suggestion is to start locally. Try to attend as many fashion shows through local fashion boutiques and fundraisers. Many times, smaller boutique shows highlight some of the top designers on their own models. This gives you a sense of how designs are worn and highlighted on the models. Eventually, you can strive to attend higher-end fashion festivals by connecting via social media with various designers. 


To reach your goals in the fashion industry, one place to also begin is with an education in fashion. Getting a degree in fashion can fall under several categories, including:

  • Fashion and visual merchandising 
  • Costume, fashion, textile and knitwear design
  • Fashion journalism
  • Fashion styling

All of these categories are in addition to a comprehensive educational format that can range from a certificate program all the way to a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising. It depends on how advanced the program needs are as well as the length of time and credit hours per semester it takes to complete the program. This starts with figuring out if you want to focus on merchandising only or incorporate several specialties. Finding the right school that is appealing to your needs and overall financial budget is important. 


To bridge the gap between getting your certificate or diploma and actually launching your career, you’ll likely need to intern through a fashion agency. This is a great way to gain the experience that you need to be a team player in the fashion world. Whether you’ll eventually be designing a clothing line for a top distributor or you will be working independently, your internship you can place on your resume and portfolio to amp up your overall appeal to a new client or employer. Internships will be offered through your college and organized through your professor, although some schools may allow you to branch out on your own and work with a company that is willing to shadow interns. This is something you’ll need to discuss with your school’s advisor in order to come up with the best overall plan of action. 

Entry Level Job In Fashion

Finding an entry-level job in fashion is what you should be focusing on right now. It allows for a great opportunity to again build your resume from the bottom up. It will prepare you for promoting products while learning how to prepare in-store presentations. Some possibilities include:

  • Fashion designer assistant
  • Retail buyer coordinator
  • Entry-level merchandiser
  • Personal stylist or assistant
  • Retail clothing sales associate

Any type of job in the fashion world at an entry level can help boost your expertise and make you all the more familiar with fashion lingo and the overall language of the fashion industry. Even answering phones or working in the retail office of a clothing store or boutique can help you gain more familiarity with style and clothing placement. All of these positions can prepare you for you’re a future fashion career and give you the building blocks for overall success. 

Working your way up the fashion corporate ladder isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. But it doesn’t mean you can’t reach your goals and have a successful future in the industry. It takes small steps to gain the power, popularity, and know-how that top fashion experts have as part of their repertoire. Implementing several roles will help you achieve your goals that much faster. 

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