Part of what makes working in fashion so alluring is the mystery – it’s not easy to break in and can sometimes feel like an exclusive club only few can gain access to. With mystery comes myth – so what’s real and what isn’t? Is it true that all fashion bosses are Ice Queens? Do you need to live in Paris or New York to work in fashion? Is working in fashion as glamorous as it looks? Let’s break down the three most common misconceptions about working in fashion and get to the truth.
1 – You Need to Live in a “Fashion City”
Historically, there have been four major fashion capitals of the world: Paris, New York, London and Milan. At one time, these were considered the only epicenters of fashion and if you wanted to work in fashion, you would have to make the move.
As the world has become more open through technology, fashion itself has taken on new meanings – i.e.. trends are no longer only dictated by the runway and fashion comes in many forms, not just designer goods. The good news in all that? You have the opportunities to be close to and work in fashion from locations just about anywhere around the world. Consider Canada: we have major fashion magazines, we have up-and-coming designers in every city, and we have top brands like Lululemon and Aritzia that are proud to be Canadian. Though Paris will always be Paris and many of the larger fashion entities (Vogue, Chanel, LVMH, etc.) are still in cities like Paris and New York, fashion is global and opportunity is everywhere.
2 – The Miranda Priestly Stereotype
Many of us who dreamed of working in fashion growing up are familiar with the 2006 flick, “The Devil Wears Prada.” A film depicting a young fashion assistant, Andy and her traumatizing boss, Miranda Priestly. The film portrays Miranda as judgmental, cold, and downright cruel, especially towards her assistant. Miranda represents a common stereotype in fashion – that it is cut-throat, exclusive and has a “mean girl mentality.”
Truthfully, it all depends on where and who you’re working with. Just like any other job, and any other industry – fashion is filled with multitudes of personalities. You may come across a mean boss or a nasty co-worker, but you will also be working in one of the most creative and exciting industries in the world. Fashion attracts plenty of kind and wonderful people too.
3 – Working in Fashion is Glamorous
Much of what we see of fashion on the outside is a fantasy – the glossy spreads in magazines in exotic destinations, the larger-than-life fashion shows (Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel comes to mind) and exclusive parties, like The Met Ball that attract affluence and celebrity. It’s no surprise that fashion appears to be one of the world’s most glamorous industries.
The glamour projected outward is mostly a marketing tool – they are selling you a dream, you buy the clothes, you get the lifestyle, or at least that’s the idea. Behind the scenes, or behind the façade, is a lot of hard work. Depending on what job you’ll be working in, your day to day is not likely going to be filled with lavish parties and jet setting. Just like any other industry, fashion has many moving parts and many jobs that go into the final product. Additionally, though you may be a part of selling very expensive items – fashion doesn’t always pay well. Especially if you’re trying to break into the industry, you may have to start in a lower-level position before you climb the ladder to the corner office.
The good news is, just like any other industry, if you pay your dues and work hard, you can climb the ranks to whatever position you desire – that’s up to you! Plus, Style Nine to Five has the resources to help get you there.
And working in fashion isn’t all work and no play, you will likely get to enjoy some pretty amazing perks – like fancy parties, free clothes and maybe even some business trips to incredible destinations around the world!
Do you have more questions about working in fashion? Style Nine to Five’s Founder, Christie Lohr, is just an email away with the Ask 1 Career Question service.
Sheila O’Neill is a creative, innovative and inspiring storyteller with a background in fashion.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock