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How to Get a Job in Fashion by Team Vogue Arabia

job in fashion

Photo by Louis Christopher for Vogue Arabia

Before, throughout, and post-pandemic, one of the most frequently asked questions Vogue receives is how to get a job in fashion. The Vogue Arabia team weighs in.

Alexandria Gouveia, Managing editor
“What’s great about fashion journalism right now is that everybody has the opportunity to become a content creator. If you want it badly enough, you can show your passion on a weekly, daily, hourly basis through blogs, social media, and any other digital channel you care to mention. But it’s crucial to create from a place of knowledge. If you want to be a fashion writer then learn its history. Study designers and acquaint yourself with their style and approach. Take a degree course in journalism or media to learn the fundamentals of the industry. After that, your greatest lessons will be learned on the job. An internship will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in fashion from the ground up. Not all internships lead to jobs, but the ones that do will come via tenacity, hard work, and a real can-do attitude. Here’s something important to know: while fashion might look glamorous, the reality of the job is far from it. This is no 9-to-5 career, and more than 70% of your day-to-day is research. The job is hard, the days are long, and the egos should be left at home. As a manager it’s important to motivate and encourage your team, but also to push them when you know they have more to give. It’s about support, but also driving them be the best they can be. The advice that has resonated most in my career? ‘Don’t be the problem. Don’t complain when something isn’t working. Instead, always find a solution.’ If you can master that type of positivity – in an industry where rarely nothing runs to plan –  then the sky’s the limit.”

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Donna Williams, Art director
“If you are looking for a job as an art director at a fashion magazine, you need to first study graphic design. And of course, study fashion magazines from cover to cover. It’s not enough to have the skills to design a magazine, you need to have the eye and the taste to design it, too. You need to be able to balance what you think is visually appealing with what you think the reader will want to derive from the experience of reading the magazine. You need to have a love of typography, meaning that you love the ‘why’ that fonts are designed, the shapes that you can make with them, and the negative space on the page. You also need to be able to have a bird’s eye view of the magazine as a whole. The is because as you design, you need to be aware of what story is coming before and what is coming after. Study designs by great art directors of the past, like Alexander Liberman, Alexey Brodovitch, Cipe Pineles, and of course Fabien Baron. Constantly draw inspiration from everything you see around you, from art exhibitions, to brochures, to other magazines, too. Be a sponge. Soak up the creativity that lives and breathes all around us. Always be looking at what other publications and other Vogues are doing design-wise as this will not only keep you inspired but also motivated to be a better designer and think outside of the box.”

job in fashion

Photo by Louis Christopher for Vogue Arabia

Katie Trotter, Fashion director
“The journey to becoming a fashion director can come from many differing backgrounds, in that there is no magic path. In fact, often the most interesting fashion directors have a background in art, fashion design, literature, or art history. Study what fascinates you. A degree will give you life experience and the chance to grow and surround yourself with people with the same goals, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee direct employment in the field. Gaining the right work experience is imperative to success, so if you do decide to further your studies, try to choose a degree that offers a year in industry, where you can learn from the masters. Keep your interests and knowledge wide, we are living in a fast changing world when it comes to content, so ensure to keep ahead of the game and be brave and unwavering in your vision. Read everything you can get your hands on in terms of culture, art, film, and literature – this will enable you to create on a more educated and artistic level. More importantly, understand how to tell a story with passion. Content needs to make people feel something, to evoke emotion. While that is innate for some, others will have to work on it. Make that your goal.”

Also read: 5 Tips to Ace Your Career From a Boss Woman CEO

Caterina Minthe, Features director
“A person who seeks a career in fashion storytelling must first master the art of the interview, which is not to be confused with a conversation. Reporting about fashion should not imply writing solely about clothes but rather writing about clothes in the context of their culture and time. In order to do so, you must immerse yourself in the high arts but also street arts, the music scene, politics, women’s rights, travel, and design. A university degree in journalism, literature, or the arts is essential. Study the history of fashion but also its craft so that you can implement correct terms and techniques when describing clothes. Read fashion reviews to help develop your sense of analysis. Attend creative writing workshops, read iconic literature, and Vogue. Strive to write a story that no one else can. Write whenever possible and show your work to whomever will read it. Ask for their critique – if a story is worth debating then it is worth reading. When you think you have mastered this, apply for an internship or freelance work in fashion features as a first ‘in.’ The opportunity to learn from and be trained by others with years of experience is a gift many sorely miss today.”

Ankita Chandra, Photo editor
“Photo editors are a unique breed of storytellers. Their roles exist between the writer and the photographer in having a story told. As a photo editor of a fashion magazine, you not only need to have an extensive knowledge of photography itself but also in the ways fashion can best be expressed through photography. To be a good photo editor, it is imperative to have a nuanced understanding of the visual medium and also be interested in a wide variety of topics across the cultural spectrum and have a strong leaning towards art, history, politics, and pop culture. Using this knowledge, you must be able to source relevant existing imagery from photo libraries to editorial briefs. Additionally, you must have built an extensive folio of contacts of photographers, agents, picture libraries, and creative talent worldwide. A photo editor is also required to skillfully art direct, produce, and photograph high quality visual content from portraits, fashion/lifestyle, reportage, architecture/interiors, food, and travel, to conceptual still-life, and everything in-between. The best first steps in this direction would be to acquire a strong educational background in photography and the visual arts, an internship in a magazine to understand the inner workings of the publication world, followed by an apprenticeship with an experienced photo editor at a fashion magazine.”

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