Everyone can write, but not everyone can write well. Breaking into the fashion industry as a writer is probably a thought that has never crossed your mind, but in a time where blogging dominates the online world — it’s never been a more realistic career path.
It wasn’t too long ago where a sustainable career in fashion would mean coming from an influential family or completing years of fashion-related studies at a prestigious university. While this often still applies, the fashion community has become less exclusive and recently welcomed more entry methods for driven fashionistas with a voice.
Many people wonder whether working in fashion is reliable — but the industry continues to see year-on-year growth financially and holds a low unemployment rate. To give you an idea of the scale of work in the UK, there are 555,000 people in fashion, textiles and fashion retail — which is a market with a domestic value of £66 billion.
In this article, we look at what it takes to land a position as a fashion journalist in 2019, and it’s not just jet-setting around the world to each country’s much-anticipated Fashion Week.
Fashion Journalist Opportunities
Becoming a fashion journalist usually enables a person to experience a range of different opportunities in their role, with the potential to further their career and develop their personal brand in the meantime. When you think of fashion journalism, your mind will naturally consider print magazines — the likes of Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and ELLE. This is the most dominant medium for fashion communication, followed by newspaper columns and books.
However, more magazines are making their move online, despite print remaining an extremely influential news outlet for fashion, especially on a subscription-lead basis. Writing is a massive part of fashion journalism, especially for well-established publications. It’s a chance for those passionate about fashion to share their own experiences and opinions on the latest events and trends within the industry — building up a loyal community of readers who will likely return to read future pieces.
Although writing is extremely significant for someone in this role, the increased visual appetite of consumers has led to more broadcasting opportunities for well-established journalists. This in turn has allowed people to further their own career across a range of areas. When TV opportunities do present themselves, you will usually see fashion experts appear as correspondents on news shows where they can express their opinions on any topical areas, or as guest panellists on daytime programmes. As well as those routes of presenting, online video platforms that host interviews or Q&A’s are becoming more common too.
Fashion journalists must always be ahead of the curve and build strong relationships with everyone in the field if they want to propel their careers even further in the future. Taking up new opportunities and gaining experience in an array of different areas will allow you to become one of the most powerful fashion journalists in the world — but drive, passion and attitude all play a significant role in success.
Traditional vs. Modern Entry Routes
University is often the main route for those wanting to land a successful career in the fashion sector, as this will teach the core skills to become a journalist, critic or broadcaster — the necessary qualities now required. Today, courses will cover a range of print and digital skills, which allows graduates to easily adapt to any working environment and keep up with the constant changes that the industry is facing and making them more employable than any other applicant.
Typically, fashion-based university courses last three years and expect those who apply to have some experience within the field — with the ability to provide a portfolio of work at the interview stage. With this in mind, it’s crucial to gain as much experience as you can get in the area you’d like to focus on in the future and express this in your personal statement. For writers in particular, having your own blog where you can express your own views is essential. Aside from this, you could even reach out to major publications and ask them to host your work; building up valuable relationships at an early stage of your career.
If you’re adamant on going to university, industry-specific work experience will work in your favour too. Although the companies you work for will depend on your location — with many major brands and publications in London — there are still countless opportunities up for grabs. Check out your regional news publications and marketing agencies that work with big brands, where you could become a copywriter!
However, university may not be for everyone. If you want to enter the fashion industry more naturally, it will take a lot of hard work and dedication, but if you’re passionate, this shouldn’t be a problem. It’s all about studying in your own time and developing your knowledge about the industry itself.
As mentioned previously, a blog is always essential if you aim to become a respected writer in fashion — whether you find yourself writing about blazers for men or women’s dresses. You can create your own website for free on the likes of WordPress, Wix and Yola, which will allow you to test the waters and publish your work for the world to see.
If you want everyone to see your work, you must focus on your personal brand and create a great reputation for yourself across social media platforms. As fashion-focused content is usually visual, Instagram could allow you to create a loyal audience if you’re able to post high-quality images for everyone to gasp over. If you want to create a strong image portfolio for everyone to admire, you should try and stick to a colour theme which allows your profile to look professional — think whites and pastel hues! From this, you’ll be able to direct your following to your website.
Once you have established your presence online, freelance will become a lucrative option for you to take. This could be offering expertise on major fashion events for a range of different publications, or editing other peoples work; allowing you to maintain a stable income each month.
From the above, a career in fashion is possible and many doors have opened to enable multiple entry methods. Which one will you take?