Company Fashion Forum ♡
Last night I went off to Manchester to go to the Company Fashion Forum! The Fashion Forum is basically where some of the fashion industries most successful people speak about how they got their job and some advice for anyone looking to get a job in fashion. So, I arrived with my iPhone at the ready to frantically type notes to deliver to you guys!
The panel consisted of Victoria White and Oonagh Brennan from Company, 3 of the girls from New Look's PR & Marketing team, stylist Karen Jones Russell and Jen from A Little Bird Told Me (sorry for the bad pic of them but it was the best I could get!).
First, Victoria went round the panel asking them about themselves and their jobs. Here are some of the key points I got down from each of the panelists:
New Look: Day to day, they look after social channels (Twitter, Instagram etc) with a team of 4. They do website planning and planning for the brand and stores. They also research in order to find out who the customers are and what they want. They said that "one day is never the same" and it's important to live and breathe fashion to get through the tougher days. Sometimes you have to do things that you don't love in order to build skills, make you more professional etc.
Company: The Company girls told us the most important skills were: work experience, working from the bottom, being organised, passionate and surrounding yourself with fashion.
Jen: Jen said that she quit her full time job after blogging for 2 years because she realised she was missing valuable blogger opportunities. She went freelance and used her contacts from previous jobs. She also said how important contacts are, and to network through twitter and instagram.
Stylist: After studying in Manchester, Karen did work experience at Diesel before going on to work on the shop floor doing Visual Merchandising. She then worked at Whistles, also doing VM before deciding that she wanted to have a new environment everyday and realised her love for styling. She went freelance and got in touch with photographers etc in order to set up her own agency.
They also said a few things about living in London. As the majority of fashion head offices etc are based in London, they said that often it is necessary to live there. However, they recommended that if you didn't want to move down south, that you could set up on your own, find fashion companies based nearer you and to accept that sometimes you have to compromise.
Victoria then asked each panelist for the best pieces of advice for us. They were:
♡ Never turn down an opportunity.
♡ Networking is crucial.
♡ Never change who you are for a job.
♡ Be the first in the door and the last out.
♡ Help everyone as the industry turns around very fast and interns could soon be your boss!
♡ Have a good, open and positive attitude.
♡ Say "yes" to everything.
♡ Let your personality shine through.
♡ Pick something that's right for you and that you feel passionate about.
♡ Always have confidence in yourself and your abilities.
♡ Spend time to make sure you know how to do things. If you're not sure, work it out!
♡ Work hard.
♡ Be open minded about what you want to do.
♡ Take opportunities and see where it leads you.
♡ Have fun - if you can do something you love, you're lucky!
I thought the advice was so helpful and I'll definitely be checking back on this post if I'm ever in doubt about something or need a little inspiration.
Victoria then asked if we had any questions. The main topic that seemed to come up was about what to put on CV's/how to impress at interviews:
♡ Keep your CV brief - why do you want to work for them, why they should want to you to work for them. Be creative and personalise it, fashion is a creative industry!
♡ Finding internships is important as it shows that you have experience and are willing to learn.
♡ Show willing.
♡ Use your blog to get you experience of working with brands. Build up your content, fans and quality of your blog to make it stand out.
♡ If you find it difficult to find internships, maybe you could ask to man a Twitter feed for a brand for a day? Or ask to feature the brand on your blog. Or you could ask a local boutique to help them with their social networking etc.
♡ A job in retail (even if it's part time) is key.
Another thing they briefly spoke about is the Oxford Summer School which is a week long course that gives you a foot in the fashion industry door. It is possible to get a scholarship but you have to have a retail job first, even if it's part time.
And that's it! I found the 90 minute session so interesting and it was so inspirational to have all these successful women passing their knowledge onto us! Plus we got a lovely goody bag, prepared for us by the Company team! (seriously, doesn't a job at Company magazine sound like a dream come true?!):
I had such a good time and I would definitely recommend going if they do any more in the future! I hope you've enjoyed reading my key points anyway even if you couldn't come! Let me know what you thought of the post below :)