So, You Want to Work in Fashion?: How to Break into the World of Fashion and Design

So, You Want to Work in Fashion?: How to Break into the World of Fashion and Design

by Patricia Wooster
     
 

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Have a passion for fashion? This comprehensive guide can help you land your dream job in the world of fashion and design.

Fashion is more than fun—it holds a wide array of career opportunities! From high-profile jobs like clothing designer, model, and fashion photographer to the not-so-well-known professions of fabric cutter and colorist, So, You Want to

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Overview

Have a passion for fashion? This comprehensive guide can help you land your dream job in the world of fashion and design.

Fashion is more than fun—it holds a wide array of career opportunities! From high-profile jobs like clothing designer, model, and fashion photographer to the not-so-well-known professions of fabric cutter and colorist, So, You Want to Work in Fashion? explores a wide world of possibilities that are thrilling and fulfilling.

In addition to tips and interviews from a variety of fashion professionals, So, You Want to Work in Fashion? includes inspiring stories from young people who are in the industry right now, as well as activities, a glossary, and resources to help you on your way to a successful career in fashion.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - Stacey Hayman
There is such a variety of information packed into this book, it is difficult to determine its true usefulness to teens interested in joining the fashion industry. There are six short chapters for the most common, recognizable categories: designer, stylist, production, public relations and retail, media, model and photographer, plus a few general chapters providing a broader view of the entire profession. Each chapter dedicated to a specific job includes at least one personal profile from someone with firsthand experience, while other chapters may include trends, quizzes, suggested activities, tools of the trade, entertaining lists of information, and brief descriptions of other possible positions available within the category for fashion-focused teens to consider. The least helpful chapter is the one offering resources, notes, and a bibliography, as it is almost completely comprised of websites and URLs; no site descriptions are included, and complex, lengthy links have a good chance of becoming unreliable in terms of correct user transcription or alteration of some portion leading to an error message. The four traditional print books suggested may be challenging to find with an overseas publisher and older publishing dates in the mix. Breezy and fun to browse, this is best shared with younger teens just beginning to consider potential careers. If a certain aspect of the fashion industry is found to be of distinct interest, further research with more substantial materials should be encouraged. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman; Ages 11 to 15.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-18
A panoramic view of the fashion industry geared to would-be fashionistas.In the latest installment of the practical Be What You Want series, which has previously explored careers ranging from comic illustration to being a chef, Wooster unlocks the mysteries of fashion. Tackling one of the most lucrative global industries, Wooster breaks fashion down into five broad areas: design, patternmaking and garment production, merchandising, journalism and photography, and fabric styling. Each field is then showcased from a variety of perspectives, one of which always includes at least one Q-and-A–style profile of a relatively young practitioner in that specialty—some impressively well below legal drinking age. Throughout this fashion primer, the importance of creativity and confidence in one’s vision repeatedly shines through, as evidenced by 16-year-old fashion designer Courtney Allegra, who advises: “If you want to be in fashion, you have to be determined, focused, and confident. Don’t follow the trends if you don’t want to….Design what you want!” Wooster backs up this inspiring message with activities for readers to hone their own interests and skills. The copious resources provided here include not only a glossary, notes, and detailed bibliography, but tempting lists of fashion-related films and television shows, fashion camps, top fashion schools and online games.A wonderfully comprehensive, accessible and realistic entree into the dynamic world of fashion. (Nonfiction. 8-14)
Booklist - Magan Szwarek
"Short chapters and conversational writing make this an accessible, realistic, and practical introduction to an extremely competitive industry."
School Library Journal
07/01/2014
Gr 7 Up—Fashionistas, fashion trendsetters, and industry enthusiasts everywhere, rejoice. This inspirational title emphasizes the importance of schooling and finding a niche in the industry and covers all the areas of career interest: design, styling, production, public relations, retail, media, modeling, and photography. A variety of engaging profiles and interviews of successful fashion professionals of all ages is distributed throughout. A special emphasis on teen and young adult fashion success stories will encourage readers to follow their dreams. Relevant quotes from fashion notables often serve as transition markers for topic changes within a chapter. Some simple, black-and-white drawings and handcrafted word art provide a bit of decoration. The text is written without gender bias, and many of the profiles and interviews are of males. The book closes with a few DIY projects to get readers started and a list of resources. Those who enjoy fashion television will enjoy the many references and nods to perennial small screen favorite Project Runway. Teens will enjoy poring over the well-written, relatable text and uncovering new blogs, classes, and even a website that allows readers to create their own fashion magazine. A fun and informative read for fashion fans.—Cindy Wall, Southington Library & Museum, CT

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582704531
Publisher:
Aladdin/Beyond Words
Publication date:
09/16/2014
Series:
Be What You Want Series
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,197,805
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
1040L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

So, You Want to Work in Fashion?

  • Imagine having passes to see all of the runway shows at New York Fashion Week. Or picture yourself opening up Vogue magazine and seeing a model wearing fantastic clothes and knowing you were a part of making that photo happen. In these scenarios, where do you see yourself? Are you a famous fashion designer? A supermodel? Did you photograph the clothes? Maybe your job is to write about the clothes for buyers.

    The fashion industry is a fast-paced and exciting place to be. If you love clothes and have a strong sense of style, then you might want to consider a career in fashion. There are a lot of different career fields in fashion—but it’s a very competitive environment. With a lot of hard work and some planning, you can enjoy all that this industry has to offer. See if any of the five fashion fields below inspires you and makes you want to dive into the wonderful world of fashion.


    Do you love to make beautiful things? Are you constantly sketching ideas for new clothes? Do you see the clothes people are wearing and think of ways you could alter them into something new? A person who wants to create new clothes must have a strong imagination. A designer decides the style, cut, and fit of the clothes, and knows about fabrics and industry trends. There’s a lot to learn, but seeing your designs come down the runway is a huge reward!


    Do you like to keep a low profile and work behind the scenes? Do you like to work with patterns, cut fabric, or sew? Would you rather someone else come up with the designs, so you can put them together? Are you good at working as a team? Putting a garment together involves a lot of people. There’s a huge demand for patternmakers, fabric cutters, and garment makers.

    Are you interested in fashion and business? Do you enjoy gathering information and reading research reports? Can you juggle multiple projects? Are you good at making decisions? If you have a head for numbers and an appreciation for fashion, then a career in merchandising may be for you. This broad field includes retail management, store buyer, advertising executive, and promoter.

    Do you love to write or take pictures? Are you interested in fashion news, trends, and designers? Can you spend hours sitting at a computer? Are you good at coming up with ideas? Lots of people depend on fashion writers and photographers. A person in this field can work in advertising, write a blog, or work at a fashion magazine.

    Do people often comment on how you dress? Are you good at combining clothing with accessories to make a great outfit? Can you put clothing from different stores and different price ranges together and make a cohesive outfit that works? As a stylist, you might be asked to put fashion looks together for an individual shopper, a photo shoot, or a showroom window. If you are confident and love to shop, this may be a great career for you.

    Name: Jeffrey Sebelia

    Job: Fashion designer

    AFTER HIS BAND, LIFTER, BROKE UP, JEFFREY SEBELIA ENROLLED IN SEWING CLASSES AT THE LOS1 ANGELES TRADE TECHNICAL COLLEGE. HIS MUSICAL BACKGROUND INFLUENCED HIS CLOTHING LINE COSA NOSTRA, WHICH WAS WORN BY SINGERS LIKE DAVE NAVARRO, TOMMY LEE, AND JENNIFER LOPEZ. IN 2006 HE AUDITIONED FOR THE DESIGN SHOW PROJECT RUNWAY AND WAS CHOSEN AS A CONTESTANT. THE RESIDENT “BAD BOY” WON SEASON THREE OF THE SHOW AND WAS FEATURED IN ELLE MAGAZINE. IN 2009 CLICHÉ MAGAZINE NAMED HIM ONE OF THE MOST PROMINENT DESIGNERS OF HIS GENERATION. HIS NEW CLOTHING LINE FOR KIDS, LA MINIATURA, COMBINES LATE-1970S POST–PUNK ROCK WITH PREPPY DETAILS. HIS LOVE OF MUSIC CONTINUES TO BE AN INSPIRATION.

    What was the biggest challenge of being on Project Runway?

    The [design] challenges were very hard for me. I have never been the best at sewing fast, and I’ve never considered myself to be a dressmaker. I strive each day in my company to improve and hone my design ability, and I know everything there is to know about garment construction, but in the real world, I spend my days working on design, costing, production, textiles, and merchandising, not sewing.

    How did your career change after you won?

    Because Project Runway is so popular, just being on the show helped get me interviews and opportunities I know I wouldn’t have had otherwise. That being said, there is also a stigma attached that most people couldn’t imagine. The fashion industry seems to have a love/hate relationship with Project Runway. While most who work in fashion will admit to loving the show, they are also a bit skeptical about what it means and don’t quite trust its authenticity. I personally have mixed feelings about it . . . because no matter how many challenges I’ve won, I know that my design ability reaches far beyond my sewing ability and that the time constraints inherent in Project Runway mean it is really a game show before anything else.

    What have you been up to since Project Runway ended?

    In the seven and a half years since season three, I have built and sold a contemporary fashion label business and am currently building a children’s lifestyle brand.

    Where do you get your inspiration for designing clothing?

    Inspiration for me comes from all over the place. But for the last year and a half, my fiancée has been my muse.

    How is designing clothing for kids different from designing for adults?

    At its base, there is nothing different. As a designer, I constantly try to put myself in the customer’s shoes and do research to learn as much as I can while removing my needs, so that I am not designing for me but for the customer. With kids, I just have a whole new type of customer who has so many different needs from me that have to be addressed. When I picture the La Miniatura kid throughout his or her day, I consider the week . . . school, after-school activities like sports and clubs, summer camp, holidays, birthdays, etc. I also draw on my childhood and my experience with my son.

    What are some of the biggest challenges in this business?

    The biggest challenge in the kid’s business as I see it is navigating the personal baggage of buyers and parents. For instance, I constantly am asked to use less red or purple in my boy’s collection because most buyers and parents see these as feminine colors. Meanwhile, I poll my son and his friends (both boys and girls), and I have found that kids love color and don’t attach any gender identification with colors.

    What has been one of the most exciting moments you’ve had since starting in this industry?

    Each business I have started or been involved with seems to be exciting in the beginning. When starting Cosa Nostra years ago, it was exciting to have people like Elton John, Winona Ryder, John Galliano, and Karl Lagerfeld buy my clothes. Now it’s exciting taking La Miniatura and opening doors like Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, and Bergdorf Goodman.

    Who would you like to see wearing your clothes?

    As many kids as possible.

    What advice would you give aspiring designers?

    Be obsessed! Be humble and learn as much as you can, and as long as you have the drive . . . don’t give up. The reward is well worth the hard work.

    I enjoy the speed of fashion. I love doing different things, and I think I still have something valid to say in fashion.

    TOM FORD*

    FASHION IS BIG BUSINESS 1

     The fashion industry employs 4.2 million people.

     Only 19,300 of the people who work in fashion are fashion designers.

     The average fashion designer makes $62,610 a year.

     Americans spend $250 billion on fashion every year.

     Globally, fashion is a $1.2 trillion industry.

     Clothing accessories make up $16.5 billion of the market.

     Americans spend $34.1 billion a year on clothing and accessories at online retail stores.

    Name: Courtney Allegra

    Age: 16

    Job (when not studying!): Fashion designer

    DOES THE THOUGHT OF CREATING SIXTY DIFFERENT CLOTHING LOOKS IN ONE YEAR SEEM EXCITING? WHAT IF YOU’RE ALSO AN EQUESTRIAN AND A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT? TO MOST PEOPLE, THIS MAY SEEM LIKE A LOT, BUT COURTNEY ALLEGRA IS ACCOMPLISHING IT. HER VIBRANT AND WELL-TAILORED CLOTHES HAVE APPEARED AT LOS ANGELES FASHION WEEK AND IN SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE. IN 2013 SHE WAS INVITED TO APPEAR ON THE TODAY SHOW AS A PART OF THE “STARS FOR TOMORROW” SEGMENT. SHE DRESSES CELEBRITIES AND FRIENDS OF ALL AGES AND SIZES. WHAT STARTED AS A HOBBY ALLEGRA SHARED WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS HAS TURNED INTO A BUDDING CAREER.

    When did you discover your love for fashion and designing?

    I’ve always been into fashion and drawing sketches, but it wasn’t until I was fifteen that I got serious about designing. A family friend who knows I love fashion asked me to debut a clothing line at a show in Los Angeles during fashion week. Obviously I said yes, and I had to create ten looks in only two weeks! My line was very well received. After the show, lots of people were interviewing me and just asking where to buy my clothes. And that’s when I figured out that I had to make a website if my designing was going to be serious.

    How do you balance school and work responsibilities?

    It’s challenging, to say the least. This year, my junior year, I’m taking online classes rather than physically going to high school. It’s way easier as far as time goes because I can meet certain deadlines for fashion shows and whatnot without missing school. I also have more time for my horses and animals now!

    Where do you find inspiration for your fashion design?

    I find inspiration in everything. My favorite movies, other people’s styles, magazines, shopping for fabrics, and especially traveling.

    What do you like most about having your own line?

    The thing I like the most about having my own line is being in charge. If I were working for another designer or fashion house, I wouldn’t be able to have the freedom to create whatever I want. I love having my own line because there are no limits and I can be as creative as I want.

    What is the most challenging thing about having your own line?

    The most challenging is working with manufacturers. Now that my business has grown, I had to pick some manufacturers to work with. When I started designing for men, I thought that was going to be a bigger challenge, but it isn’t. It’s hard to communicate exact ideas to manufacturers, so I always have to go to Los Angeles to supervise and fit the clothes.

    What has been one of the most exciting moments you’ve had since starting your fashion career?

    One of the most exciting moments was showing my line on Fashion Minga’s runway! It was the debut of my line CA11, which is a men’s and women’s urban punk line.

    What advice can you give other kids who are interested in a fashion career?

    If you want to be in fashion, you have to be determined, focused, and confident. Don’t follow the trends if you don’t want to. Honestly, there are no real trends anymore. If you walk down the street, everyone has different styles, and most people could care less about trends. Design what you want!

    FASHION JOBS TEENAGERS ARE DOING RIGHT NOW

     Accessories designer

     Blogger

     Clothing designer

     Fashion editor

     Fashion illustrator

     Model

     Photographer

     Retail

     Stylist

     Vlogger

    If you are interested in fashion, you can start learning about the industry right now. You can take sewing classes, read fashion magazines, or do research on the internet. If you a want more hands-on experience, start a blog, sketch clothing designs, or create a portfolio of photographs.

    Name: Cecilia Cassini

    Age: 14

    Job (when not studying!): Fashion designer

    CECILIA CASSINI IS ONE OF THE YOUNGEST DESIGNERS IN THE WORLD TO SEE HER CLOTHES WALK DOWN THE RUNWAY. IN THIRD GRADE, WHEN OTHER KIDS WERE READING CHAPTER BOOKS, SHE WAS WRITING A BOOK REPORT ON THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. HER FASHION LABEL LAUNCHED IN 2009, WHEN SHE WAS NINE YEARS OLD. BY THE TIME SHE WAS ELEVEN, SHE HAD DESIGNED OVER FIVE HUNDRED PIECES FOR GIRLS AGES FOUR TO FOURTEEN. SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT FASHION DESIGN AND ENCOURAGES OTHER KIDS TO FOLLOW THEIR DREAMS. AS A ROLE MODEL, SHE INSPIRES KIDS BY SPEAKING AT ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, AND SHELTERS. HER CHARITABLE WORK LANDED HER A PRUDENTIAL SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY AWARD IN 2012. CECILIA IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF HOW YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!

    When did you discover your love for fashion and designing?

    I truly believe that I was born with fashion in my blood. Ever since I can remember, I have always been obsessed with fashion and fabulous clothing. When I was in preschool, I used to paint flowers and rainbows on my dresses instead of on the paper on the easels. By the time I was about four, I was embroidering my clothing. When I was five, I began cutting up my clothing (or my mom’s or sister’s) and repurposing them into new and fabulous creations. I remember I would hem the dresses with hair clips, and I would sew the different pieces together with ponytail holders. Finally, when I was six, I got my first sewing machine, and that is when I really began to be able to design and create my fashion.

    How do you balance school and work responsibilities?

    In order to handle my school and fashion responsibilities, I need to be very organized and manage my time wisely. It is important to me that I do well in school, so I always make sure to stay on top of my workload and never get behind. When I can, I even work ahead so that when I am inspired, I will have time to design and create. When I know I have a specific event coming up for my fashion, I plan ahead.

    What do you like most about working in fashion?

    The best thing about my job is that I have never considered my designing a job! Fashion and designing are my hugest passions, and I absolutely love what I do. To me, a job is something you have to do. I am lucky because I love designing. In fact, I think I live, breathe, and love it more than anything else I could spend my time doing. The other great thing about my “job” is that I get the opportunity to meet so many talented people along the way. Everyone I have met in the business—from Betsey Johnson to Heidi Klum to Taylor Swift to Sofia Vergara to Diane von Furstenburg—have been so supportive of my dreams and my work.

    Also, as part of my “job,” I speak to hundreds of kids a year in my Follow Your Dreams campaign, where I encourage all young people to find their passion and to begin following their dreams now—rather than waiting until they grow up. Part of my Follow Your Dreams campaign includes giving dresses to needy girls at hospitals, shelters, or schools because every little girl deserves a dress, so that is very rewarding for me—to be able to help someone and to be able to give back. Because of my sponsorship with Singer SVP, I also donate a Singer sewing machine to each place I visit, so hopefully the kids will learn the art of sewing and be empowered by being able to design and create their own fashion. As you can see, my “job”—if you are going to call it a job—is the best one anyone can have.

    What is the most challenging thing about working in fashion?

    Sometimes the pressure to be able to design something for someone when I am not inspired is challenging. No matter what, I have the pressure to design something fabulous, and that can be scary when I am not feeling inspired. Also, the responsibilities and pressures that go along with my age (I am fourteen) are sometimes a challenge for me when I am designing.

    What has been one of the most exciting moments you’ve had since starting your fashion career?

    Some of the most exciting moments I have had since I started selling my designs at age ten have been going to New York Fashion Week, being featured in worldwide fashion magazines (Vogue France; Elle Japan; Grazia Italy, England, Germany; New York Times; People magazine; Glamour, etc.), and having a show on the Style Network. Most of all, seeing people wearing my Cecilia Cassini designs is really the most thrilling.

    Where do you see yourself in ten years?

    In ten years I will be finished with university, and I will be a pro at showing my collections at fashion weeks around the world—from Milan to Paris to New York. I will also have Cecilia Cassini stores around the world.

    What advice can you give other kids who are interested in a fashion career?

    My advice to other kids who want to get started in fashion is follow your dreams. You don’t have to wait to be an adult to follow your dreams, so get started now! If you have the passion, the motivation, the work ethic, and the inspiration, anything is possible. Go for it!

    Rafi Ridwan: Hearing Color

    If you asked Rafi Ridwan if it’s possible to follow your dreams at a young age, he’d say yes. Born deaf, he has learned to hear sound through color. At the age of six, he discovered his love for fashion while watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid. He didn’t like the clothes Ariel was wearing in the movie, so he began sketching a new wardrobe for her. When he was nine, he attended a fashion festival and showed his designs to famous Indonesian fashion designer Barli Asmara. Asmara recognized Ridwan’s talent and created a collection with him. As Indonesia’s youngest fashion designer, he was given the opportunity to appear on America’s Next Top Model when the show was filmed in Bali in 2013. Tyra Banks named him the “newest, fiercest fashion designer in the world.”2 Ridwan is a role model in his community, and earned a lot of respect when he used his fellow hearing-impaired classmates to model his clothes at a fashion show. His dream is to show his designs at the fashion shows in Milan, Paris, and Japan. At only eleven years old, he’s already very close to achieving his dreams.

    Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.

    COCO CHANEL*

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  • Meet the Author

    Patricia Wooster is a published author and fact-checker. She has written several nonfiction children’s books and was nominated for Science Books & Film Best Children’s Books of 2011. She lives in Tampa with her husband, Scot, and two boys, Max and Jack.

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