7 Truths About Working in the Fashion Industry

It’s not all Gucci

The phrase ‘I work in the fashion industry’ is often met with gasps, large eyes and the ubiquitous, ‘OMG, is it like The Devil Wears Prada?’ or, ‘Do you get to keep the clothing?’. Erm, no. Any fashion girl can relate to the replies she gets when it comes up that she, in fact, works in the fashion industry.

Just for the record, we don’t get to keep the clothing and no, it’s not like The Devil Wears Prada – sorry to burst your Miranda Priestly bubble.

Yes, the fashion industry is an exciting, energetic and constantly evolving industry, and yes, it is an occasionally uber glamorous world (the key word being occasionally) but it’s also a hard-work, high-pressure and high-speed kinda world.


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As COSMO’s senior fashion editor, I love my job (you have to love it to be here) but there are a few stereotypical scenarios that the non-fashion working folk get wrong, so if you want a job in fashion, keep reading.

These Are 7 Truths about Working in the Fashion Industry

1 You Can’t Always Afford the Clothes You Want

In fact, more often than not. Just to give you an idea, over a 1000 items including garments, jewellery, shoes (you name it) come through our closet at any given moment. And, while it’s extremely tempting to shop up a storm, with the fashion closet, AKA storeroom, acting as a catalogue, most of us just can’t afford it. That incredible Gucci cross body bag? Not quite.


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2 There’s No 9-5 in the Fashion Industry

‘You work so hard’ – is not an option, it’s a requirement. I can’t tell you the number of people that have told me that I work ‘so hard’, and usually with a ‘shame’ kinda expression. Fashion is life, and for those who are immersed in the fashion industry – life is fashion. It’s a constant. As a fashion editor, I’m always looking for newer and cooler ways to reinterpret a trend or a fashion narrative, there’s no 9-5 desk-bound work life in this world – which in many ways is refreshing. However, I always tell potential interns that you really have to be passionate about this industry because if not, it will eat you up and spit you out. Luckily, for most of us, it doesn’t always feel like work because it’s our passion and the way of life we know and love.


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3 Manual Labour Is Not a Foreign Phrase

Most of us started off as interns, which means we have had our fair share of packing, unpacking and then packing it all up again. Stocktake? Hell yes. Juggling a million garment bags (and various balls), you name it! Even as we work our way up the fashion ladder, there will always be a manual and hands-on element to our jobs. From lugging the 4000 bags of clothing to set (and knowing you may very likely only use a tenth of this) to stocking your car with dusty props that will result in an obligatory car wash, it all comes with the industry. One thing is for sure – a fashion girl’s arm muscles are always strong.


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4 We Get Defensive When People Underestimate the Role of Fashion

Yes, we aren’t performing brain surgery (and we take our hats off to those who do) but we are helping mold a trillion dollar industry. Yes, we are talking 13 digit figures, that is fashion. Nothing is more powerful than a good first impression and this is how fashion, and the way you present yourself to the world, can be used as your powerful weapon.


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5 Fashion Weeks and Events Are the Cherry on Top

Yes, there is nothing like watching incredible design strut down the runway or sipping on bubbles while viewing a brand’s new collection of XYZ, but we still have a constantly increasing workload that we’re going to have to catch up on after said lavish event, and that means after hours work.


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6 The People Aren’t Terrible (Usually)

A common misconception? The people in the fashion industry are mean, AKA Anna Wintour, severe. Of course there are some people who will do anything to get anywhere but name an industry where there aren’t. In actual fact, because the fashion industry is so small, circulating and some may even use the word incestuous – there really isn’t room for terrible people. People talk and those who are a**holes, soon realise there’s no room for their behaviour. On this topic, the fashion industry is made up of many fashion teams. From the style director to the interns, we all play an equally important part, because no matter your position, you can’t get anywhere without the various cogs of a powerful machine and that is your team.


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7 We Don’t Only Eat Celery Sticks

Most of us need to indulge a tad more than the ordinary human, to keep us sane, that is. There’s no fad diets and celery sticks (well, at least in the many fashion teams I know). If there’s ever a time we skip a meal, it’s because it’s been a hella busy day and last nights pasta for lunch, is still sitting in the work office fridge (only to be devoured at 3pm when you start hearing weird noises and realise it’s your stomach).


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On that note, the fashion industry is one that continuously inspires me and never ceases to amaze me with its constant evolution. Style is my passion and my purpose (well, at least one of them!) and those who feel the same shouldn’t let the negatives hold you back from being immersed in this crazy world and fulfilling a career in it.

My advice to you? Grab it by the Gucci-clad horns, be persistent and hard-working, but also go into your first job or internship truly knowing that the fashion world can be extremely challenging and there are tons of non-glamorous moments. And, don’t forget, hard work pays off.


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