How To Break Into The Fashion Industry In 8 Steps

20 October, 2015



I am not going to tell you any secret today that will help you make it big overnight. I don’t believe in that because there is no exact recipe for success. Everyone has a different path and how fast you get to your destination depends on so many factors. Instead, I am going to tell you my version of the classic journey towards accomplishing your dreams, a journey that is still in the making, but one which brought me countless and priceless life lessons.

Here’s how it all started..

I always had a feeling that I will end up pursuing a career in fashion. From the moments I was dressing up my mother to go to work, to my mediocre attempt at fashion illustration, to my passion for directing amateur photo shoots with my friends and styling them in high school.


And then it was that moment when I articulated for the first time that “I want to inspire people” or that my most important value in life is “creativity”. These might have been considered selfish statements but to me, they were the reminders I constantly needed to set an alarm for in my brain in order to move forward. Whenever I remind myself of these two purposes, inspiration & creativity, my hunger to succeed gets bigger and bigger urging me to feed my passion.

I also always knew I want to study abroad. Mostly because I loved English so much that I found no reason to keep living in Romania after high school when there were so many other possibilities for me somewhere else. That doesn’t mean I reject my own country. It simply means I am a curious human being and I like to challenge myself. Choosing to stay in Romania would have been the easiest path for me, but I am a sprinter, I like taking risks. And so I decided to leave. This finally brings me to the very beginning of my official journey towards a professional career in fashion.  These were my exact strategic steps:

1.  While I was still in high school I decided to consult an educational company in Bucharest. I knew I want to study fashion, but not design. I was interested in the business and communication sides of the industry. That company was EDUCATIVA. They told me about TEKO, a University College in Denmark.

2. A few weeks later I visited RIUF, which is the International Romanian University Fair in Bucharest. There I got to speak to a Romanian student at TEKO and also a Danish TEKO employee. I finally decided to take their Branding & Marketing course (specialized in fashion ) .


3.   I then started my application process with EDUCATIVA. The assignment I got from TEKO was really challenging for me at that time. My high school specialty was informatics & mathematics and to successfully complete the assignment, I had to educate myself in branding & marketing, something I had never heard of before that. The process was really inspiring though. I remember spending time at the British Council library in Bucharest in search of relevant books to help me out, and that was when I stumbled upon “YES LOGO”, a book about the life & work of Michael Peters, a remarkable, innovative figure in the corporate graphic design world. I found that book mesmerizing, fascinating. I was introduced to a new revolutionary world. I discovered that I could be creative in a different way than designing clothes. At that moment, my passion for graphic design was born.


4.   After having submitted my application, I also had to go through a Skype interview with a university recruiter. I remember so vividly the day of the interview I was super dressed up, as right after that, I was supposed to shoot a story for my blog. This one actually. I also remember how my computer crashed in the middle of the Skype interview and I had to call the recruiter myself afterwards and apologize. Luckily, this hasn’t killed my chances at getting a place at university, and finally, one sunny (not really sure) day, I opened my email to a big “Congratulations” letter that also got sent to me by post (classic move, always amplifies the effect). That was it, no turning back for me. I was officially a student!

5.  The first thing I did after arriving at TEKO was checking the International Office for potential travel opportunities. I also knew you can apply abroad for Erasmus work placement funding and so I started searching for an internship. I eventually found it on Spain Internship and it was in the marketing department of a 5 star hotel boutique in Seville. Not a regular fashion job at all, I know, but this 3 months internship taught me not only Spanish, but also Graphic Design, and I couldn’t be more grateful for living that experience.

6.  After returning from my internship I paid a visit to the International Office once again, to check for more travel opportunities. Don’t get me wrong, I loved TEKO. TEKO has taught me about graphic design, entrepreneurship, minimalism and inter-cultural abilities. However, my notoriously curious nature craved for more. Therefore I applied to continue my final 2 years of university at a partner institution, specializing in Fashion Management. This one was called Robert Gordon University and it was located in Aberdeen, Scotland. I am currently still studying here my final year of BA (Hons) in Fashion Management

7.   Moving to a new university brought new opportunities. I therefore couldn’t miss the chance to gain some more work experience once again, and decided to apply for a new internship in my 3rd year. After long and stressful searches and applications, I finally got accepted at Sanoma Media Netherlands to work for a small, yet fearless fashion website, called Fashionchick. This experience was by far the most challenging one I have ever gone through. Not only was it 6 months long, but it also involved a range of responsibilities that I wasn’t previously confident I can manage. I actually did manage everything, getting a killer reference from my supervisor at the end of my placement.

8.  I am now back to university, trying to get on with my normal student responsibilities. I have never found myself in such a struggle to focus as I do now. My whole being is so hungry for diving even deeper into new career ventures, but I still have to go through a series of challenging academic deadlines before finally setting myself free into the real, merciless fashion world.



This was my brief (but not really) career journey so far. I have received so many emails along the years asking for advice on how to find a good fashion school/internship. I can only tell you to think strategically but never lose focus of what you are trying to accomplish. Aim for the best, but don't think it's A MUST to get to the most expensive schools. One of the most important reasons I ended up choosing the two schools I have studied in was their “free education” policy.

I do not agree to the concept of paying for your education. I think everyone should be entitled to gain a degree without having to make loans and make their parents go bankrupt from such an early stage in their lives. Luckily for me, I had the privilege to benefit from two extremely highly regarded educational systems in two incredibly inspiring countries, Denmark & UK (Scotland), without having to pay for my studies. Of course the living costs do exist, but they are not too different than what you would spend in your home country (ok, except for the rent, which is exorbitant in both of the above-mentioned countries) and except for the plane tickets. But then again, there are way more work opportunities, better paid than in Romania, which is a plus.

To conclude, I did not choose an easy way. Nor was I afraid to start all over again in 4 different countries (5 if you add Romania where I also switched high school in my 2nd year) . This situation might stop in the near future. Not because I got scared, but because as much as I love travelling and testing new cultures and territories, I also want to settle down somewhere and build a beautiful adult life. Travelling will still be a part of my life, but not at such a big scale. I want to have my own house in a happy environment. Happiness for me means sun, water, nature, love, kids and creativity. I am pretty sure this scenario will become a reality but until then, I will love every second of my life. Even though I now have to get on with my coursework…

Finally, finally, everything I have experienced so far wouldn't have been possible without the support of my dear parents, both morally and financially. I do not come from a wealthy family, but I do come from a loving one, which I am extremely grateful for. I will continue to work relentlessly until I manage to reward them for all their sacrifices and until I can finally say "I made it".

So what other questions do you have regarding school and work experience? Message me anytime or leave a comment and I will answer right away.

P.S. This post has been inspired by the new British Vogue series featuring Alexa Chung (watch the 1st episode here and don't stop until you get up-to-date with all of them). The FINAL episode dropped today!


2 comments:

  1. I don't think I've said it enough, but you are an awesome person and such an inspiration for many people. I am glad you wrote this, even though I am not interested in a fashion career, but I was happy to discover more things about you (sorry for the stalker mood). You are one of my favourite bloggers ever because you have a lovely mixture of style, modesty and creativity.

    I wish you all the best, good luck in your final year and maybe we could have that coffee when you visit Romania.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My God, you gave me goosebumps and a childish giggle at reading your comment..(heart-shaped eyes)

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write this!! My heart almost melted seriously...Receiving messages like yours gives me so much strength and motivation to continue doing what I am doing. Although sometimes it gets confusing, I am a firm believer you just have to follow your passion and instincts. Good luck with everything and we definitely have a coffee still pending. A promise is a promise.

      hugs
      Sara

      Delete

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