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Five Tips For Fashion Grads Who Want To Be Fashion Marketers
There’s no doubt about it, Fashion Marketing is one of the top career goals for every fashion graduate who comes into Directory. New graduates are eager to get their academic career behind them and start gaining some real-life experience. But with graduate level roles in fashion marketing being rare and hard to come by, what are the steps a candidate can take to map out their career goals from fashion grad to fashion marketer? Here are some actionable tips any wanna be fashion marketer can take today.
- Get experience. It’s one thing to learn the terminology and study marketing in theory, but nothing beats experience. Start with working the shop floor as a retail associate. As far as that may sound from your career dreams, fashion retailers look for candidates who understand their customer. And for that - there is no better place than the shop floor. There are three ways to get experience with a brand if you don’t want to work retail as a sales associate.
- Internships - these positions in the UK qualify for the national minimum wage and you will be expected to do anything and everything your direct report throws at you. From steaming to styling.
- Work Placement - this is for anyone who is still a student and wants to gain experience as part of their course of study. Often the time spent with a brand goes towards your educational credits.
- Volunteer - quite often brands or organizations such as London Fashion Week will post for volunteers. This is a great way to get hands-on experience. There is no pay for work placements or volunteer work but candidates do get a stipend for lunches and travel cards.
- Learn the art of networking early! This can’t be stressed enough. Fashion students are often so busy studying and managing their course load, they forget the value of networking. Start a LinkedIn page early and state your goals. Upload any school projects or activities you’ve participated as work experience. Use the ‘Follow’ feature on LinkedIn for influencers within your line of career. Fashion marketing is about business. There are serious business metrics attached to any aspect of marketing be it PR & Events, Social Media or Digital Marketing.
- Embrace social media. This may seem like a no-brainer but social media accounts such as Instagram and Twitter become strong calling cards for a candidate lacking experience. Employers always check social handles when interviewing for a role. If need be, keep your personal account private and create channels focussed on career goals. Instagram is a great way to curate a feed that lends itself to your goals in fashion marketing. Have a distinct point of view and something to say about what you post. Twitter is an incredible avenue to showcase you know what’s happening in the business of fashion. Don’t think retweeting is going to get you noticed. Chronic retweeters are seen as lazy. Engagement regardless of the platform is essential. Comment, like, have something to add to the conversation.
- Zone in on your area of interest. Fashion marketing is a broad term that encompasses many different roles at a fashion brand. Knowing exactly what you want to be doing is going to make your goals and career mapping that much more successful. A lot of candidates who want to be working on the social media teams for a fashion brand have a beautiful personal feed. But when asked if they know what reach, engagement or impressions are, many don’t know. As BoF reported, Digital Marketers are now often at the forefront of planning brand strategy instead of executing it. British Vogue under the new leadership of Edward Enninful has restructured to place more resources in the digital departments of British Vogue while cutting back on the editorial teams, a change with shows how impactful digital marketing in fashion is. Especially when it comes to luxury brands, not all have embraced new technologies and digital strategies as quickly as premium and high street brands. This is because luxury brands often have a legacy to take into consideration. There are often hundreds of years of heritage at stake and maintaining the brand integrity cannot be done with a flip of a switch. Many millennials especially want fast gains and hands-on experience. This means you may love a luxury brand, but it’s essential to look at the brand strategy and goals. The specific goals a candidate has may not match up to how fast or slow a brand is working in the fashion marketing space and the candidate may be better off at a direct to consumer, premium or high street brand to get the experience they want at the pace they are accustomed to.