How I Knew The Fashion Industry Was Where I Belonged

A woman knows by intuition, or instinct, what is best for herself.”

   - Marilyn Monroe

Dear College Girl,

    You have probably gone through a phase where you thought you belonged in a certain career field, industry, friend group, or school. I am here to tell you that it’s perfectly normal to not know where you belong. There is no harm in trying out different hobbies, internships, majors, and people until you find the right fit. In fact, it is by far the smartest thing you can do as a young adult.

    When I received my very first laptop in the fifth grade, I stumbled across the beauty community on Youtube before it really blew up. Seeing women so passionate about something on a social media platform sparked something in me. At the time, I could not formulate into words what I was feeling; I just knew I wanted to live a life full of happiness, success, and confidence.

    From a very young age, I learned the difference between a career and a job through the help of Google and Youtube. During my free time, I would Google different careers and industries such as fashion, cosmetology, teaching, law, etc. I was only ten years old researching these different careers because I was so intrigued. In other words, when adults would ask me what I wanted to be when I was older, my answer would change every three weeks or so.

     Fast forward to high school; I am now a teenager and I still enjoyed learning about various careers. The one industry that stuck with me was fashion. I just didn’t know what in fashion I wanted to do. I wasn’t very creative, so I decided to focus on the business aspect of it such as purchasing and merchandising. This probably sounds great right? Well, I wasn’t very proud or vocal about this. Most of my classmates were interested in STEM careers. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely need more females in STEM, so of course, I was cheering my sisters on regardless. 

    It is no secret that New York City is the fashion capital of the world. It also houses some of the best fashion schools in the nation. Fashion Institute of Technology commonly referred to as FIT, is one of those said schools. When I was conducting my college list, FIT was the first school I researched and visited. It offered a fashion business management program as well as an advertising marketing communications program and I happened to be interested in both.

    The only downside was the location because I really wanted to go away to school and get the traditional college experience. FIT could not give me that. I ended up backing out of the application due to my lack of inspiration for the fashion essay and I had already been accepted to CAU.

    I applied to the other schools as a business major being that, that was another industry I wanted to work in. I was more so interested in the creative aspect of business such as marketing, advertising, management, and entrepreneurship. After I realized I wasn’t going to fashion school in New York, I kind of put that whole dream on the back burner and told myself it was more practical to go into corporate America. I identified a consulting firm I wanted to work for, MBA programs to attend, and that was that. I never had an issue with working in corporate, wearing a suit, or being a business major. As I said, it was another interest of mine. (If you couldn’t tell already, I have a lot). I actually would’ve enjoyed the stability, work-life balance, and daily routine of it all.

    Not to mention, the business school at Clark Atlanta is by far the strongest program with some of the best professors. They instill so much confidence, professionalism, and knowledge in you that you didn’t know you needed. I made so many connections with employers, companies, entrepreneurs, and recruiters within one semester of being here. Even with all this being said, I was able to recognize the fact that deep down, the fashion industry was where I truly wanted to be. I knew this because working on the marketing team for a company I wasn’t passionate about just didn’t captivate me.

    So, I got myself a fashion internship. I won’t share who I am interning for because it doesn’t end until September. Sad to say, the internship isn’t the best. It’s a lot of conference calls, writing notes, and nothing is hands-on. I genuinely feel like it is a bad representation of how fast-paced and energetic the industry really is.

    I am currently looking for more fashion internships that have to do with styling, buying, and merchandising. As I was applying to numerous summer 2019 fashion internships, I realized just how bad I wanted to be in this industry. Working in fashion won’t ever feel like work to me and that is the end goal.

    From this experience, I have learned that it really helps to talk to people in whatever industry you want to work in, get internships, make connections, network, build your resume, and write about your experiences. To the overwhelmed college girl that is reading this, make sure that you are passionate about what you’re in school for because, at the end of the day, it is your name on that degree.

    My sophomore year of college, I might decide that I want to dabble in sports management or tourism, and there is nothing wrong with that. But, right now? I am working towards making it in the fashion industry; an industry that I certainly belong in.