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In 2016 I participated in a summer fashion program at the Seventeen Magazine headquarters in New York City. As an avid sewer, I was thrilled to participate in a program that allowed me to explore my creative side. We spent our days learning about social media, style trends, and public relations from the editors and creative team at Seventeen and Cosmopolitan Magazine. We also attended fashion showrooms and learned from the creative teams at JCPenney, Macy’s, American Eagle, Chinese Laundry, and Cotton Incorporation. Attending the Editby17 launch party was the most exciting part of the week because we were able to check out the new clothing line and take pictures with the models and designers. 

Working in one of the world’s fashion capitals was a dream come true and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Listed below are 5 lessons I learned during this experience.

1. Always carry a notebook with you

At the beginning of our trip to New York City, we were all given Seventeen Magazine notebooks.  We were instructed to carry these notebooks with us during the entire trip and were encouraged to write down important information during meetings, seminars, and presentations. As a fashionista, I only brought a small purse with me, so this was a nightmare. The bulky notebook didn’t fit in my bag and to make matters worse, it’s multi-colour scheme clashed with my outfit.

After attending the first few presentations at the Seventeen Magazine headquarters, I stopped caring about the notebook’s effect on my outfit and started to realize its use. I scribbled down notes constantly and I am so grateful that I did. I still have the notebook in my room and I love to look at it from time to time when I need to feel inspired or motivated to work hard, and to believe in myself. We rely on our phones so much these days, I’ve come to view notebooks as unnecessary objects. This experience changed my mind. Next time you hear something that is interesting, my advice is to write it down.   

2. Making connections is essential

Many of the girls on the trip were determined to make connections with the creative teams by approaching and introducing themselves after the presentations. I often feel intimidated when I walk into a room of professionals or more experienced people. It’s much easier to sit in the corner of the room and just observe others doing this.  However, introducing yourself will help you start forming connections, which is essential because you may connect with individuals who have the power to help you land your dream job.

3. Embrace alone time

Before I hopped on the plane at YYZ and arrived at JFK, I felt like I was making a mistake. I was worried about whether some people would be arriving in large friend groups and wouldn’t be looking to make new friends. When I arrived, I saw that I was wrong. I ended up making connections with the other fashion lovers that I can honestly say will last a lifetime. I am grateful that this was my own unique experience that I didn’t share with any of my friends from Toronto. I spent my days in NYC with my new friends from the program, but also was able to spend time alone. Whether I was relaxing in the hotel at night or going on a walk by myself in Central Park, I used this time to rejuvenate so that I could get the most out of my experience.

4. Nothing worth having comes easy

To be honest, I am guilty of wanting everything in my life to arrive in a timely manner and to come easily. I don’t think this is entirely uncommon. After learning from the Seventeen Magazine team, I began to realize that everyone goes through periods in their lives where they have to work a job that is not their “dream job.” It’s necessary in order to form connections, make money, gain experience, and support yourself. A few years of interning might be necessary in order to acquire a certain position, but you shouldn’t give up just because the road may appear to be difficult or long. Every job will teach you skills that you can bring to the next job, and starting at the bottom will give you a deeper understanding of how any given industry works. To get your dream job, sometimes you have to start by paying your dues.

5. Don’t wait, time is precious

Dream big and start young. If you want to establish your own brand, try starting a YouTube channel, or write a blog. It’s never too early to begin your creative journey. Don’t worry about what your peers may think because it’s not their journey to experience.

Julia Sable

Queen's U '21

Julia Sable is a fifth year student at Queen's University. She is passionate about writing and hopes to pursue a career in fashion.
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