If you asked me what I wanted to be freshmen year of college, I would have matter-of-factly told you, “a corporate lawyer.”. Today, I sit in my last week of my undergraduate degree, and can answer matter-of-factly that I will actually be moving across the country to work in fashion at one of the U.S.’s most iconic retail brands. More than that, I will be making that jump with degrees in business and liberal arts, not the most fashion-y things in the world. So how did I make the switch to what I really loved? These are some of the initiatives I took that seemed to make all the difference in my job search at the end of my four years:
- Campus Ambassadorships
Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to work alongside iconic brands like Victoria’s Secret Pink, Betsey Johnson, and Kendra Scott. The applications focused more on myself as a person, skills learned through my courses, and my connections throughout the campus, rather than my experience in fashion and retail. In these positions, I was given a whole new network in the fashion world and was able to learn from some top talent in the industry. Just remember to leverage the awesome capabilities you already have from your unrelated major to show brands how you can uniquely contribute and how your major might just be more related than they think.
- HerCampus and Sister Organizations
With campus ambassadorships in mind, you may be wondering: how do I even go about getting one?! My simple answer would be HerCampus and its sister organizations like College Fashionista, InfluenceHer Collective, and Campus Trendsetters. These organizations are open for any college student to apply to, and once you are in, you are sent dozens of ambassadorship and campaign opportunities directly to your inbox. Further, you may even luck out by simply reaching out to the brand of your dreams! Many of the most up-and-coming fashion brands of our time are offering these unique marketing experiences to students.
Even more than that, you are given a community of girls with similar goals and interests for a great support system and future network. You never know who will be the next Diane Von Furstenberg or Stella McCartney in these groups.
- On-Campus Organizations
Something that made all the difference in my leveraging my two unrelated degrees in the fashion industry was involvement in on-campus fashion organizations. Your campus is more than likely to have a university fashion group or two for you to join, learn, and make new connections. These organizations can help you amp up your involvement on your resume and build skills necessary for jobs in fashion.
Not only does this step help you gain knowledge in fashion and stand out from the crowd, it also allows you to feel good while doing it and know that you are helping others. Volunteer opportunities can be as easy as working with women’s shelters and open closets that allow those in need to get the clothing they require for interviews and daily life. On the other hand, most local fashion weeks accept volunteers to work the back of the runway dressing models or working social media at shows. This can even be done at New York Fashion Week, now called the American Collection Calendar as announced by Tom Ford, if you are willing to make the trip.
At the end of the day, your passion for the industry and the people and art in it will set you apart from others when entering the fashion industry with a degree that may seem unrelated. More than that, you would be surprised to find the amount of transferable talents that can be useful in fashion and retail. If you can show your love and passion for the work, the skill can be taught, and the brands that are worth it will see that shine through.