If global fashion industry statistics are to be believed, then fashion accounts for 2% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP)—or $3 trillion—every year. Who doesn’t love a great outfit, and who doesn’t enjoy curating their own personal style—or in the case of fashion stylists, the style of others?
If you find that you gravitate towards design and clothing, a career in fashion may just be ideal for you. But it can be hard to explore your passion in school, from a classroom. To really understand what’s right for you, there are a few steps you can take, like participating in a summer internship or a fashion program. Here are a few ways you help your fashion passion before college
Take a Summer Internship
A fashion internship is one of the best ways for anyone to learn about fashion and put their foot in the door. You can apply to hundreds of different fashion magazine internships at sites like Ed2010. At a fashion internship, you’ll work alongside some of the biggest names in fashion, and will meet plenty of like-minded peers, who can also be beneficial to your future careers (think of it like early networking).
You’ll perform various tasks and duties that help the magazine or fashion house run their day to day operations. At a fashion magazine internship, for example, you might help out on photo shoots or take photos of incoming samples and catalog them. At a fashion public relations agency, you might help manage communication between magazines and the agencies, keeping track of samples that are being sent in and out. At a fashion brand, you might be asked to conduct research on key fashion trends or assist with organizing design archives.
No matter what you choose to do or which avenue you choose to take, there’s no doubt that a summer internship can prove immensely beneficial. You can include it on your resume, which will be impressive to future employers, and it can also help you determine if fashion is truly your passion calling.
Explore Fashion Programs
There are plenty of fashion programs out there to help you further explore your passions. For example, Project Fashion Summer Programs helps hundreds of students every year turn their passions into action plans. The program is hosted at the University of Southern California, where participants can enjoy the perks of college life, like a movie and game nights and spacious rooms. You can learn fashion design, design and product development—from experts and guest speakers who provide you with valuable feedback. You’ll also have the opportunity meet well-known designers and go on some behind-the-scenes tours at popular fashion companies.
Seek a Mentor
Sometimes, there’s nothing like having a great mentor to help fuel your passion. Perhaps you already have a mentor or mind. If not, you can start researching to find the right one. When you’re looking for a mentor, it’s important to be realistic about your expectations. For instance, as a fashion enthusiast, it’s likely that you have an endearing appreciation for Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour.
However, the chances of Anna Wintour being your mentor are slim to none. If you reach out to too many high-profile fashion gurus, you’ll likely be met with silence. Instead, take a more grounded approach. Reach out to bloggers and up-and-coming fashion editors. These people are much more likely to respond and be receptive to having a coffee with you.
Do Some Reading & Watching
It’s important to not underestimate the power of watching documentaries and ready books about the fashion industry. You’d be surprised at home much you can learn about the industry simply by consuming media. Here are a few fashion documentaries to spearhead your inspiration:
1. The September Issue: Follows Anna Wintour as she gives you a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to put out the biggest issue of the year, the September issue. You’ll see creative director Grace Coddington shooting several spreads for the magazine, and learn more about the interaction and work that goes into making a magazine.
2. Dior and I: This documentary is about designer Raf Simons and his time working for Christian Dior. It takes viewers inside the wild world of a major fashion house, giving them deep insight into haute couture.
3. Bill Cunningham New York: If you’re interested in street style or even mildly interested in fashion, this one is a must-see. It took you a journey through Bill Cunningham’s footsteps, a fashion industry photography legend who has photographed for a major publication. It’s also a feel-good film that makes you appreciate the love of clothes.
In addition to watching some of the popular fashion magazines, you should also read a few books, too. Try taking a look at must-read fashion biographies, and conduct an online search to learn more about some of the bigger fashion names.