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From the runway

Here’s everything you need to know about getting started in fashion

Fashion is a vast and challenging field, and even if you have a passion and talent for it, it’s not always clear where to start.

18/05/2021

How to get a headstart in fashion?

I’ve always been interested in fashion. I remember marveling at my mother’s dresses as a kid and wanted to style my own clothes. 

I started my career as a model. Posing for brands’ lookbooks and catalogues, I was more exposed to style and how the fashion industry works behind the scene. Getting dressed up in beautifully tailored clothes made me feel so inspired. It’s difficult to explain the unique draw that fashion has on me. The feeling of “lightheaded” every time I style my own outifts is just my source of happiness. That’s when I know that my passion for fashion could become something else. It could become a career. 

Since then, I began to learn more about the industry, and think more seriously of a long term plan for this career.  

How to create my own signature style and stand out in this industry?

When I first started working in fashion, my style was much influenced by people around me, or what I saw in magazines and brand campaigns. I like to experiment by trying on different styles and outfits, even if people say it’s not really “me.” 

Of course it’s important to listen to people’s feedback when starting out. But everyone has an opinion. And fashion should not be limited to wearing what others like or approve of. Being in a safe, comfortable zone will not get you far. The joy of fashion for me is escapism. You can be yourself, you can change your style, you can feel inspired by whoever and whenever you want. 

My advice for those who want to stand out in this industry is to be yourself. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You gotta have fun with it first, in whatever you do. 

Do I need a mentor to start? 

Honestly, I think it is good to find a mentor when you first enter the profession. But that is not a prerequisite to start a career in the fashion industry. Even with a mentor, you should still learn how to listen, select information, understand your goals, and have a plan. 

It’s also important to listen to your own wants and needs. What do you like about fashion? What are you good at? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What kind of jobs do you want to have? What positions/companies do you want to work for? A mentor can certainly help you to answer these questions faster. But at the end of the day, you will need to pay the dues. 

Not having a mentor is not a bad thing, either. Sure, the path can be  more challenging, but you will also be more mature and tough. You will be the one who understands best what opportunities and challenges a career in fashion has.

Finally, I am sure that determination, ambition and self-improvement are essential, no matter where your start is. Lots of people think fashion is just about pure talent and fashion. But just as any other career, having a plan is essential. You will need to work very hard to follow that plan and achieve your goals. 

Do I need a lot of money to pursue fashion?

You will have to think very logically when you first start a career in fashion. Sure, financial resources can buy you a lot of things, but without a plan and knowing what you want, those resources can be spent pretty fast. It takes more than cash to stay competitive and relevant in this environment. It’s also about authenticity, creativity, and networking. You will need to be very honest with yourself and others about your long term and short term goals, in order to use your resources effectively. 

In addition, with technology and social media being so invasive in day to day life, having an authentic voice is something money can’t buy. Fashion is constantly changing. The most exclusive fashion shows are now live on Instagram, and anyone can shop fashion online. The way you get creative when conveying your message and expressing your personal style is much more important than investing in expensive items to promote yourself. 

Is it possible to develop a long-term career in fashion in Vietnam?

I’ve worked in fashion for more than 5 years now. I still see many opportunities for growth. I constantly experiment with different styles, business ideas, building out my team, expanding my reach and working with more brands in more creative campaigns. For me, every day is still about brainstorming new ideas and thinking of ways to make fashion more accessible than ever in Vietnam. I want to create platforms and communities that bring fashion from the runway to daily life, where my followers feel free to express themselves, in whatever style and outfits they’re comfortable with. 

Plus, there’re always possibilities to expand your career beyond fashion. Fashion is my passion, but I can use my platforms for lifestyle content & other campaigns. As long as you keep challenging yourself and think of ways to innovate and move forward, there’re a lot of things to explore. I do not think that the fashion industry is too small for those who have passion. 

If you have more questions about a career in fashion, comment below to let me know and I’ll try my best to respond!

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