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What the Fashion World Can Tell You


I recently attended a conference here in New York crafted for those interested in launching a career in fashion. FashionistaCon provided some great insights from well-established professionals in the field and I saw some neat parallels to those in the travel industry seeking to start a new business or trying to reinvent what they’ve been doing for years.

Rachel Roy, the American fashion designer, advised the audience to “stick to what you’re good at. No matter what the trends are on Instagram, you have to keep to your core competency.” Sometimes you have to wait trends out to be recognized, she added. “There will always be people who like what you do; don’t worry about being a media darling.”

How do you determine what your true passion is? “Ask yourself what you’re drawn to when you’re not working,” she said.

Patricia Field, the acclaimed costume designer who used her amazing creativity to style the outfits worn on “Sex and the City” and in “The Devil Wears Prada,” advised that when choosing your career, “you should do what comes easy to you. If it’s easy, you will do it well. If you go with what’s difficult for you, you’ll be competing with those for whom it comes easy.”

Here’s a tip on why it’s important to have an appealing work place. Field started her fashion career working in Alexander’s, a now defunct discount department store in New York. As I recall, Alexander’s was scrappy and messy, but it was where we went for back-to-school and holiday outfits. Field worked in the blouse department, which was in disarray when she got there. Merchandise was wrapped in cellophane bags and strewn across countertops. Field hunted down a few mannequins, ironed the blouses and put them on display so they looked great. Her efforts made the department an appealing place to be. Management noticed the resulting dramatic increase in sales and promoted her.

Eventually she opened her own store. “I loved being in retail,” she said. “People walk in your door and they’re filled with information. And being in retail is not selective; people choose to come through your door and in to your world.”

She’s since sold her shop, but keeps her business going online. No longer as concerned about making money as she once was, she is selling unique items these days and is doing well. “People love one-of-a-kind,” she said.

For those wondering how to stand out in a crowded industry, Field is keen on listening to your inner voice. “If you pay attention to yourself and develop yourself, you will be an original,” she said.

Once you’ve determined what you’re good at, hire people who can fill the voids of what you don’t know how to do. Rachel Roy said she loves designing, but hates selling and finds it uncomfortable to sit around a boardroom talking about her product line and so she has people who do that for her.

One caveat for teaming up with others, according to Roy, is that when you choose a business partner, it’s imperative that they share the same vision and values as you do, otherwise “you give all that up.”

This was a fashion conference, after all, so here’s a tip on how to dress to succeed. Tom Kalenderian, EVP and general merchandise manager for Barneys New York, advised that you should overachieve when presenting yourself. “I know I got my first job at Barneys because I dressed in an Armani suit for the interview. Dressing well speaks to who you think you are,” he said.Read more at:formal dresses brisbane | formal dresses melbourne


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