- Aileen Yu |
With the ever-evolving landscape of fashion retail, the way customers shop continues to shift due to the rise of e-commerce and the influence of social media. That doesn’t mean the apparel industry is losing its luster. More than ever, it’s a sign of exciting times, the forefront of how individuals choose to express themselves today through a brand’s experience and ability to effectively engage with their targeted demographic.
Working in fashion retail offers an entry for those who are curious about exploring the multifaceted world of the fashion business. It’s also an opportune setting to develop skill sets in sales, marketing, merchandising and styling of which are all valuable to becoming a successful fashion industry professional.
Currently a student studying fashion or looking for a part-time job? Then, seasonal hiring is a major reason to to work in fashion retail. Whether you are studying for your master’s degree as a designer or just wondering what it’s like to work in fashion, try applying as a sales assistant right before the busy holiday season. In 2018, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s expect to hire 80,000 seasonal staff.
Major brand discounts
If there is a brand or boutique you’ve been a fan of for quite some time, becoming an in-store employee could offer you major perks. A well known benefit of working in fashion retail are the store discounts. Think of it as a sweet reward for all those extra hours you’ll spend on your feet or dealing with the stress of selling during the holidays. While employee discounts differ between corporate brands and independent boutiques, it is entirely possible that you are able to purchase a designer piece at wholesale price.
Explore the company culture
At the beginning of your fashion career is the best time to explore your options. Every year, recruiting sites such as Glassdoor will publish a “Best Places to Work -- Employee’s Choice Award” and in 2018 athletic apparel brand, Lululemon was the winner. Take these annual lists and awards as a reference while applying for a job in fashion retail and find out for yourself if the company culture suits your personality and work values. Perhaps as an employee you like more discipline and structure or maybe you appreciate the room to be creative and autonomous.
Develop social skills
Not all of us are born extroverts, but knowing how to network and effectively communicate are vital if you’d like to work in fashion. Don’t worry, these are skills even the shyest of all can acquire. This is another great reason to venture into fashion retail. You’ll be forced to interact socially with your colleagues, managers and meet all kinds of customers that’ll expect you to deliver a positive shopping experience. It’s inevitable you’ll not only make friends along the way, but also learn direct-to-customer skills.
Gain first-hand experience across functions
According to a 2018 McKinsey report, global fashion sales are increasing. Working in fashion has always been competitive, but with the stable industry growth in the U.S. and Europe, there’s more opportunity than ever before. For physical stores, these industry shifts will affect which brands survive the importance of digital adoption into their retail services. A job as a sales manager or visual merchandiser these days will not be boxed into just one set of responsibilities, but be expected to contribute across functions and all spectrums of retail.
Read more for in-depth interviews with industry professionals working in fashion retail: