For those who don’t know, I am seeking to break into the fashion industry. I would like to do advertising and write fashion articles. In essence, I created this blog as a means to grow and hone my knowledge of the industry. However, recently I have noticed how hard it is to break into the industry. Especially, if you’re a 20-something young professional like me. Why? Because, unlike a college student, I can’t work an unpaid internship. I have rent and bills to pay so an unpaid internship just isn’t going to cut it. I need a job where I can train under an established fashion journalist, or creative director, or a fashion editor.
However, this brings up another issue. I have no formal background in fashion. So, to get an assistantship, I would need to know someone and right now, I don’t have a direct contact for that. So what’s a Pen to do? Blog about it, of course. Blogging seems to be all I have so since I just officially released de la Pen, I will now use this blog as my vehicle to break into fashion. Until I get a formal mentor, I’ll just have to blog my way in.
It is still upsetting to see how difficult it is to break into the industry. I was excited to learn about Vogue’s partnership with the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) to create the Fashion Fund. This award gives an emerging designer money, a mentorship, and the press they need to make themselves into a household name. However, when I read the bios of this year’s top ten finalists, none seemed to be struggling. I mean they all had studios (simply for the making of their clothing or accessories) and most had a staff or team working with them. To me, this doesn’t signal struggle. Yes, you may not be a well known brand like Ralph Lauren, but, if you have a workspace and a team, you’re doing better than the kid in the Bronx who can’t even afford Parsons so he doesn’t even bother applying.
If Vogue wanted to create a Fashion Fund for emerging, designers, then, they should do so. This to me is not currently the case as one of the designers, Oliver Helden, is currently the men’s technical design director at Marc Jacobs. While Oliver is not a well known designer under his own name, he is being paid to be a designer. That’s more than most of the Parsons, FIT, and Pratt graduates of 2010 can say. Basically, I’m suggesting that the contest may have been started on the basis of new talent but the truth seems to be that, the contest is about hooking up people already somewhat known in the industry and making them even bigger. An example of this is Prabal Gurung who is this year’s CFDA Swavorski award winner.
This means that Gurung is already a well known amongst fashion insiders but he’s simply not a big name amongst the masses. But, if you ask me, if the fashion world loves you and continues to promote you (and you do the same for yourself), you’ll eventually receive the credit you are due. No one suffers their whole life. Eventually, peace will come to you. As a struggling fashion writer and aspiring creative director, I am making it public that something needs to be done within the industry. I fully intend to begin a non-profit for young 20 something professionals seeking to break into creative industries like fashion, music, writing and blogging. All these industries require training and/or education. However, these things also cost money. And if you’re barely paying rent and are two months behind on your cable bill, creating isn’t exactly easy for you.
Young creatives need an outlet, a place where they can go to create their work completely free of charge (all the time), and they need networking events that are also free where they can go and meet people working in their desired industry. And what about a paid assistantship? Paid income to train for their industry. Sounds like a dream right? Right now it is. If such a thing exists please point me towards it. Until that time, I’ll keep dreaming about it until I can make it come true.
And there it is. The Fashion and Style of the Pen…de la Pen.
BTW, here’s the link to the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund finalists http://www.vogue.com/voguedaily/2010/07/meet-the-2010-cfdavogue-fashion-funders/#more-9264