|Jonathan Saunders, SS12
Designers are advised that they should consider getting work experience before setting up in business or launching their own fashion label. This can vary from person to person but 3-5 years was thought to be an average postgraduate apprenticeship. It is important that designers understand how the fashion industry operates in greater detail. It is also important to acquire skills beyond graduation.
If you are having difficulty securing a full time job, it is always worth considering more work experience. Internships are becoming the expected norm for new designers to undertake both before and after graduation. It is also important to consider when thinking about an internship, what area of the business most interests you, or is an area that you have studied i.e. pattern cutting, auto cad, tailoring. This can be a big help when designers are deciding which interns to select. However recent changes in the law about the payment of the National Minimum Wage to interns contributing to the workforce of a fashion business is likely to change the way internships will be offered in the future. Find out more...
Most fashion designers are approached on a regular basis by graduates. Some will put you on a waiting list. You are most likely to find a placement during 'collection' time (i.e. Sep/Oct and Jan/Feb). This will provide both invaluable experiences at a hectic time of year for a designer label and it will improve your CV. Always ask for a reference or testimonial. You could also have a look at www.fashionworkie.com
, a website dedicated to providing a resource for those looking to gain experience within the fashion industry. It aims to bridge the gap for those looking for fashion based work placements and employers looking to advertise fashion work placements.
Another excellent way to learn about business particularly in relation to customer requirement is in fashion retail. Many designers recommended this route for beginners. This can help designers identify how consumers shop, and what can influence buying decisions.
Consistency pays off. From an employers' perspective, it is better to stay in one job for a reasonable period, at least one to two years. Employers are suspicious of potential staff that move around too much.
"Experience is essential. More often than not people make the
same mistakes when they start up their business. Don’t underestimate how
much of your time will be devoted to financial matters. Get the right advice from the right people. Unfortunately being the best designer doesn’t guarantee being a successful designer. You must tick every box nowadays." - Todd Lynn