Our guest blogger, Maria Parsons talks about her pursuit for a fashion career in Europe and offers advice for those seeking a similar future.
- Maria Parsons
It’s a bit hard to give advice on how to find a job within the fashion industry in Europe as a whole since many things differ from country to country and from job to job. This includes what to put in a cover letter, how much to include in your resume, and so on.
We all know that the easiest way to get a job is to go through your network, so I would definitely advise American designers to go through all of their contacts and figure out if somebody knows someone who works in Europe.
Be aware of the fact that some countries in Europe are not a part of the EU (ex: Norway). I imagine that the rules for working and living in a non-EU country could differ from the EU countries, so I would definitely start by researching how things work in the country that you want to work in.
Of course it’s also possible to get a job without actually having to know anyone at the company that you want to work for. For instance, there are several sites on the Internet that post jobs from all over Europe such as FashionUnited.co.uk. Here, you can find different jobs within fashion mostly within the UK, but also jobs from a lot of other European countries such as Sweden, Spain, and Germany.
As everywhere else in the world, the job situation here in Europe is difficult at the moment and there are a lot of designers fighting for the same positions, but I don’t think that this should discourage young designers from applying for their dream jobs.
Personally, I was approached right after graduation (by a company who I now work for) to become a freelance designer. I’m also working on my own collection. I hope to be able to combine these two things (freelance work and my own brand) at one point.
I also find it very important to make sure that people see my work: get in touch with magazines, blogs, fashion platforms, and people in the industry- participate in European fashion competitions.
Another piece of advice is to move to the country in which you want to find a job. For instance, if you’re dreaming of working for the big couture houses, move to Paris.
Usually the companies put you through 3 to 4 job interviews that stretch over the course of several months. This can be a problem if you live far way. When you’re in the country of your choice, seek out the companies that you want to work for. Call them and set up a meeting or ask if it is okay to send them your portfolio. Contact them again after a week or so to see if they have looked at your work. Be persistent in contacting them, but of course, try not to be annoying.
This is just one way of getting a job, and it is probably not an approach that suits everyone, but I have seen it work for several people in the industry.
You can also get really lucky and get a job through an internship. Personally, I find that the biggest problem with internships is that the companies know that they can always find someone who will work for free. Therefore, it can be almost impossible to get an actual paid position out of it.
Whether you are trying to find a job in your home country or somewhere else, it’s hard work. One important thing is not to forget why you are doing this and why you became a designer in the first place. Believing in yourself might sound cliché, but it’s the most important thing to remember while trying to find your dream job. Stay positive and believe in the fact that you will succeed in finding the job of your dreams.
Feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions and I’ll do my best to help you.
Maria Parsons is a British/Danish fashion designer who lives in Denmark. She graduated in the summer of 2011 with an MA in Fashion design from The Design School in Kolding in Denmark and is now working as a freelance designer. During her MA studies she worked as a print designer and interned at companies such as Danish Moonspoon Saloon.