Contrary to what you might see on Instagram, fashion isn’t all about selfies and macarons. Those of us who work in the industry know that the nitty-gritty, behind the scenes, #nofilter stuff isn’t all glamour (although it is a blast), and requires a certain level of tenacity and hard work. Fortunately, for those out there who want to break into the biz that made Cerulean blue a thing, the ladies over at Fashionista kindly hosted their How to Make It in Fashion conference, that offers tips and tricks for how to succeed. This year’s speakers included, among other prolific voices, our own Ariel Foxman, who shared his most insidery advice this morning at the High Line Hotel in New York City. We rounded up seven takeaways straight from our venerable leader. Click on for some nougats of wisdom!
1. Pay attention to what’s happening in other departments. You likely work (or hope to work) at one specific branch of a magazine, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay any mind to what’s going on across the board—especially in the digital sphere. Keep your eyes and ears open “to know opportunities in full,” Foxman said.
2. Be pleasant. This one’s especially important if you’re working in an assistant capacity. Make sure you’re not only nice to be around, but that you can get the job done—and done well. As Foxman noted, not everything is like The Devil Wears Prada IRL. “Listen to what’s being asked of you and anticipate your bosses’ needs too,” he said.
3. Know your brand. If you’re going in for an interview at a magazine, make sure you know that magazine inside and out (not just the most recent issue and the lead story on the homepage that morning). “If you’re not obsessed, you shouldn’t be there,” Foxman said.
4. Have a social media presence. Make sure you’re visible in the digital realm, but also “make sure your presence is respectable,” he said.
5. And also, network via Twitter. Foxman advises that every aspiring editor take advantage of the lack of digital barriers in our technology-obsessed world. “You can make yourself part of the conversation and network in a digital space, even if you’re not invited,” he said.
6. Express yourself with your interview outfit. Although Foxman generally advises not to stress too much over your outfit, he did say that it offers you the opportunity “to fill an extra box” that might not be reflected through the questions you’re asked over the course of a conversation. “If you’re thoughtful about your outfit, it comes through,” he said.
7. Get a mentor. Going back to Foxman’s first point, it helps when you’re in close contact with someone who has worked in the industry longer than you have and is able to see the big picture. “Listen to people who have a bird’s eye view,” he said.