A Passion for Fashion
Everyone’s journey toward a career in fashion is distinctly his or hers. There’s no one story that fits all. One could fall into fashion as a continuation of his or her early age dream or as a complete career turnover. Personally, I consider myself to be in the first category, although I had never imagined that my childhood aspiration would lead me to my job today, as a fashion designer at Rachel Zoe Collection in New York.
Granted, my love for fashion did not suddenly transpire out of thin air, as I have always been fascinated with the world of arts. It wasn’t until my teenage years, however, that I started to grow to love fashion from flicking through the pages of Vogue magazine. I was enchanted by how beautiful each garment was crafted: as if each of them is a piece of art. Since then, I delved deeper and continue to browse renowned designers, vintage pieces and e-followed fashions shows around the globe religiously. Then, in 2010, as college application was around the corner, I started to research on top fashion schools worldwide and finally settled for New York.
Getting into NYC Fashion Industry
In summer 2011, I moved to New York City to continue my studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and pursue my dreams of becoming a fashion designer. I majored in fashion design and focused on ready-to-wear for my bachelor’s degree. Being in FIT and New York truly exposed me to an array of global artistry and a vast number of opportunities. One of them was the Fusion Fashion Show, where I was one of the designers chosen to participate in a prestigious fashion show competition between FIT and Parsons. That opportunity allowed me to showcase my design to a broad audience, including people from the fashion industry. I received a great amount of public recognition as well as media attention. Several online magazines, blogs and stylists featured my gowns in their editorial pieces. My first runway show also lead to my interview for Voice of America, where it was aired on Metro TV October 2013.
Insider Tips when Applying for a Career in Fashion
Aside from media attention, studying fashion in New York opened internship doors. I landed my first internship at Oscar de la Renta through the help of the career services at my school as part of school credit. FIT helped me gain access to internship listings and provided me the contact information to set up an interview. However, for all of you who are in the States but are not in institutions that offered this service, there are also other ways to apply such as through websites like freefashioninternship.com and fashionista.com. This is how I found my internship at Jason Wu and Misha Nonoo where I was a part-time design intern. Finding an internship in fashion is not necessarily hard, but it is highly competitive. Therefore, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to polish your resume and portfolio. It is highly suggested that you include a lookbook of your designs, sketches and any additional information that can best reveal and highlight your hand and digital skills.
While everyone in fashion is quite busy, interviews are usually short between 15-30 minutes, therefore use that time wisely and include your personality while presenting your work. It is also essential to keep your portfolio organized and neat as it may affect your professionalism. As for what to wear for a fashion interview, be chic but not too formal, remember you are applying for a design position, not a corporate desk job!
One of my dear professors once told me, “The most stupid question, is the question that you don’t ask.” I hold this piece of advice close to my heart because, really, the opportunities that New York has to offer is nothing without doing your own due diligence and actively ask questions. Before trying to break in the fashion industry, be sure to do research and settle for a school with a program that best fit your goal. Wherever it may be, use your time spare time in college to intern as it helps to give your resume a boost and also gain connections that may help you with the job-hunt after graduation. The relationships I fostered through my internships and undergraduate studies benefited me as ex-colleagues and professors would inform me of job openings and also willingly write letters of recommendation which helped enhance my credentials.
As I start my job as a designer at Rachel Zoe Collection, I plan to continue my career in New York. I hope to gain the most experience here and learn from the best in the business. In the long run, I plan to build my own high-end ready to wear clothing line in Indonesia and aim to promote Indonesian fashion to a global market.
Good luck, and I look forward to seeing more Indonesians breaking into the global fashion industry.
Content edited by Artricia Rasyid
Photo Credit: Author’s Collection and Rachel Zoe NY