Want A Career In Fashion? One Insider Tells Us How She Cracked The Industry

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The world of fashion is notoriously difficult to get a foothold in, unless you’re willing (and financially able) to intern non-stop until you get lucky.

One woman who managed to make the industry her own is trainee fashion buyer Jessica Paxton, 36, who quit a well-paid job in insurance to pursue her dream of a more creative life. Since then, she’s not only worked in styling and event management, but also as a buyer for a major retail chain.

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Jessica chatted to STELLAR about her day-to-night style for our October issue – on shelves NOW, btw – but we had to nab her to get some tips on career success too. So, just how do you go about building a career in fashion when there are thousands of others out there with the same passion?

Here’s Jessica’s advice…

1. Don’t be afraid to change things up
“After college, I kind of fell into an insurance job in order to pay the rent, but I knew it wasn’t quite right for me,” recalls Jessica. So she started a blog, did a night course in fashion, and interned at the weekends until she got her first full-time paid fashion role.

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2. Use your spare time wisely
“I’ve always wanted to work in a creative field,” says Jessica. “If I could combine music, fashion, culture and production in the one job I’d have my dream career.” Even when she was working in insurance AND studying by night, Jessica kept on top of Dublin’s creative scene by DJing and helping out with event production at a modelling agency in her spare time.

3. If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Employers aren’t going to come looking for you, so don’t be afraid to go looking for them. “The best advice I can give to get your foot in the door is to not be afraid to approach people within the industry that you admire,” recommends Jessica. “Offer your services to them, be it interning, shadowing or helping a stylist. You’ll gain invaluable insight and contacts.”

4. Have a thick skin – and work hard
Confidence in your own abilities will take you a long way. “The fashion industry itself is tough, you have to really want to be there and to apply yourself,” says Jessica. “It’s extremely competitive and very fast paced.”

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5. Build your own personal style
“Buyers definitely dress quite ‘on trend’ but it’s important to be comfortable too, if you’re hauling product around,” says Jessica. “My personal style can swing between quite minimal – jeans and a basic tee – to quite out there, depending on my mood. I love loud accessories! A healthy mix of practical and stylish is where I like to meet.

Check out more style goodness – including our interview with cover girl Rosanna Davison – in STELLAR’s October issue, on shelves now.

October 2016 STELLAR magazine cover

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