Advice for those starting out: even the longest journey starts with one single step..
If I have learnt anything from working in the fashion industry, it’s that rising to the top or building a brand will take a long time and can be painfully slow. Anyone thinking of fashion as instant glamour, fame and attending chic glitzy events; think again. It’s a hard grind and a difficult journey. You need to be able to hustle, work hard and make sacrifices. You need a real hunger and passion for the product, service, brand or business that you are in. If your intention is only fame and fortune, go do something else.
Fashion is a complex industry and incredibly competitive. It takes many years to build a brand. It’s a long haul process. However, the more time I have spent in fashion, the more I want to be here. The most amazing aspect for me is the fashion community: the inspiring drive and creativity of almost everyone you meet is electrifying, motivating and even, fun.
For entrepreneurs like myself, being a part of a fashion community or network, like Rise, is increasingly important as it can often be lonely, demotivating and stressful to start a business. It takes years to build significant teams, so having a place to go where you can connect, collaborate and exchange ideas with other experts is important for keeping that creative flow as well as for building knowledge about commercial business.
In addition to your own personal professional journey, there are many challenges we as an industry face, and working together will be the only way to find innovative solutions. As well as running my own brand called Araminta, I work for Hubbub, which runs the secretariat along with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion with Baroness Hornsey. Being a part of taking on complex macro challenges to fashion as well as internal company challenges has allowed me to learn a huge amount about the sector.
I think that to be successful in whatever part of the industry you are in: look around you. What resources are there? What experienced and supportive individuals can you learn from or help and collaborate with on a common issue? How can you use your business to solve a problem and make the world a better place? How can you work with creative minds to find exciting business models for making fashion sustainable, ethical and with the right skills for viability in the long term?
Rome wasn’t built in a day. But also, no one has ever succeeded in doing anything alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice or feedback. It’s all about team work, collaboration and supporting each other. I think that is the mind set you should have for wellbeing and success in any chosen fashion career path.
Author: Gillian Mead, Rise Committee Member, Founder and Creative Director at Araminta and Sustainable Fashion Editor at Hubbub