Entering the labor market for the first time as a fashion designer: how do you approach that?


Beeld via: Julia González – GONA

The Spanish fashion industry consists of approximately 19,000 companies. It ranks fifth in Europe after Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and France, and accounts for 2.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 4.3 percent of employment.

This results in a wide variety of options for those wishing to work in the textile sector, both in Spain and around the world. Yet there is a vast majority who, when it comes time to choose their path, succumb to the appeal of a career as a fashion designer.

FashionUnited wanted to share the different experiences of three young graduates taking their first steps on the job market.

Carmen Del Toro is 24 years old and trained at the Escuela Sevilla de Moda, a center for higher artistic education in the field of design, where she specialized in fashion and graphic design. She has completed two internships, one as part of her studies at the up-and-coming Italian brand Defaïence and a second additional internship at Iris Van Herpen, the Dutch fashion designer who fuses technology with traditional haute couture craftsmanship.

“Despite the long working hours, I enjoyed my work, and I noticed that I was given more and more responsibility. You see the results of what you do every day and that gives you the motivation to keep going.”

carmen del toro

Del Toro says that during her internship she had the opportunity to delve into the digital aspect of the designs, which allowed her to get to know a world that she finds very interesting and in which she gained experience. This is currently motivating her to apply for positions in which she can develop further in this area.

As an intern she has had more or less the same working conditions in both countries. In the Netherlands, however, she had more responsibilities and the workload was much higher, because it was a haute couture brand and because she was directly involved in the collection for the Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris. What struck her most is that there are many more job opportunities in the Netherlands. “I’ve generally seen that they have more confidence in young people when I compare this to Spain.”

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Beeld: Julia González – GONA

Julia González studied with Carmen at the Escuela Sevilla de Moda, and later they met again at Defaïence, an internship experience they both shared that, although they were more focused on designing the collections, they could work in an interdisciplinary way. participate in all facets and activities of the brand.

A few months ago, Julia decided to start a series of projects of her own – such as her own company, GONA – something she believes has been fundamental to her personal development, but which “isn’t really valued on a resume by companies”.

Too many years of experience and vacancies that are “filled by connections”

Julia González believes that looking for a job in fashion design for recent graduates can be “frustrating” because years of experience are often asked and most vacancies, as she says, are “filled through connections”.

She believes that she has the qualities required for many positions and that she has gained experience in many different areas, but that no one gives her the chance to prove this. Therefore, she has decided to continue her education with a Masters in 3D Design and the Metaverse, which is currently gaining popularity, while trying to find an internship, “preferably paid”, which she can combine with her Masters.

Del Toro believes that while there are opportunities for recent graduates, there is also a lot of competition in the industry today. “You have to work hard and be constantly on the move, language skills are essential and you should not be afraid to apply for positions with a lot of responsibilities even if you have little experience,” she advises, explaining that although she has no personal experience has gained in “the job of her dreams”, she has learned something from every job, which makes it feel like she is getting one step closer to where she wants to go.

On this last point, she agrees with González, who says that she did not think she would experience certain experiences herself so soon, but at the same time expected that she would already be working, which is not the case. “Once you’re done studying, there’s a process where you look for a job, try to find what you like, and so there can be frustration with not being able to apply what you’ve studied in your life. work, while that would help enormously at the beginning.”

She believes that during their studies, students “are not only insufficiently prepared to deal with rejections, but also do not learn how to apply for a job. If you want to become an entrepreneur, they don’t teach you anything on a business level. In Andalusia Unlike in other Spanish communities, our design study is not considered a university degree, which sometimes closes certain doors”.

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Beeld: Charlota Blunarova via Unsplash

“For me it was a reality check to create my own brand because I felt like I was not trained in many areas”.

Lucia Monge

Lucía graduated in fashion design and after working in a clothing store for several years to save a little, she founded her brand Sissú, which she now devotes herself to full-time. With her brand she creates unique designs for her clients, depending on the type of event, focusing mainly on the guests and the world of flamenco. Her studio is located in Dos Hermanas, Seville.

She says that during her internship she became acquainted with certain aspects of the fashion industry that she did not always agree with, which made her want to start her own company. She made use of the experiences she had gained during several backstage moments at various fashion brands and at various fashion shows, where she presented collections that she was then able to sell. Her last job was as an assistant at the Dior cruise fashion show in Seville.

If she could shape the profession “to her will”, she says she would like to continue the line she started: “creating and designing exclusive clothing for my clients, because I enjoy connecting with them.” to get into their heads and merge their tastes with mine, always incorporating my essence into every design.” She says she would also like to release guest collections and a streetwear line in the future.

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Beeld via: Lucía Monge – SISSÚ

She tells FashionUnited that she doesn’t feel that the education system has fully prepared her for the realities of the job market because once she finished Fashion Design, she had to continue her education through various courses and do a lot of research to find out. how she could legally create her own brand.

Carmen, in turn, believes that the education system “misses a little more knowledge of the digital world”. “A lot of brands are working with cutting edge programs that were never in my curriculum and I think this is a great opportunity for recent graduates because it is something relatively new, which can differentiate our curriculum and create many career opportunities.

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.ES. Translation and adaptation from Spanish into Dutch: Eugenia Melissen Ferrer.
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