5 Lessons Learnt From The Fashion Cupboard
‘Fashion cupboard’ – the term referring to the literal cupboard of a fashion editorial magazine.
Journalism is a difficult industry to get into. Hopes of sending off an application or two and landing a prime presenting job at the BBC isn’t going to happen straight out of university.
But perhaps you’re interested in editorial or digital journalism – more specifically magazine journalism. The best, and it seems the only way, to land a job on a glossy is through experience (and usually unpaid at that.)
Nevertheless, here are 5 lessons you learn from working in a fashion cupboard.
You’re the bottom of the hierarchy.
The worst thing anyone could do, whether starting a new internship or employed job, is walk in with airs and graces.
Working in the fashion cupboard entails menial tasks that perhaps don’t require your degree, or entire secondary education for that matter. Nevertheless they are important tasks and it’s important to carry them out diligently, efficiently and to the highest of your standards. Oh – and always with a smile and a positive “sure.”
Initiative is your new favourite word!
This is your chance to impress and always go the extra mile. That means, when it’s quiet on the work front, finding jobs that you haven’t been asked to do. But you know the fashion assistant and director would appreciate. Even if it’s having to tame the box of wild hangers. Keep the clothes and shoes super organised, lined up neatly, perhaps in colour order, and always keep on top of returning clothes.
There is usually a designated rail for items that are no longer needed and can be returned. Double check each morning and usually there is an hour-or-so’s work within returns. The post room – these internships should really be titled ‘fashion intern / delivery sorter.’ Clothes that have been called in will be delivered throughout the day, try to keep on top of visiting the post room. Perhaps go in the morning, after lunch and towards the end of the day. And do try and avoid being asked to go.
Nothing is ever really that urgent.
Although you may be an accredited professional journalist now you’ve graduated with that degree, you’re probably more familiar with the word urgent in situations such as; “5 minutes until we’re going live and a breaking news story just in, write it up and get it in the bulletin NOW.”
In the world of fashion editorial however, ‘urgent’ equates to everyone needing everything, like, yesterday. Sending weeping, ego-boosting emails to PR companies asking if they “can help us out” because “we are desperate” for them to send clothes in, but, *insert bombshell* we need them by end of play – so two hours time please. No pressure.
You’ll get severe clothes envy.
Everyday new items of clothing, samples and products are being delivered and it’s your responsibility to check them in, hang them up and then parcel them up to return. Hundreds of never-seen before clothes for next season come through the door along with a side note of severe envy.
There will be so many brands you’ve never heard of, seen or bought their products before a fashion editorial placement. And they will remain un-bought because of their price tags. It’s rather soul-crushing, especially if you’re working with an ‘expenses-only’ daily wage, hanging up beautiful, expensive clothes that don’t, and never will, belong to you.
Line them up and be prepared
No, this isn’t a reference to the clothes. In fact this is to your life, if you’re really interested in a career within this sector of the journalism industry then get savvy, and organise more placements for the next few months.
Most placements only last between 4 weeks and 3 months. With several companies only allowing you to undertake one placement with them per year. No matter how great your organisation is.
You will most likely have access to a website called fashion monitor – use your lunch break wisely and do a little research. You’ll be amazed at the contacts you can get for people working at other magazines.
Speak to your line manager too – it’s most likely they will have done exactly what you’re doing now. Ask them if they have any contacts that they can refer to you. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.
(Feature image from Pexels by Fancycrave)