5 fashion industry realizations from working in Paris

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Ahh Paris, the city of love – or lights whichever you prefer. I have pretty much been living here my whole life so to me, it represents a fast-paced city where people are busy, overwhelmed and don’t seem to be able to get enough of that precious gift we cannot possess: time. But working in the fashion industry has taught me many different things; starting with the fact that “fashion industry” is an extremely broad term. This is me sharing what I’ve learned over the past few years:

1 – Being curious and versatile is super important

It is almost strange for me to say that because during the very first internship I got within that giant “fashion industry”, I was actually criticized by my boss for being too curious. Back then I made a mental note to myself: don’t just trust the first person who has enough money lying around to start their own company. Later on though, I learned that wanting to know as much as possible and mostly, being able to do the work of multiple people at the same time was very valuable. It will always benefit you to want to keep learning. Plus, it is pretty much necessary nowadays to know how to do everything, whether it is to get a new job or just for you. So always try to be the best version of yourself that you can be; learn and wear many hats: it will go a long way.

2 – Sometimes, it can be just like any other industry…

You know the drill every time you get a new job: sometimes you get trained; sometimes you just have to learn on your own. You make friends, but also enemies who like bitching behind your back to your other colleagues near the coffee machine. You will take breaks and will try the new restaurant on the block with your work buddies. The main thing to remember is that making connections will take you very far, like for any other job. And I’m not talking about making fake friends. I’m talking about being genuine, helping others, being kind…First of all, because giving back feels amazing. And second, because building great relationships with as many people as possible is probably what will take your career from average to amazing. Remember: everyone has something great to offer, never underestimate anyone who may cross your path.

3 – …but then Fashion Week strikes

Ok, so this is not something that I have actually experienced myself. Like I said before, it is a huge industry and none of the jobs or internships I got were involving Fashion Week at all. But some of my friends working as patternmakers or seamstresses have shared with me tons of stories of how they had to forget about eating or sleeping right before Fashion Week. For some reason, it is a time where everybody panics for not being on time and everything is rushed to the last minute. Artistic directors can also decide to replace a piece you have been working on for months and will have you create a brand new one in 2 days instead. So during that crazy time, you can say hello to long hours and goodbye to your regular life.

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4 – Most of the time, it is not glamorous…

Just like with any other profession, you will be asked as an intern to make coffees and copies. Even when you land a “regular” job, you will have to answer the phone and emails all day long. Depending on the job, you will also have to steam clothes, pack them into boxes, organize the office, do a lot of computer work…and even go to the post office to send out packages. You could even be doing manual labor for years before actually getting a promotion with more tasks to accomplish. And even then, if it is a small company you might still have to do it.

5 – …it doesn’t mean it is not awesome!

What I was just saying about manual labor even while being high up in a company can also have its perks – and no I’m not joking! It actually means that you get to do tons of different things; your job is never boring that way, and we are back at our whole “being versatile” thing: it is very valuable! But more than that, there are definitely some huge benefits to the fashion industry. Of course, getting invited to cool events and getting awesome freebies is great. I personally had the best mentor ever while working in the industry and that is something totally priceless. The only thing that had a price for me really was going to fashion school. And yes, for some industries, going to school in France can actually be as expensive as going to school in the US! But that is a whole other story.

I hope you guys enjoyed having a glimpse of what it can be like to work in the fashion industry here in Paris. Have you guys had any experience with that? Is it, to you, the same all over the world? Comment below!

Author Bio: Sonia is a blogger and personal stylist. She owns The Cherry Chapter, a fashion blog for the bloomer, dreamer, eager type. Her free-spirited personality and creative stubbornness lead her to the life path she was always meant to take. She now shares her passion & experiences with everyone, one stud and flower at a time.

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