7 other viable fashion career paths

ifeoma odogwu fashion career

A career in fashion is a lot more than just having good style Click To Tweet

We’ve seen how fashion can be an empowering tool for women. There are several layers to explore with a fashion career. It’s a lot more than just having good style, and it poses several opportunities for one to exploit.

You could have a strong love for fashion and wish to make a career out of it, but not be sure you want to go down the path of fashion designer. Because that’s so mainstream?

Well, there are several other viable career options to explore. Here are 7 outlined below:

1. Fashion Stylist

This is a very lucrative path for one who is prepared to take it on. Despite how glamorous it sounds, it’s a lot of hard work that requires a good eye for detail and an understanding of your client’s needs. You’ll be working with designers, music producers, magazines etc.

The life of a fashion stylist is crazy hectic, just ask Ifeoma Odogwu of Hyperfashun. Crazy schedules, tight deadlines, a cut-throat industry; so if you’re not built for pressure, ditch the thought.

You can either work freelance or as an attaché. Starting out as a freelancer, you can’t expect to charge up a storm for your services. However, as you build your clientèle and reputation you are able to gradually increase your fees.

The life of a fashion stylist is crazy hectic, if you’re not built for pressure, ditch the thought Click To Tweet

2. Fashion Illustrator

There are much fewer fashion illustrators in the industry but it is a path that holds great promise. This is a path that requires specific skill with pencil and with the brush, with colour and with imagery. As a fashion illustrator, you get to work with fashion houses and magazines to create drawings and paintings bringing the client’s vision to life.

Claire Idera, the London-based fashion illustrator explains that there is a lot more to illustration than simply having the ability to draw silhouettes. Furthermore, one must have the ability to extract the essence of the client’s imagination and portray it with paper and colour.

If you’ve got the artistic skill and comprehensive ability to become a fashion illustrator, you’ll certainly be in high demand any time soon.

3. Fashion Editor

Are you thinking Anna Wintour? The title of fashion editor is no small feat. You must be able to write, obviously and you must also be able to wear the hat of fashion director.

Predicting fashion trends come with the territory so it goes without saying that you must be super stylish and understand fashion to a T. You’ll be supervising photo shoots, writing and editing fashion articles, selecting high-quality photos for publications.

You’ll need to pay your dues in the industry so starting out as an intern in fashion or with a magazine is always a good idea.

If you want to be a fashion editor, starting out as an intern is always a good idea Click To Tweet

4. Fashion Photographer

In Nigeria, most people think the only moneymaker for photographers is wedding shoots or coverage. Welcome to the world of greats like Kelechi Amadi-Obi.

Besides having top-notch photography skills, the aspiring fashion photographer must be organized and deeply creative. It is your job to set the tone, create the best lighting and texture that will breathe life to the fashion or art pieces on a shoot.

You should also be fashion-savvy and have the ability to think on your feet. Photographers have their work featured on fashion and lifestyle websites, blogs, print magazines, digital campaigns etc.

And hey, besides the sweet paychecks you get the repute of discovering new faces in fashion like Olajumoke Orisaguna!


5. Fashion Model

Women like Fatima Siad are killing it on the runway. If you’re not one to be behind-the-scenes then this is a great career prospect for you.

To break into the industry, you need to have a combination of looks and attitude. If you photograph well and have striking features including a fit bod, this might be a career for you. You’ll need to put together a portfolio and find good representation with reasonable terms. Laurie Frempong has taken the more challenging route of being her own PR/Manager.

Perks of the job include travelling, working with big name designers and gaining self-exposure especially if you already have an exit strategy in mind.

To break into the fashion industry, you need to have a combination of looks and attitude. Click To Tweet

6. Buyer

A buyer’s job is most interesting. Working for fashion stores, boutiques, and big fashion chains, the buyer is responsible for handpicking the pieces that go into retail.

This is done through a basic understanding of consumer psychology; observing what items customers are most interested in buying and predicting what items will be on-trend in the next season.

As the middleman between suppliers and customers, a fashion buyer must have the ability to multi-task, have a great customer approach and be super intuitive. There’s also a lot of travel involved.

7. Visual Merchandiser

Last but not least, is the visual merchandiser. This is a subtle role that no one ever really gives too much thought to except it’s an essential part of fashion marketing.

When you walk into a store, what are the first things you notice? The layout looks exquisite, doesn’t it and for some reason, the sales items are all the way behind? Well, that’s the merchandiser at work. Their job is to create an appealing outlook and prioritise the placement of pieces for optimal visibility, especially those items that need to be selling.

The role of a visual merchandiser is actually an essential part of fashion marketing Click To Tweet

Michelle Duwe, Visual Merchandising Manager of Topshop SA explains that to go down the path, you would need to have loads of energy, creativity and enthusiasm to dress up the mannequins in the display window and sort out all the fittings.

Let us know in the comments what fashion path you’re most interested in!

About Mercedes Alfa

Mercedes Alfa is a freelance writer and budding entrepreneur. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and master’s in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. She has worked previously across varying industries including fashion and entertainment. Her other passions include all things women, social development, security and justice. Mercedes is currently learning about digital marketing.

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