Networking Tips for Beginners in Fashion
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 11 min read


  1. Why networking matters in fashion
  2. How to start networking
  3. How to build your professional profile
  4. How to approach people in the fashion industry
  5. Tips for effective communication
  6. How to attend fashion events
  7. How to follow up after networking
  8. How to maintain your network
  9. How to use social media for networking
  10. How to overcome challenges in networking

So, you've just stepped into the vibrant world of fashion and you're eager to make your mark. You've got the skills, creativity, and ambition, but there's one more ingredient you need to succeed: a strong professional network. You've probably heard the saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know." This rings particularly true in the fashion industry. But don't worry, we're here to help. This blog will provide you with practical tips for networking in fashion as an entry-level employee. Ready to get started?

Why networking matters in fashion

Imagine this: You're at a fashion event, surrounded by industry professionals, all buzzing with the latest trends and ideas. You're a fresh face in the crowd, but with the right networking skills, you could turn these interactions into opportunities. Whether it's landing your dream job, getting your designs noticed, or learning from the best in the business, networking can open doors for you in the fashion industry.

Here's why:

  • Job Opportunities: Many jobs in the fashion industry aren't advertised—instead, they're filled through word of mouth. When you have a wide network of connections, you're more likely to hear about these hidden opportunities.
  • Mentorship: Building relationships with experienced professionals can lead to mentorship opportunities. As a beginner, having a mentor can guide your career development and help you avoid common pitfalls.
  • Knowledge Sharing: The fashion industry is fast-paced and ever-evolving. By networking, you can keep up with the latest trends, technologies, and industry insights.
  • Visibility: Networking allows you to showcase your work to a wider audience. The more people who know about you and your designs, the better your chances of success.
  • Collaboration: Networking can lead to collaborations with other designers, models, or photographers. These partnerships can boost your creativity and give your work a new dimension.

Remember, networking isn't about just collecting business cards—it's about building meaningful relationships. So, as you embark on your fashion journey, take the time to invest in people. The next time you're at a fashion event or browsing through social media, don't be shy to reach out. Who knows? The person you're chatting with could be the key to your next big break.

How to start networking

Knowing how to start networking may seem a bit daunting at first. After all, the fashion industry is a vast, dynamic world with so many people to meet. But don't worry, starting is simpler than you might think. Here are some practical tips for networking in fashion as an entry-level employee:

  • Do Your Homework: Before you start networking, take some time to research the industry. Familiarize yourself with prominent fashion houses, emerging designers, and current trends. Understanding the landscape will help you engage in meaningful conversations and show that you're serious about your career.
  • Set Clear Goals: What do you hope to achieve from networking? Are you looking for job opportunities, seeking a mentor, or hoping to learn about the latest trends? Having clear goals will guide your networking efforts and help you focus on the right people.
  • Prepare Your Elevator Pitch: An elevator pitch is a brief, compelling speech that outlines who you are, what you do, and what you aspire to achieve. Having a well-prepared elevator pitch can make a strong impression and spark interest in your work.
  • Be Genuine: Networking is about building authentic relationships, not just transactional ones. Show genuine interest in others, ask insightful questions, and listen attentively. People will be more likely to engage with you if they feel valued and respected.
  • Start Small: You don't have to dive straight into big industry events. Start by networking within your existing circles—your classmates, teachers, colleagues. They may have connections of their own and can introduce you to others in the industry.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Like any other skill, networking gets better with practice. The more people you talk to, the more comfortable you'll become. So don't be disheartened if your first few attempts don't go as planned. Keep trying, and you'll improve over time.

You're now ready to dip your toes into the world of fashion networking. Remember, networking is a marathon, not a sprint—it takes time, patience, and consistency. So, take a deep breath, put on your most stylish outfit, and step out with confidence. Happy networking!

How to build your professional profile

Building a professional profile is like creating your own brand. It's a way for people to know who you are, what you can do, and what makes you unique. But how do you do that, especially as an entry-level employee in fashion? Here are some tips:

  • Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): What sets you apart in the fashion industry? It could be your distinctive design style, your innovative use of materials, or your knowledge of sustainable fashion. This unique selling proposition is like your signature—it's what makes you stand out from the crowd.
  • Create a Professional Portfolio: A portfolio showcases your work and skills. As a fashion professional, this could include sketches, photographs of your designs, or projects you've worked on. Make sure to select pieces that reflect your USP and align with your career goals.
  • Get Certified: Having a certification in your area of interest can boost your credibility. For example, if you're into sustainable fashion, getting a certification in sustainable design could highlight your commitment and expertise in this area.
  • Join Professional Associations: Associations offer opportunities for networking, learning, and growth. As a member, you can attend seminars, participate in workshops, and access industry-specific resources. Plus, it looks great on your resume!
  • Volunteer or Intern: Volunteering or interning gives you hands-on experience and exposes you to different aspects of the fashion industry. It's also a great way to demonstrate your dedication and passion.
  • Stay Current: The fashion industry is always evolving. Keep up-to-date with the latest trends, technologies, and industry news. This will help you stay relevant and informed—traits that are highly valued in this fast-paced industry.

Building a professional profile is an ongoing process. As you grow and evolve in your career, so will your profile. So, keep learning, keep exploring, and most importantly, keep shining. After all, the world of fashion loves a good spotlight!

How to approach people in the fashion industry

Successful networking in the fashion industry—or any industry, for that matter—often depends on the approach. A lot of the time, it's not just what you say, but how you say it. So let's talk about how you, as an entry-level employee, can approach people in the fashion industry effectively.

  • Do Your Homework: Before you reach out to someone, make sure you know who they are, what they do, and how they fit into the fashion industry. Look them up online, learn about their work, and understand their position and responsibilities. This will help you tailor your approach and make a meaningful connection.
  • Be Genuine and Respectful: People can tell when you're just trying to use them for your benefit. Instead, show genuine interest in their work and express your admiration for their achievements. Respect their time and don’t push too hard if they are not immediately receptive.
  • Ask Intelligent Questions: Asking thoughtful questions shows that you've done your research and are genuinely interested in learning from them. It's also a great way to engage them in a conversation.
  • Offer Value: Networking is a two-way street. What can you bring to the table? It could be something as simple as sharing an article relevant to their work or offering a unique perspective on a fashion trend.
  • Use the Right Channels: Approach people through appropriate professional channels. This could be at networking events, through professional social media platforms like LinkedIn, or via email. Unsolicited messages on personal social media accounts can come off as intrusive.

Remember, networking involves building relationships. It's not about collecting contacts; it's about planting seeds for mutual growth and support. So, when approaching people in the fashion industry, be patient, be genuine, and be respectful. The rest will follow naturally.

Tips for effective communication

Now that you know how to approach people, let's focus on improving your communication skills. Being an excellent communicator can open doors for you, especially when you're networking in the fashion industry as an entry-level employee. So, here are some tips to help you communicate more effectively:

  • Listen More, Talk Less: When you listen, you learn. Pay attention to what others are saying and show genuine interest. This can lead to more meaningful conversations and stronger connections.
  • Be Clear and Concise: In the fashion world, people are often busy and don't have time for long-winded explanations. Make your point clearly and quickly. Avoid jargon unless you're sure the other person will understand it.
  • Use Positive Body Language: Non-verbal communication can speak volumes. Maintain eye contact, use open body language, and remember to smile. This can make you seem approachable and confident.
  • Practice Empathy: Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Understand their perspective and respond appropriately. This can help build trust and rapport.
  • Follow Up: After your conversation, send a quick note or message to show you valued the interaction. This can help cement the connection and open the door for future communication.

Effective communication isn't just about talking—it's about understanding. Remember, it's not just what you say; it's also how you say it and how you respond to others. So, practice these tips and watch as your networking game in the fashion industry steps up a notch!

How to attend fashion events

Fashion events are a treasure trove of networking opportunities. But, as a newbie in the industry, they can be pretty intimidating. Don't worry, here are some tips to help you navigate these events like a pro:

  • Do Your Homework: Before you go to any fashion event, research about it. Know who's going to be there, what's going to be showcased, and try to familiarize yourself with the latest trends and hot topics. This will help you engage in meaningful conversations.
  • Dress Appropriately: This might seem like a no-brainer, but dressing appropriately for the event can be a great conversation starter. Use your outfit to express your personal style, but remember to respect the dress code if there is one.
  • Be Approachable: Don't wait for others to approach you. Take the initiative to meet people and start conversations. A simple hello can go a long way!
  • Bring Business Cards: This is a practical way to share your contact information. Make sure your business cards look professional and represent your personal brand well.
  • Stay Open and Positive: You never know who you might meet or what opportunities might come up. So, stay positive and open to new experiences.

Remember, fashion events are not just about seeing and being seen—they're about creating connections and building your network. So, make the most of these opportunities and you'll be well on your way to success in the fashion industry.

How to follow up after networking

So, you've attended a fashion event, met a bunch of interesting people and collected a stack of business cards. What's next? The real work of networking starts now: the follow-up.

  • Start Early: Send a follow-up email or message within 48 hours of the event. This shows that you value the connection and are serious about maintaining it.
  • Personalize Your Message: Don't send the same generic message to everyone. Recall a specific topic you discussed or something unique about each person and mention that in your message. It shows that you were genuinely interested in them.
  • Offer Value: Networking is a two-way street. Share a useful article, suggest a potential collaboration, or offer help in any way you can. This way, you're not just taking, but also giving.
  • Keep the Conversation Going: Don't just disappear after the first follow-up. Keep the conversation going by staying in touch, sharing updates, and engaging with their content online.

Following up after networking might seem like a daunting task, but it's a key part of building long-lasting relationships in the fashion industry. So, don't skip this step. It could be the difference between a forgotten encounter and a fruitful professional relationship.

How to maintain your network

Building a network is just the start; the real challenge is to maintain it. Here are some simple and effective tips for networking in fashion as a entry-level employee:

  • Consistent Communication: Send an occasional check-in message or email. It could be as simple as sharing a relevant article, wishing them on their birthday, or congratulating them on a recent achievement. The goal is to stay on their radar without being annoying.
  • Meet Regularly: If possible, meet your contacts in person from time to time. It could be for a coffee, at a fashion event, or just a casual meet-up. Face-to-face meetings often foster stronger relationships.
  • Help Others: Be the one who helps others without expecting anything in return. Help can be in the form of sharing job postings, making introductions, or offering advice. The more you give, the more you get.
  • Stay Professional: While it's good to be friendly and relatable, remember to stay professional. Avoid oversharing personal information or participating in gossip.

Maintaining a network doesn’t have to be a chore. Think of it as nurturing relationships with people who share your passion for fashion. Remember, a strong network can open doors you didn't even know existed.

How to use social media for networking

With the rise of digital platforms, using social media for networking in the fashion industry has become a must. Here are some handy tips on how to make the most of it:

  • Choose the Right Platforms: Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are popular among fashion professionals. Instagram is perfect for showcasing your style and creativity, LinkedIn for connecting with companies and recruiters, and Twitter for staying updated with the latest fashion trends and news.
  • Engage, Don't Just Follow: Engage with posts by leaving thoughtful comments, sharing content, and participating in discussions. This will increase your visibility and show that you're active and interested.
  • Share Your Work: Use your social media profiles as a portfolio to showcase your work, whether it's a design you've created, a fashion event you've attended, or a blog post you've written. Don't be shy about highlighting your achievements.
  • Be Authentic: Social media is a place to let your personality shine. Be yourself, but remember to keep it professional. Avoid controversial topics and always be respectful towards others.

So, are you ready to harness the power of social media to amplify your networking efforts in the fashion industry? Remember, building a strong online presence can be a game-changer for an entry-level employee in fashion.

How to overcome challenges in networking

Networking in the fashion industry as an entry-level employee can sometimes feel like navigating a maze. But don't worry, we've got some tips to help you overcome common obstacles:

  • Facing Rejection: Not everyone you reach out to will respond, and that's okay. Don't take it personally—just keep trying. Remember, every "no" brings you one step closer to a "yes".
  • Feeling Out of Place: It's normal to feel a little out of place when you're just starting out. But remember, every seasoned professional was once a beginner too. Stay confident, ask questions, and never stop learning.
  • Struggling to Start Conversations: Starting a conversation can be hard, especially with someone you admire. A good tip is to do some homework—know about their work, recent collections or projects. This way, you can start the conversation with something they are passionate about.
  • Unable to Attend Events: If you can't attend big industry events, don't worry—you can still network online. Engage with industry professionals on social media, join fashion forums, and attend virtual events.

Remember, the path to successful networking is paved with persistence and positivity. So, don't let these challenges deter you from making those important connections in the fashion industry.

If you found this blog post on networking tips for beginners in fashion helpful, you'll also enjoy the workshop 'Intro To The Fashion Industry: The Untraditional Route' by Aaron J Hurley. This workshop explores various aspects of the fashion industry and offers valuable insights to help you navigate it in an untraditional way. It's a perfect complement to the networking tips you've learned here, helping you establish a solid foundation for your career in the fashion world.