Our Advice to Graduating Fashion Design Students

To all the students that have graduated with a degree in fashion, congrats. You are the latest crop of talent entering the workforce. You may find a job working in the industry, do something totally unrelated or even start your own line (with caution please). 
No matter what your path is, and please remember, it’s okay to not have a traditional path, we'd like to offer a few pieces of advice that will hopefully help you along the way.  
1. Assess Your Skills & Continue Your Education 
You may have graduated with a degree in fashion design, business or even merchandising. Regardless of your major, there will be areas of the industry that you don't know and skills that you need to enhance. Be sure to understand where there's an opportunity to learn, what excites you and embrace the unknown. 
When you do this, you'll not only be inspired, but hopefully commit to learning more. Keep in mind that being a lifetime learner, on your own terms (without grades, due dates and hopefully group projects) can be really freeing!
Now, while you may have a diploma in hand, the rate at which information is created and technology is developed, it's important to stay relevant. You can go back to school, take continuing education classes, go to talks, listen to podcasts or even watch YouTube videos. 
Just keep learning. 
2. Find Ways to Further Your Creativity 
Your relationship with creativity will undoubtedly change. If you work for a company, it may become more constrained. Or, you may leave the industry and your ability to create may shrink. Either way, don’t give up on your passion. Commit to making, sketching, sewing, traveling, or doing whatever sparks your creative interests.
3. Train Your Eye 
Training your eye to identify good product and design is invaluable. Spend time looking at different types of design, photography, websites and art. Also, become more intimate with product.  Look at how a garment is constructed, finished, merchandised and packaged. In the end, your eye will become just as important as your gut. 
4. Constantly Do Store Visits 
No matter what part of the fashion industry you work in, you need to understand retail. Be sure to shop the market and know what's going on both on and offline. 
Now is a great time to learn because retailers are trying to introduce new concepts, brand experiences and engage customers. Talking to sales associates can be a win for you. Making retail friends is never a bad thing and you'll leave you with an arsenal of consumer and competitive knowledge that will only make you smarter. 
5. Commit to Networking 
In the fashion industry, the magic happens through networking. It can open doors, teach you what isn't taught in the classroom and help you form a new community.
Let Eventbrite and Meetup be your new best friends and putting yourself out there at least once a month can do wonders for your contact list. 
6. Build Your Personal Brand 
There’s so much opportunity out there and no matter where you go, you will need to build your brand. Be sure to update your LinkedIn, social profiles and website because the next endeavor awaits to those not only those that can show their academic success, but ones that have and promising personal brand. 
7. Be Nice. 
It's a small world. The industry never forgets. Gratitude, thoughtfulness and just being nice can go a long way. 

Emerging designer or resource to share, please contact us at hello@theemergingdesigner.com. Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest news, open calls, events and opportunities!