To make you fully understand how the fashion industry works, we interview fashion professionals to bring you their experiences so they can be a guide and an inspiration for you.
Lots of young girls want to work in fashion, but few know how this world works before entering it. The purpose of Glam Observer is to clarify this to help you find the right place for you.
Today I bring you the story of Marta. It is certainly among the most interesting interviews we have had and I am sure her career story will inspire and make you a clearer idea of the fashion industry.
Marta studied at the IED in Milan and although she is convinced that it is not necessary to study fashion in order to work in this industry, the institute helped her to get her first job in fashion. She is currently working at Zalando – the online fashion retailer that was nominated from LinkedIn as one of the best place to work in 2017 – as Buying Assistant Women Footwear Fast Fashion and in the interview, she explains how she went from a luxury company like Balenciaga to a modern and technology company like Zalando!
1) What did you study?
Fashion Marketing & Communication (BA) at the IED (European Institute of Design).
2) Why did you choose the IED as a school? What’s your opinion now that you have graduated?
The IED gave me a lot during the three years of the course: the professors, being professionals, explained to me the fashion world with a direct look at reality; the class was made up of students from all over the world and this international environment opened my eyes to other cultures and languages (the course was entirely in English) while still remaining in Milan. Finally, the method with which I did most of the exams was based on the development of both individual and group projects. I think this was essential to my work today.
3) How much do you think the IED helped you to find your first job in fashion?
The IED offers a recruiting service at the end of the course. Many interviews I did after graduation were contacts of the institute.
4) What was your first experience in fashion?
I was born and raised with the fabrics, thanks to the family business. Also for this reason my first experience in fashion during the university was at Ratti, a leader in silk production. Here I took care of the press office, is a figure close to my studies.
5) After Ratti you worked at Balenciaga as Raw Materials Research and Development Intern. How was the transition from a press office role to one related to the product?
Although I dealt with press office, at Ratti I was able to see the creative aspect and the manufacturing processes upstream of the product that we then see finished in the shop. When I entered Balenciaga, I then took one more step towards creating the product itself. The world of fashion consists of a thousand processes or figures and it is important to know the needs and methods of other professions within the supply chain.
6) From Balenciaga to Zalando, two completely different companies. What do you like about one and the other?
The creativity and the heritage that I have breathed at Balenciaga have enriched my work experience and accustomed my eyes to “beauty”. Zalando, on the other hand, is a much younger and fresher company.
Innovation and internationalization are the aspects that I breathe here.
7) How is your typical day when you arrive at the office?
I’m usually at the office around 9 / 9.30. At Zalando I take care of buying so contacts with suppliers, appointments and meetings are on the agenda. Every Monday, every team finds itself to draw up a list of to-do things for that week: the important thing is that at the end of the week everyone has completed his tasks, no matter where or when you do them.
8) We wrote a post about the benefits of doing internships abroad. You live now in Berlin, what are the advantages and disadvantages of experiences abroad?
I think that an experience abroad can enrich you both from a cultural and professional point of view. Berlin is a melting pot of cultures, kitchens and traditions. In the fashion world it is important to have continuous inspirations and ideas and I think that a city as big as this one, even if not known for fashion, can give many. Also, I’m definitely improving my English and starting to chew some German. Professionally, I found a stimulating environment from the point of view of personal development. I think that an experience abroad can give a lot more points to your CV.
Only two points to the disadvantage: I miss Italian food and the sun.
9) What would you recommend to girls who want to work in fashion? Where to start and how to deal with the competitiveness of this industry?
I think it’s important to start with any profession in the fashion world: even if you’re far from your studies. From the vestiarist to the shop assistant it is easy to make yourself known and go on to what we like best. I think that, since the fashion world is very fast and seasonal, it is important to invest in professional experience from an early age. There is always time for a master’s degree: but what they are asking for in the interviews is what you can do, not what you have studied in books.
Featured pic @zalando