The fashion industry has always been seen as alluring and glamorous, glossy magazines have existed for years and born the brunt of ridicule, hatred and blame for the neurosis of women worldwide – as well as the envy of a pretty hefty majority. With the latest swathe of freshly educated graduates now tracking their way to the front doors of publishing houses, waving credible CV’s in the faces of editors and fatigued human resources staff wanting a piece of the action – what hope is there for them?
When I decided early in my teens that I wanted to be a fashion journalist, the concept was met with confusion and a great deal of head patting. The general misconception was that I desired to be a designer, and no matter how many times you reeled off names such as Suzy Menkes, Hadley Freeman or Colin McDowell they still ended any conversation with “well just think one day you can be the new Chanel!”… er no. Well, after a great many fraught hours staring at the UCAS pages, searching for the right course with enough credibility to ease me into the career of my dreams, I was finally an undergraduate on a respected programme and desperate to be thinking up headlines and stand firsts; all whilst remembering the five W’s (who, what, where, when and why obviously). As luck would have it, during my first term, The Devil Wears Prada was released at the cinema, everyone suddenly knew what I was trying to do and it was great… for about five minutes. Then came the Hills, then the City and now there are too many TV shows depicting what I want to be doing to count on some WAH! embellished fingers.
We were always taught at Uni that everybody moves around in this job, meet the right person, they’ll know a vacancy et voila – you’re in. All this was of course pre recession and before the idea that anyone can do it kicked off and some 13 year old in Miu Miu nicks your ‘entry point’. Nowadays, as much as I love the internet, you need to have a blog novelised and featured in the New York Times bestseller list before anyone will bother reading past the first three sentences of your cover letter. So what are we meant to do? Intern, intern and intern again apparently – despite the fact that you have already interned for over two years and have the managing editor of one of the world’s most renowned magazine’s as a reference, oh and not to mention that you’re poor, poor poor not just “shouldn’t buy those shoes” cash short – we’re talking £8 to last you the week and never mind the rent. Alarmingly, getting a ‘normal’ job is now just as difficult as getting one you actually want, as when all your working experience and demonstrable ‘team playing’ attributes come from successfully organising the return of some invaluable shoes to New York, or ringing and managing to warble in Franglais to Celine to check they still had the same address in Paris for the mailing list of a certain publication.
I’m in no doubt that a proportion of this years graduates are probably already in jobs I can only salivate over whilst straining through the Guardian Jobs pages day after day – I just wish someone would give me the chance to be one of them.