Future-Proofing Your Fashion Career
Updated: Feb 23
When the pandemic struck in the year 2020, all of us were grappling with fear. With careers being severely affected, fashion designers had to now take ten extra steps to get where they wanted to be. From job losses to the uncertainty revolving around the field of fashion design, the whole year taught designers the importance of planning and securing their future in every way. What it also taught them is the need to be mindful about every step of your career progression and future-proofing it. Because let’s face it–this is one of the prime lessons we learnt with the situations. Savings are a lot more important than you give them credit for and carving out a plan for your career to make it sustainable is necessary.
Source: Flaunter on Unsplash The Need for Future-Proofing Your Fashion Career
Fashion is one such industry that demands constant change and is ever-evolving. The seasons on seasons of fashion collections and shows are proof! With the on-rush of new trends, new styles, new designers, seasons, needs, and more–change is all that fashion is about. But, the changes that came with the pandemic were unprecedented. Offline stores went digital, many stores were forced to shut, fashion shows came to a standstill, and online sales went through the roof. Do you see? There were changes, bad and good both. But again, these events only remind us of how important it is to future-proof your fashion career or any other career for that matter, is the need of the hour.
Even if we take out the whole pandemic angle for a few moments and look at the fashion industry and its fickle nature in general–this need for future-proofing still arises. Not to mention, the surge of digitalization, where technology is overpowering everything else and new careers are emerging. Here, the race is all about remaining relevant to the current industry and its trends. What may have worked for you and your career ten years ago, maybe an unwanted skill today. Say, if you’re a luxury designer who indulges in fast fashion, and ten years later, the current sustainable movement is all there is to see. In that case, you may end up being out of work because your area of expertise may no longer match the needs and trends of that given time. All in all, life is unpredictable and so is the fashion industry, which is why you need to begin taking steps to future proof your career today! Here’s a guide for you.
Source: Ben Brewers on Unsplash
Source: Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash 1. Upskill and re-skill to fit the needs of tomorrow
You’ve probably heard this enough–learning never stops, but have you ever applied that to your life? Perhaps, you have reached a point where you consider learning with an age cap, where you want to learn but believe you’re too old? Well, no age is old enough for learning and there are a lot of sources for learning; it isn’t only restricted to traditional education. The other kind of learning must be an ongoing process–where you refine and hone your existing skills or you learn a new one.
When it comes to fashion, this is something that will propel your career in many different directions. Because as discussed earlier, fashion is fickle, and being armed with better and new skills can only be add-ons for your professional advancement. All successful fashion designers in India live by the thumb rule to be lifelong learners. So, while you seek workshops, offline or online courses, or simply indirect forms of learning like reading and watching documentaries–you either learn something new here or polish an existing skill. That’s exactly why none of these learning methods go futile!
When you immerse yourself into constant upskilling or re-skilling, it is also important for you to not only consider what the current times need but also what tomorrow may need. What we mean when we say that is this. Let’s say, the current times demand you to equip yourself with sustainable fashion. So, you go ahead and learn all that you need to know about that. But say, a few years later, tech is more prevalent than it is now and you find yourself in a tough spot with no knowledge of how to keep up with that.
The point? It is great to understand the existing needs of your fashion career and find ways to make yourself better suited for those. But, at the same time, in order to future-proof your fashion career, you have to think ahead. Think ten years down the line. What do you think has the scope to become bigger in this industry? Where do you think the fashion world will be then? Use your knowledge, expertise, and interest in fashion to determine these answers and head into that direction of learning.
Speaking of the current times, we say technology and fashion will mingle a lot more than they are today. Now, this is something that is prevalent today and clearly, will only grow further ahead. So, ten years into the future, there will definitely be a need for you to become tech-savvy. Who knows then? All your fashion work may function with nothing but technological tools and machines?
2. Be open and adaptable to change
This is something that goes hand in hand with consistent learning. Open-mindedness is key here. We all love what we do and we choose this field because we are committed to it. But, it is necessary to look at our respective fashion careers with an open mind to change. Because the way you approach your profession today may have to be reconsidered tomorrow, as the industry and the times change. Being open to these inevitable changes in the fashion industry and time-specific trends means being ready to embrace them with ease.
It means that no matter what shifts are introduced in your profession, you will be open to adapting to those shifts with willingness and enthusiasm. If you’re a fashion designer, you may have to adopt different measures to sustain yourself and future-proof your fashion career at a given time. If you’re a fashion stylist, you may have to invite in gigs that you are not exactly fond of, in order to grow. So, when you start your journey in fashion, enter it with a future-oriented mindset, which means you are open, adaptable, and quick to embrace change.
3. Invest in having a side-hustle
This is another thing that the current times have taught us. It is important to have more than one source of income–a full-time profession and a side-hustle that could serve you in desperate times of need. So, what exactly do we mean by side-hustles? In simple words, a side hustle is something you’re passionate about and also what can bring in some extra cash. This is pursued on the side of your original job as a source of income that is unaffected by the factors affecting your main job.
Investing in a side-hustle could be in the form of taking up a freelance gig in your field of career. Say, if you’re a fashion designer, you could also pursue the role of a fashion teacher as a side-hustle or maybe start a clothing line with a co-partner. The whole purpose of investing in having a side-hustle is that in times of need, you have an option when it comes to your income. Moreover, for some people, it is also a way to pursue their passions and test the waters before making it their full-time profession. In the end, though, it is all about investing in a future for your fashion career in every way, so you are well-armed with the right resources and skills when needed.
4. Network and stay up to date
The network you build over the years of your professional journey has a big part to play in your current and future career. Building a tight-knit circle of like-minded and different individuals in your industry can be a supporting tool in your long-term career. It can be a catalyst in sustaining your career, especially in an industry where connections play a huge role. This is also a way to stay updated with the current on-goings and adopt a future-focussed approach in life.
Meeting new people means being introduced to new mindsets and ideas, which can be a gateway for you to embrace innovation. This especially comes in handy as you go forward in your career path. So, invest heavily in building a strong network by attending meet-ups, joining relevant groups on social media, being a part of clubs, and simply attending events. Once your network is populated with successful fashion designers in India, your invested time in your network will certainly give you satisfying returns in exposure and opportunity. At the end of the day, it is your own mindset and the people you surround yourself with, that matter and make all the difference. Even when it comes to future-proofing your fashion career!