5 Fashion Industry Professionals Share How They Got Their Start

5 Fashion Industry Professionals Share How They Got Their Start

Fashion is an alluring and captivating world that sparks the curiosity of many. While from the outside, the industry might appear intimidating and scarce of opportunities, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Beyond the runways, glossy magazine pages, and glamorous portrayals in media, fashion is vast and covers a wide range of fields. Naturally, the available paths are equally varied and if you’re wondering, no, there’s not a secret formula to breaking into the industry.

There are, however, plenty of success stories of people working in different areas of fashion. Teen Vogue caught up with professionals from around the world to discuss how they kickstarted their careers and what it takes to make it in the fashion industry.

Courtesy of Leslie Russo.

Leslie Russo

President, IMG Fashion Events & Properties

Teen Vogue: How did you start working in fashion?

Leslie Russo: I started my career at Interview — the magazine founded by Andy Warhol — after studying Literature and Art History in college. Working at a magazine was the hottest industry to work in at the time and I considered myself lucky to have landed a job somewhere that combined my vast interests in art and pop culture. Interview is where I learned about fashion through the lens of art and how it is intertwined with culture. Along the way, I learned more about the business. I started making my way up the ladder in publishing, which eventually landed me at IMG, the global leader in fashion, events, sports, and media.

TV: What’s your advice for people looking to work in the fashion industry?

LR: Saying you want to work in fashion is like saying you want to be a doctor. Do you want to be a neurosurgeon, a dentist, a dermatologist, or a pediatrician? Within the fashion business, there are hundreds of different paths you can take. No matter what path you choose, my advice is to always be a student in the world, and keep learning, growing, and staying open to new possibilities. The journey is just as rewarding as the destination. If fashion is what you love, then immerse yourself in it. Do your homework and keep reading fashion media. Explore the history and culture of fashion — there are incredible documentaries and exhibitions both IRL and online that you can explore. Last but not least, network! — there are a lot of places across the world to network within the fashion industry. A great one started by IMG is NYFW: NXT, which is a free virtual training program led by fashion and beauty experts that helps aspiring professionals with insights and tools for a career in today’s fashion business. Outside the glamour, clothes, TikTok stars, and sneaker drops, fashion is a serious business — a $3 trillion dollar business to be exact — and we are excited for the next wave of leaders to make their impact on the industry we all love and cherish so much.

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