A common question I get asked via my blog is how I ended up working in fashion and the media, or how I became a recognised blogger. Im also pretty sure I’m not the only blogger/stylist who’s been asked these types questions, right?
I find these questions difficult to answer for a myriad of reasons, the number one being that I don’t want to disappoint people. I always do my best to explain that there is no easy answer. Career paths in the fashion and the media are rarely, if ever, laid out for people to follow. It’s all about making your own way, carving out your own path.
But there is one way that I can help answer this tricky question, and that is by sharing MY path with you all, because in the end, that’s all I know. So, I before I go much further with these Career Diaries, I figured that I should start from the beginning and share my path with you all. Over the past few years I’ve gotten a lot of different experience through various courses, internships and colleges, and I’ll do my best to explain all of them below.
My College/University Path:
NUI Galway / 2007-2010: Like many others, when I finished secondary school I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do. I had a keen interest in creativity and fashion, but I didn’t have the confidence in myself to pursue it as a career. I always had a flair for English, so I Studied English and Sociology & Political Studies in NUI Galway for three years (from 2007 until 2010) along with a Diploma in the Irish language at the same time. It wasn’t the happiest or most productive time in my life for a myriad of reasons, but my studies in English helped my future blogging and journalistic excursions hugely, and the experience and knowledge I gained will always stand to me. It was only when I finished my degree however, that I started my fashion blog, and began on my path into the industry.
London School of Journalism / 2011: After my degree, I was considering fashion and lifestyle Journalism it as a career, and so I completed a short course on women’s writing at the London School of Journalism. I felt that trying a shorter, more intensive course seemed like the smart thing to do before I committed to a very costly journalism masters. The course was fantastic, I learned so much, and it was a great experience overall. I came home and immediately started looking for work, and began writing pieces for local magazines and online publications. I soon realised that although I absolutely adored writing and the media, journalism wasn’t my sole career-goal.
My Work Experience:
Over the past few years I’ve had a lot of different experience between paid -work, internships and other placements in the fashion and media industry. People often ask me what are the best courses/internships/training programs to “get into fashion” and whether education or practical experience is better to succeed. I think that answer completely depends on your career goals, but overall I feel that practical experience is better, as thats just what worked for me. Below is a general breakdown of my work experience.
2010/ WildChild Stories: As I mentioned before, I didn’t start WildChild Stories until after I finished college. When I began I had no knowledge of blogging as the industry it is today, and there were a lot fewer Irish fashion bloggers around at the time, so I guess I sort of figured it all out as I went along. My posts were smaller, more personal reflections on fashion, such as mood-boards and inspiration posts. Have a scroll through my archives if you want to see what they were like. I’m particularly happy with my first post. Even in my very naive state, I knew that a small passion, if nurtured could one day grow into something bigger, which it eventually did.
2011 / Pretty Polly Ambassadorship: I was appointed the Uk and Irish brand ambassador for the hosiery giant, Pretty Polly for two years, which included a fun mix of modelling, writing and presenting work. The selection process over in London was such an adventure (you can get up-to-speed here) and subsequently winning the title did huge amounts for my self-confidence, and my ambition. It was a wonderful experience, and will always be a cherished memory as my first big leap into this crazy world of fashion and media.
2011 / London Fashion Week/Reporting for Pretty Polly: Ah, my first fashion week! I went alone, working for Pretty Polly, to the House of Holland show with a backstage pass and a brief to cover the event. I don’t know how I convinced myself that both attending Fashion Week and covering the event on my own would be ok, as I certainly wouldn’t do it alone now! The trip was hard work, and was intimidating and quite lonely at times, but I was pretty fearless (and rather naive) back then. Thankfully everything went really well, and covering the show was my first official reporting/broadcast experience, which included interviewing celebrities like Henry Holland and Pixie Geldof. It was a terrifying experience, but I can honestly say that I LOVED every second, and from then on I knew what I wanted to do in life. I will always look back on that day as my “lightbulb” moment.
2012 / Reporting for Diet Coke: Having been fully bitten by the broadcasting bug, I was delighted to be asked to join Diet Cokes Irish reporting team shortly after returning from Fashion Week, and I reported at several different fashion events for the online channel. (see here, here and here) This stint with Diet Coke gave me some great presenting experience, but unfortunately the gigs were infrequent, and I was eager for more work.
2012 / Galway Arts Festival Internship: I joined up with the prestigious Galway Arts Festival’s GAFTV crew and spend a summer month and working on various projects with them. There was no on-camera presenting involved, but I was just as happy working behind the scenes as I was in front of the camera. I found a love for other integral aspects of broadcasting such as researching and production, which I still dabble in now. Read more about my experience with it here.
2013 / Fashion|One Internship: When I first moved to Dublin last May, I began interning with the international fashion channel, Fashion|One. You may have seen some of my internship posts here and here where I documented my some of my adventures working with the channel over the summer. I researched and covered various fashion-related events in Dublin city, as well as presenting the pieces to camera. I was writing the scripts and doing all the research for the videos, I even had a hand in the production too. Working with Fashion One was a fantastic experience, and really helped me find my feet in Dublin’s competitive fashion industry. Myself and my videographer produced about one video per week, which was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work, especially when you’re working another job to support yourself at the same time!
2008-2013 / Retail Work: While telling you about all my media-related work experience, I also want to explain that I have always worked to support myself. Throughout each and every project, (and I mean every internship and job listed above) I was also pulling in between 3 and 5 shifts a week in my local Galway bookshop, which I worked in for 5 years, and also one in Dublin after I moved. I have a wonderful family who would always do their best to support me if I needed it, but being independent is extremely important to me. Im not saying this to belittle anyone who doesn’t have to work, or gets financial support in any way, as I believe that each person is on their own journey (and I’m not here to judge). Moreover, what I am trying to explain is that It took a lot of dedication and hard work to keep all of these projects going, and still work enough hours every week to support myself. At times it was difficult, stressful, and quite exhausting, but I did it because I felt it would be worth it in the end, and it was. It gave me a strong work ethic and a thick skin, two things that are absolutely necessary to survive in this industry. I know there are many others out there who are in a similar working situation, and its so important for you to remember that in the end, it will always be worth the struggle and the sacrifice.
2013 – Present / Lead Stylist for iClothing.ie: As most of you know, I was offered the role of Lead Stylist for Irelands leading online clothing company, iClothing in september of last year, (read my post on it here) and to say it was a turning point in my career is an understatement! I left my job in Easons to work full-time in fashion, which has been such an adventure. My role in iClothing is very varied- it involves a lot of work, and can be quite stressful at times, but I love it so much. I work with an amazing team, and we all have so much fun together, even when we’re working our butts off and on deadlines. In my next Career Diaries post, I will begin to talk in more detail about the work I do in iClothing, and I will do my best to share my knowledge and experiences as an in-house Stylist with you all.
I’d also just like to finish by saying that I still look at myself as a work in progress, and I probably always will. I still have so much left to learn, and so much I want to achieve in my career – it’s important to always stay hungry! I hope you all enjoyed this (rather lengthily) post, and if you have any questions about any of the courses or internships I have mentioned above, (or if you jus want to share your experiences) please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can drop me a comment below, or email me via my contact form here, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.