Hi Eva, I just recently graduated from college and am looking for a job in the fashion industry and want to move to New York. I currently live in Arizona and the whole process of trying to simultaneously find a job and an apartment in New York is a little overwhelming. I'm torn between staying in Arizona and applying for jobs here or just taking a chance and going to New York even if I don't have a job. Do you have any advice on what I should do or can help me figure out which makes more sense?
Well, to be totally frank, there’s no right answer to your question. Here’s my (probably more confusing than anything else) attempt to work through some logistics for you, though…
- Finances: New York is ridiculously expensive. Whenever I watch reruns of Friends, Sex and the City, or basically any NYC TV show, I have a hearty chuckle. It is nearly impossible to live the lifestyles depicted on the shows on the shoestring budgets and salaries of entry-level fashion/anything. Prioritize spending now, while you’re in Arizona, to start saving some money before moving to NYC (do you really need that fifth black top from H&M? No.). And once you move here, get a part-time job if at all possible.
- Housing: Talk to your parents, your parents’ friends, your friends’ parents, your alumni office, etc. Find someone to live with (ideally rent-free, if through family) for at least a few weeks before you strike off on your own. And bear in mind you’ll likely have a roommate for the first few years of living in NYC, so you’ll want to take your time to find someone that’s a good fit. And be wary of creeps on Craigslist. Just saying.
- Connections: Those same people you spoke to about housing? Ask them who they might know in NYC who can give you a hand getting that first job or internship or anything in NYC. It definitely helps to have an “in.”
All in all, I would say if you want to work in fashion—yes, you should move either to NYC or LA. However, you can’t and shouldn’t do it blindly or the city will gobble you (and your bank account) up. Plan for the future, prepare a roadmap for your success, and don’t let anything derail you.