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.
Hi Eva, I recently received a place on a BA Fashion Design course at a great university in London, but didn't receive an offer at the most well known uni for fashion (CSM). How important is the name of the university on the CV when you start applying for jobs? Thank you xx
I won’t be disingenuous and say that “Oh, no one cares where you went to college, it doesn’t matter one bit.” Yes, people who go to Ivy League colleges in the US (the equivalent, I suppose, of Oxbridge in the UK) have a minor edge in that they have that glossy name on their CV’s. But, honestly, what it comes down to at the end of the day is your work ethic, attitude, street smarts, and personality. I’ve had interns from the best colleges in the world—who haven’t had the aforementioned qualities—and have had interns who’ve gone to community colleges who have. Quality, passion, and drive will always win. (And superior organizational skills). My advice to you is to network as much as you can—talk to your school’s alumni office and see who they can connect you to—and begin interning as soon as you feel ready to. You will have the incredible advantage of going to school in one of the major fashion cities in the world. Supplement the education you receive at your university with all that the city has to offer. Good luck!