What’s Your Major? Moving Confidently into the Fashion Industry
People Will Never Stop Wearing Clothes, this is a Multi-Million $ Industry.
By Rachel Bergan, University of South Carolina
“Harvard Law School?”
“Oh, I have a 4.0!”
“Yes, but your major is fashion merchandising. Harvard won’t be impressed that you aced history of polka dots. What are your backups?”
“I don’t need backups. I’m going to Harvard.”
(Elle Woods, Legally Blonde)
Ever since I was a little girl, I had a love for fashion. I would dress myself in the prettiest of tutus and hobble around the house in my mother’s — much too big for me — high heels; this was around age 5. By middle school, I had become a fashion risk-taker. Whether this meant being the first in my class to try a new hairstyle or accessorizing my Hollister and Abercrombie wardrobe (please, don’t judge me!) with playful scarves and statement accessories, I was determined to be a fashion innovator amongst my peers. When it came time to apply for college, studying fashion was the only thing that seemed appropriate. After all, a wise man named Confucius supposedly stated, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Over the years, however, I have come to find that there are sometimes negative connotations associated with studying fashion. “You only have a 3.7 because your fashion classes are easier than my business classes;” “What was your exam on today? The color pink?” and “I love fashion but would never make it my major…you don’t need a brain to work in retail,” are just several of the comments that I have received regarding my major.
What many people do not consider is that fashion represents a multi-billion dollar industry, and is a foundation of our nation’s economy. It is filled with some of the most innovative, hard-working, intelligent, and creative individuals with an incredible range of skill sets. Anna Wintour, Kelly Cutrone, Oscar de la Renta, Karl Lagerfeld…I would suggest that these individuals — all in the fashion industry — are wildly successful, would you not? By necessity, fashion will always be a part of everyone’s life if for no other reason than that people need to clothe themselves. People will never stop wearing clothes. People will never stop buying clothes. People will never stop reading or writing about trends — colors, fabrics, silhouettes, styles. Whether in the form of a magazine, website, showroom, runway, boutique, or PR firm, the fashion industry will always be in existence.
One thing (of many) that I love about my major is the opportunity to gain experience in so many different fields. In my four years of college, I have had the opportunity to take classes in buying, trend forecasting, visual merchandising, product analysis, computer aided design, and human resource management, and have held internships in PR, social media, marketing, and journalism — that totals ten different career opportunities, all a byproduct of studying fashion. I have a wide range of experiences under my belt, and am confident that I will successfully break into the fast-paced, ever-changing, competitive fashion industry — just as confident as Elle Woods was when she stated that she would attend (and succeed at) Harvard.
Had I listened to my peers when they questioned my intelligence in choosing to major in fashion, who knows where I would be today? However, because I followed my heart (and my talents), I had an amazing and well-rounded college experience, I am confident in my career path, and I have gained skills beyond classroom learning that will prepare me for a career within the fashion industry: determination, ambition, and drive. Remember, if you choose a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.