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Tyrone Lebon for British Vogue

Fashion communication is the way a brand shares its message with the world – whether that’s through marketing and PR or how products are described and showcased anywhere from in bricks-and-mortar stores to on social media. How successfully a brand communicates can influence whether it succeeds or fails – much of the way we feel about our favourite labels is to do with the way they have been marketed (the visuals, the advertising message, even their choice of colour and font). Fashion communication grapples with all of these considerations.

Needless to say, to work in this area, you have to be a strong communicator with the ability and willingness to translate abstract ideas into words and imagery. Creativity is also a must – fresh, innovative ideas are essential to help brands stand out in a crowded marketplace – as is commercial awareness. Social media skills are highly valued, and experience with content management systems (CMS) is a plus, as updating a brand’s website, blog or other platforms is a common task you might need to perform. Here are our tips on starting your fashion communication career.

What to do

Though a degree is not essential, a relevant BA and/or MA in marketing or a related discipline will prepare you well for a career in fashion communication. Our respected BA (Hons) Fashion Communication provides a detailed introduction to areas including marketing, branding and graphic design, standing students in good stead for when they graduate.

For those who are undecided as to whether fashion communication is right for them, the Vogue Foundation Programme, Vogue Certificate or Vogue Summer Intensive Course would be excellent places to start.

Those without a related BA or MA shouldn’t be disheartened. Due to the broad scope of fashion communication, there are roles for people from all different educational backgrounds. Do you have a maths degree but also write a fashion blog? Or perhaps you have degree in business but also a portfolio of fashion-related projects you’ve worked on. As long as you can prove a genuine love of fashion, you’re in a good position.

For those looking to transition from an unrelated discipline, the 10-week intensive Vogue Fashion Certificate, which focuses on fashion media, marketing, and visual communication for fashion, enables students to build a strong portfolio of relevant work.

Appropriate experience is vital. Be as proactive as possible and reach out to anyone who might be able to connect you to opportunities. Don’t be afraid to think laterally – anything that gives you exposure to the day-to-day workings of the industry is relevant, whether it’s organising events and openings in a clothes shop, supporting new designers at fashion weeks or doing short-term paid internships. Start small and see your career as a ladder, where every role will take you a step closer to your goal. As experience is so essential, placements and hands-on projects rooted in the real world are a core part of the Condé Nast College's syllabus. The BA (Hons) Fashion Communication includes a four-week industry placement, and students are also supported in securing a placement as part of the MA Fashion Communication.

Understanding what kind of communicator you are can help you identify which roles might be right for you. It can also help you talk about yourself less generally when you receive that oh-so-common interview question, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Personality tests are perfectly respectable, and are used in a variety of industries. They can help you understand yourself and your individual skill set from a more interesting perspective.

Many are free to access online, and can shine light on anything from how you relate to others to the working situations in which you might thrive. Knowledge is power…

It might sound obvious, but a huge part of fashion communication involves interacting with others in a positive and professional way. Think very carefully about each and every interaction you have during your job search. From the tone of your emails to how you phrase your covering letters, are you presenting your communication skills in the best possible light?

Being polite, kind and grateful gets you a long way, and makes people more likely to help you out – you never know which person you speak to might end up recommending you for a role.