How to network within the fashion industry from some of the Perth women in the know.
On Friday morning I attended a networking function as a part of the 2015 Urban Couture Program run by the City of Joondalup. The key speakers all came from different areas within the WA fashion industry and I got a lot out of hearing each of them speak.
It is all too often that I find myself evaluating another persons success, often pitting it against my own (a terrible habit) without of course knowing the full story of their journey. I find it fascinating to learn more about the journeys that people take, as they are never the same, no matter the outcome. There are however a few key things which are always prevalent in each story (generally speaking of course). Imagination, confidence to take risks, determination, and communication are as important as talent and often, even more so.
A few years ago I was working for a major arts festival where someone who I had only known as an emcee and ‘character’ about town had secured a spot performing. I honestly did not expect this person to have much talent in them, I highly doubted their singing and dancing abilities. As I sat through the first dress run, I was ready to roll my eyes and cringe through their number. It was then that I realised I had been a judgemental dick. The performance was INCREDIBLE!! For what this person had perhaps lacked in natural talent when it came to vocals they MORE than made up for in confidence, charm and determination. The dance moves were INSANE, I had no idea I would be that blown away. So my lesson was, (well, not to judge a book by its cover) that with confidence, drive and putting yourself out there, you can achieve huge things.
Back to the networking function, it was evident that each speaker valued the power of social media. Designer Jaime Lee Major talked about the day images of her first collection shown at Perth Fashion Festival were featured on New York Magazines The Cut during the middle of NY fashion week with splashes of vibrant colour. Catching the attention of NY fashion week attendees, it was evident that with imagination and social media, there was no reason she need show her designs overseas.
For myself I came to the party on Instagram late but only in the sense of understanding its power. I used it for years before understanding how I could make it work for me. Surrounded by people who made fun of it (and still do), I was often too embarrassed to be seen putting in any effort. Later I realised being afraid of what they thought was hella dumb and decided to do what I want. Cue learning how to make it work for me. I am still learning and for a blogger who has been ‘around’ for so many years I am behind the game in the numbers of followers etc, but I respect the possibilities now in a way that I should have allowed myself to sooner. Hindsight, right?
The most important things I came away with from this function were:
1. Be yourself, learn who that is, be brave
2. Share your ideas and stories, introduce yourself, give out your card and later follow through by contacting the people you speak with
3. Do not waste time worrying about what other people will think, and don’t judge a book by its cover
4. Create a goal and work towards it, take the ups with the downs and keep going. Practice patience. There are many ways to achieve your goals.
5. If you hear bells ringing when someone says something like ” I love the way you did this…. how did you do it??” and you think, ‘well, that is just something I did because I love it’ that thing may just be what you need to be doing.
6. It is never too late to start fresh and do something new. Start where you are, build your skills and do it with passion.
WEARING: BOHEMIAN TRADERS LACE TRIM BLOUSE, JEANSWEST JEANS, ASOS BAG, CLEARLY GLASSES, CHLOE BOOTS
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: ADELLE COUSINS