Every year, thousands of attendees drool over the awe-inspiring pieces on the catwalks of Fashion Weeks around the world. From Milan to Paris, fashion wannabes are dying to etch their way into fashion designer jobs abroad. Some may forget, however, the other side to the fashion world: the business side. Want to experience the highs of the fashion world? A career comprised of international fashion jobs might be your key inside. If the world of fashion calls your name, but you want to approach the logistical side of this topsy turvy environment, take a look at fashion jobs abroad!
Why Work Abroad in Fashion
A growing number of people from around the world traverse cultural boundaries to join foreign work forces—and why not? The rewards speak for themselves. A steep learning curve, exchange of cultures, learning a new language, broader perspectives for your interests, interesting job options; fashion opportunities abroad are expanded simply by working in another culture.
You could work in social media, accounting, or even sales! Stepping out of your cultural “safety bubble” for work demonstrates your mobility, flexibility, and cultural savviness— a sexy add-on to any outfit. In today’s job market, employers hunt for these kinds of skills. Since fashion business is an ever-growing international industry, you’ll not only get a fierce job, but you’ll get some stellar travel in while you’re at it!
When you think about the fashion capitals of the world, New York, Paris, or Milan may come to mind. If you're looking into fashion jobs abroad, you’re looking for a different hybrid of skill sets and cities than for fashion alone. Lucky for you, fashionista, a plethora of cities have international fashion jobs of some kind. Here’s just a few great places for you to start your search for fashion opportunities abroad:
Madrid, already known for its fashion beauty, houses some of the best business schools in the world, which produce a wide job market for finding fashion design jobs in Spain. If that’s not enough to draw you to this Spanish city, try thinking of munching on tapas (tiny plates of heavenly Spanish creations) and sipping sangria in a plaza warmed by the afternoon sun. It’s not all work and no play for the Spaniards! If you’re more culturally inspired, check out museums and architecture.
China may seem like a broad suggestion, but pick any of the large-sized cities in the country, and you’ll find work before you can say “Hermes.” China is known for it’s forward, sometimes quirky fashion; fast-paced technological advances are what makes fashion jobs in China stay ahead of the curve. Beijing, Chengdu, and Dalian are popular picks. Chinese organizations are known to understand that having the cultural counterparts of their clients working alongside them enhances the effectiveness of their work. If you’re not sold on the Eastern world yet, some of the most ancient traditions in the world and fantastic food will grab your attention.
Last but not least, consider some English-speaking countries. Explore the lush countrysides of Ireland and take a gander at its diverse range of textiles. Walk along the networked streets of London, one of the leading fashion cities, and let famous designers inspire you, like Jimmy Choo and Vivienne Westwood. The bustling lively city of New York in the United States is the top choice for most fashion divas, since it is America’s capital for fashion and business. You can’t make a wrong choice when it comes to these opportunities for international fashion design jobs!
International Fashion Jobs
When it comes to variations, the differences you’ll see will be mostly in culture and in work environment. Whether it’s buying, selling, merchandising, marketing, news, or social media, if you’re business savvy, the fashion world just may require your expertise! Spain’s work environment may be more laid back and allow you to take a siesta break in the afternoon. London and China, on the other hand, will keep your caffeine buzz high and working like you mean it!
Most entry level fashion jobs abroad require a higher degree of specialization than an undergraduate degree (such as a graduate degree in fashion merchandising/sales and marketing, production management, visual presentation/styling, PR, etc.), which can be more directly applied to a niche business or organization. Salaries vary significantly around the world and depend not only on what specific type of work you find yourself in, but also your prior qualifications and experience in the field. The goal of seeking fashion jobs abroad should be to get your (good-lookin’) shoe in the door and beautify your resume for future jobs.
Your work week will vary depending on where you choose to land a job. European countries typically work 35 hours in a full-time position with lots of vacation days. On the other hand, the workforce in the USA can work 40 or more hours each week as a full-time employee. Since fashion is such an international business by nature, you will find that most people will be bilingual or speak several languages. However, do not count on this being the case. The language barrier can be a significant obstacle to finding international fashion jobs in many regions of the world. Major fashion employers do tend to value native English-speakers, but still, as within many other professional fields, it will greatly help your chances and you will appear much more professional and prepared if you at least know a little of the native tongue.
Benefits & Challenges
The benefits are clear: learn another culture, language, and build your resume while you create your dream professional career. If you’re used to a long work week, perhaps you can benefit from a shorter one in Europe and take advantage of your proximity to so many other nations. You’ll also be able to fuse another country’s style with your own! Draw inspiration from people on their way to the market and the catwalk.
Challenges will vary by country, but some to look out for are changes in work environment and etiquette. You may have a longer workweek, or your employers may expect you to finish the project until it’s perfect. Be aware of adjusting to work culture as well. Think about what the typical business customs are. How do business associates greet one another? How are business meetings conducted? As a foreigner, you’ll likely be excused for small mishaps, but do your research before starting work, and you’ll be just fine.
If you’re ready to tackle the world of fashion jobs abroad, now is the time to jump in and strut your stuff. Remember, you don’t have to be Coco Chanel to find fashion opportunities abroad. Jobs are available for every piece of the business model, so don’t be intimidated!