Fashion-able: How to network in the fashion industry

With LG Fashion Week coming up, we have fashion on the brain. And, more importantly, how breaking into the fashion industry can be tough. It’s competitive, and a zillion people would kill to get a foot in the door. 
One of the most effective ways to break through is by networking. Getting out, talking to people and just making friends – not necessarily because you are looking for an opportunity, but because making friends is the best way to have someone think of you when an opportunity does arise.

One of the best in the biz is Gail McInnes. She is a pro networker, and has had great success in the fashion industry as a result. She shared some of her tips with us – take notes! 
Visit her online
Twitter: @gailmcinnes

How to Effectively Network in the Fashion Industry
Just like dating, networking can be a nerve-wracking experience for those who might feel intimidated or overwhelmed. Remember, you have something to offer each and every person you meet. Most people in the industry are open to meeting you. We want to support and promote those with talent and passion for our industry. We want to suss out the next generation of talented agents, artists, photographers, models, etc. who we may end up hiring or working with in the years to come – and that might just include you.
The best way to meet people is to go to as many industry events as possible. Never turn down an invite if you can, you never know what chance encounters can alter your career path. Nothing is more effective in getting people to be around you than an infectious smile and, if you love what you’re doing, you will be smiling. A positive attitude is contagious. Carry business cards with you at all times. If you don’t have company cards – make your own. 
Just like your career, building a rapport with someone won’t happen overnight. The more you are seen, the more someone will remember you. If you meet someone for the second time, introduce yourself again, stating what you do, where you work and how you first met as a courtesy. If it feels awkward, it probably is – simply wish them a good evening and walk away. Next time, they may be the first to say hello.
Don’t feel you have to rush to build relationships with people in the industry and certainly don’t force it either. If you are naturally drawn to one another, then it will happen faster than most, but for the most part it will come like any good friendship – with mutual trust and respect.
 Juan Carlos Gaona, Danielle Meder, Anita Clarke and Gail McInnes: 
Fashion friends through networking
Photo: Angela Young Martin

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