career: Fashion

What's it all about

The fashion world is extremely broad and within the industry there are many different job roles you could do without a degree. If you’re a budding photographer, a writer, a designer or a critic, there’s something in the fashion world for you. Although you can get a relevant degree before entering the world of work, there’s many opportunities for school leavers like you to get a foot in the door.

A job in fashion could mean anything from being a stylist, working in a magazine or blogging about the latest trends to designing, making and selling clothes. Whatever you do, if you want to work in fashion you have to have a keen interest in the latest trends in shoes, hats, clothes and accessories. Keeping track of evolving fashion sense is key no matter what role you end up in.

What could I be doing? 

What could I be doing?

  • Photographer
  • Critic
  • Designer
  • Stylist
  • Personal shopper
  • Retail worker
  • Blogger
  • Editor

Routes in

Fashion is an extremely competitive industry, and those who stand out will be the ones to get their foot in the door first and start making their way up the career ladder. Think about how many people study fashion or a related subject at university – all of their CVs are probably going to look quite similar. It’s up to you to fill your CV with experience and evidence of your capabilities so that you catch your employer’s eye.

Probably the most famous alternative to uni in the fashion industry is an internship. In fashion magazines and designer stores, an internship is a way to get extended work experience and build up your list of contacts. If you impress, there might even be a job for you at the end of it. Even if not, your CV will be full of important work experience and skills you’ve learnt along the way.

Although most jobs in fashion start out as entry level positions, it won’t take you long to work your way up as you collect more skills and contacts on your way. While those who did a degree will be starting at an entry level job, you’ll be a few years ahead of them!

What skills will I need 

What skills will I need

  • Interest in pop culture
  • Sense of style
  • Vision of colour and shape
  • Photography skills
  • Creativity
  • Team work
  • Presenting

Been there, done that

We spoke to Claudia, 20, Harrods school leaver:

Hey Claudia, can you tell us why you applied for the Harrods School Leaver Programme?

I wanted to do something where I was able to work and earn money as well as learn new skills and be able to build a career.  I wanted to jump straight into working instead of further education

How do you feel the School Leaver Programme has benefited your career?

 I’ve been able to develop life skills that I personally think I wouldn’t have learned at university. The School Leavers Programme has allowed me the opportunity to network across the wider business, meeting both seasoned Harrodians and industry experts, who otherwise I would not have had the pleasure of meeting.

What has been the highlight of your Harrods career so far?

After completing the programme, I started working in our Bed & Bath department, after a year I moved to Childrenswear. Recently I was promoted to Assistant Manager, the job role I have been aiming for since I started the business. You have to grab every opportunity with both hands!

What advice would you give to students looking to apply to the programme?

It’s important to keep an open mind and have an adaptable approach when working on the shop floor. Gaining exposure to different areas of the business truly shapes the overall Harrods experience.

Meet the Harrods School Leavers: Jason, 19 

Meet the Harrods School Leavers: Jason, 19

Hey Jason, can you tell us more about your experience so far?

From the moment I started at Harrods, my approach has been don’t be afraid to ask questions or get things wrong! I want to get involved in all aspects of the business and fully embrace new challenges. I have experienced a positive and supportive network in Harrods, from the Learning and Development department, my managers and team; I’m excited for what may lay ahead of me.

You’re working in our Sports Department, what skills have you developed since joining the team?

Being in sports is great! I have developed my ability to sell a range of products confidently, which is a skill I am always improving on. My approach to customers and the ability to deal with difficult situations is one of the biggest areas I have developed since joining the programme, with the support of my managers and wider team.

What are you most excited about?

For me, the most exciting aspect has to be the potential opportunities the programme offers me. I have another 2 placements to undertake, over the next year. I’m looking forward to working in different areas of the business and thinking about my next steps as a Sales Associate and beyond.

Expert opinion

Fashion Enter is committed to supporting the fashion industry by being a centre of excellence for skills development and a resource for fast track production for leading retailers, etailers, designers and start up own label businesses where garments are made to the highest possible quality standards for client’s orders ranging from a quantity of 1 – 7500 a week at its North London based Factory.

To facilitate this aim Fashion Enter launched the UK’s first Fashion Technology Academy operating alongside the Factory and includes a range of qualifications at Levels 1 to 4, which cover the entire of the ‘Garment life cycle’ including Stitching, Production and Pattern Cutting. Fashion Enter are also one of the largest training providers of Apprenticeships at levels 3 and 4 within Apparel Manufacturing (fashion) working with employers such as ASOS.com, Marks & Spencer, River Island and New Look.


The Fashion Apprenticeship gives learners the opportunity to work for a real employer, earn a real salary whilst gaining valuable workplace skills, experience and ultimately a real qualification. Anyone living in England, over 16 years old and not in full-time education can apply to be an apprentice in the Fashion Industry.

Fashion Enter, sister company to FashionCapital.co.uk, is England’s leading provider for the Fashion and Textiles Apprenticeship programme offering Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 qualifications.

Fashion Enter works closely with a wide range of employers in the Fashion Industry including ASOS, M&S, New Look, Dewhirst, Hobbs, The Albion Knitting Company and N16 Vintage Ltd. During the programme the apprentice will typically work at least 30 hours per week with their employer. After qualifying, the majority of apprentices (85%) will stay in employment, with two-thirds (64%) staying with the same employer.


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