Networking Pandemic

How to Network & Stay Informed of Fashion Industry News During the Pandemic

Back in March, no one imagined the world would turn into the craziness we are living through today. However, even in the face of a pandemic, it’s important to continue networking and staying updated on fashion industry news.

Working from home has given many companies the inspiration to think outside the box in order to appeal to the masses from a different angle. Whether through virtual summits, fashion presentations, conferences or behind-the-scenes content, the resources are endless and the content is pure gold. 

There are many ways to stay updated with the industry as well as take advantage of digital resources that are currently being offered from all across the world. The best part? All of these are FREE.

Not sure where to look? We got you covered…

Watch Informative Webinars & Conferences

From the start of the pandemic, brands have been broadcasting roundtable series and fashion industry conferences that have been full of interesting panelists and introspective topics. We recommend using them as a resource to learn about important subjects such as sustainability, the future of fashion and diversification. The best part is that the recordings of these conferences live online, so even if you didn’t catch the live version, you can still watch and get the information anytime. 

This was first on our list because the fashion industry is changing (it has been for some time) and it will be interesting to see what comes next. There are many social and economic issues that affect the profitability of the industry and we get to witness firsthand through conferences like these, just what fashion leaders think and from that, what next steps will be taken. 

Some of our favorites have been: Fashinnovation Worldwide Talks and Vogue Global Conversations series. 

Additionally, sites like EventBrite are the perfect place to look for free upcoming fashion industry events. The next one is The Future of Retail

Linkedin: The Best Professional Networking Platform

There are a few different ways you can use this incredible platform as a resource. Within the site, you will find thoughtful posts made by fashion industry leaders on a myriad of topics, learning opportunities from various sources within the website itself and many job openings.

Linkedin is also one of the best places to network. In other apps, the idea of messaging someone you’ve never met is not always looked upon as something acceptable, while on Linkedin, it is possible to message someone asking them for an informational call or interview
the virtual equivalent of going out for a coffee talk and not seem like a creep. However, please keep in mind that this is within reason, of course! Don’t continue to write or insist if you don’t hear back from them or if you don’t get the answer you were hoping for. The bottom line is that the networking possibilities don’t have to stop just because you can’t meet in person! 

Knowing how to network and reaching out to fashion industry professionals during the pandemic will give you a step up to many other people that have opted for Netflix binging during this time instead of working on their career. We are in the process of creating a guide that outlines the steps to take when learning how to network, especially now, during these crazy times. In our opinion, this is honestly the best time to do it. People are working from home, which may make things easier when trying to schedule some time to speak and ask questions.

Behind-the-Scenes Content

Love Instagram? You’re not alone. With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram has taken over our lives. Whether with posts, IG stories and now Reels, it is definitely one of the most entertaining apps out there. It can also be one of the most resourceful. Instagram is a great place to find fashion industry news, updates and unique behind-the-scenes content. Due to its size and popularity, you will most likely also see comments and responses from fashion professionals.

Make sure to follow accounts that provide updates on the industry and not just celebrity gossip (though, you can follow those too!) as this is where you will get relevant information that will help your career. With so many changes in the way we do things due to the pandemic and important social issues, keeping yourself updated on what fashion houses are doing and relevant campaigns that are being planned is crucial.

When speaking to an interviewer or even during an informational call with someone in the fashion industry, you will impress them if you bring up current events. Additionally, it gives you an advantage over those who don’t AND it gives you an additional topic to discuss instead of just asking/answering question after question or pausing for an awkward silence. 

Some of our favorite channels to follow for their insightful fashion industry content are: @BoF (Business of Fashion), @VogueBusiness, @DietPrada and @WWD.

Take Advantage of FREE Digital Courses

One of the greatest things to have come out of this pandemic is the wide array of free digital courses being offered across the board. Many universities, including Ivy League schools like Yale, Harvard and Princeton, have been offering interesting courses since early April. What began as a national offering turned international when schools in Paris, Amsterdam and London began opening their [virtual] doors to people around the world.

A quick Google search will get you information about fashion industry courses, but some of our favorite resources are Skillshare, Coursera and Future Learn, a site that rounds up international courses and conveniently puts them into categories, making it so easy for us to search through. Their fashion section has a nice variety of international courses ranging from London to Paris to select from. 

Take advantage of these courses as we have a feeling they won’t be offered (or free) forever. With all this extra time at home, read up on subjects and learn about course material that you wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. It’s a win-win! 

Additionally, there have been some really cool fashion courses created on MasterClass that absolutely need to be mentioned here. Although they are not free, you get an incredible range of classes offered through the membership program at only $15 per month. 

Our fashion industry favorites include:

»  ANNA WINTOUR TEACHES CREATIVITY & LEADERSHIP
»  MARC JACOBS TEACHES FASHION DESIGN
»  DIANE VON FURSTENBERG TEACHES BUILDING A FASHION BRAND
»  LAURA KING & FERNANDO GARCIA TEACH CREATIVE COLLABORATION & FASHION
»  TAN FRANCE TEACHES STYLE FOR EVERYONE

Virtual Shows & Industry Events

The pandemic has not stopped the fashion industry from putting on their usual events, this time with a creative virtual twist. It has been so interesting to watch brands and designers create unique campaigns and events centered around the idea of virtual viewership. 

Back in April we saw Zoomtopia, a private charity event and the first-ever virtual gala hosted by Zoom for the World Health Organization. Shortly after, Vogue followed suit with their notorious Met Gala. The virtual version included an interesting history of the Costume Institute, a message from Ms. Wintour herself and featured a live DJ.

Across the world, events have been canceled or most recently, have been put on for an empty audience. Even so, this has not stopped designers from creating showstopping presentations and ingenious campaigns. We absolutely loved the creativity behind Hanifa’s virtual fashion show with 3D models – the first ever of its kind. Maison Valentino took the prize for most breathtaking event with his ethereal gowns featured in a Cirque du Soleil-type of show. The best part? You were able to see SO much behind the scenes footage as both shows were creatively rolled out with heavy IG Stories exposure.

From the Founder

For the person who is serious about pursuing his/her career in the fashion industry, there is always a way to continue growing. Whether that be your networking group of industry leaders, your experience or your knowledge – the best students and professionals are always the most resourceful. Take note from these huge brands, designers and fashion houses – this pandemic did not stop them, but instead allowed them to reach a different demographic by offering an inside perspective into a world that is mostly known for being exclusive and private. The most successful brands are those that learn to adapt with the times.

Unfortunately, the current times are not the easiest, but through adversity there is strength. Take time in your day, in your week and in your month, to learn something new. Challenge yourself to take some courses, to reach out and grow your industry connections and to continue to learn.

The resources are there. Now it’s up to YOU to make it happen.

Let me know in the comments below how you’re coping with the pandemic madness and what you’re doing to stay informed of fashion industry news!

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