Hey Bellas!
Happy Monday!
So yesterday I was delighted to attend my buddy Malcolm’s Forum on Breaking into Fashion.
Around 5pm, I made my way over to Runway at 4 East 28th street, and took a seat amongst the crowd…


…the room was filled with aspiring and established models, designers, bloggers, and writers of color.
After Malcolm introduced the panel (and everyone introduced themselves), we got down to advice hour. Want to know how to break in?
The following tips:

For Models/Actors: Be prepared to specifically talk about who you are and what you want to do. Be able to sell yourself in 30,60, 90, or 120 seconds. Practice! For models, have your portfolio ready–your portfolio should have 5 good pictures and 10 wonderful pictures. Also always have it on you: you’ll never know who you could run into! Ms. Jay and Malcolm stressed that portfolio pictures must be professional–no back shots from the club or pictures from your sister’s wedding! Also, models, Ms. Jay stressed to show up to castings with clean hair, clean makeup, a nice wax, and nails and toes done. Got it?

For writers: Intern, intern, intern at magazines you love. If you can’t work for free, find ones that pay (I know of a few, e-mail me if you want details). Also network your booty off (this goes for everyone), because most times it’s not what you know, but who you know.

For Designers: To get your line going, don’t wait for a golden egg: get your products out there! Malcolm started his line with $500! Make what you can, then go online and sell them on myspace; make your friends cart them around; create a buzz and get blogs to write about it. E-mail me!

Great advice, no?
After the forum, I went around to meet and greet:
These two Fashion Bombers readers, Ashley and Alanna…
…are currently in school for Journalism and Fashion Marketing respectively. They came to network, network, network.
Lakisha and Fatiya…

…are aspiring models, and came for advice on portfolios and presentation.
…is also a model and muse to Malcolm. Check her out in Malcolm’s Spring/Summer Collection video on his blog www.cutsewandblog.com.
…is an aspiring stylist (and Fashion Bomb Reader)!
Jewrel (left) and Marco Hall…
…are just fabulous, no? Love the colors and decolletage! Anyway Marco (www.myspace.com/marcofh) designs all of Andre J’s clothes, and Jewrel is a Makeup Artist.
This aspiring designer, Nia, calls herself Suppamodel….
…She works for Blackplanet.com (and is apparently featured on the homepage). She’s also in the works to create a line called Suppamodel for women sizes 14-34. Check her out on blackplanet.com…I’ll keep an eye out!
Last but not least, I ran into Yannize and Lauren…
….bloggers from the hot blog Style Ammo! Always great to meet fellow bloggers in person.
I, of course, had to take pictures with a few of the Fashion glitterati:
I caught Andre J in all his fabulousness…
….I loved his coat, turban, and infectious energy! One thing he said that stuck with me, “Live your life. It’s yours, noone elses.”
Also, had to take a picture with Ms. Jay….
….who had so much to say about the industry. I learned that he lived in Paris for 20 years, and Japan for 3. He also speaks four languages outside of English. He’s a fashion veteran…I’d love to pick his brain one day. He’s a super smart dude, and I was honestly in awe.
Ran into Memsor Kamarake, Fashion Director at Vibe…
…who promised to read the blog today! Turns out he started off as a fashion assistant at Vibe and just worked his way up! That’s the way to do it.
And of course couldn’t leave without saying goodbye to buddy Malcolm…
…who put it all together!
It was a great event, and won’t be the last. To sign up for updates, visit the forum’s myspace page: www.myspace.com/breakingintofashion. Post ideas, ask for advice, and stay apprised of upcoming panels. Also, of course, continue to read the Fashion Bomb…I’ll keep you posted.

A group shop of the illustrious panel members. From left: Malcolm Harris, Memsor Kamarake, Tia Williams, Tyson, model Jaizen. In back: Andre J. Image care of Tia’s Blog Shake your Beauty
*The event’s proceeds went to the organization Save Darfur. If you don’t know what’s going on over there, google Darfur and give/do all you can to alleviate the situation over there. Also, I read a great book that delivers the story in a gripping, searing way….
….What is the What by Dave Eggers. It’s a must read…and now it’s in paperback, so there’s no excuse! Get it for $11 at www.amazon.com. It tells the story of refugee Valentino Achak Deng; how he lost his family, joined thousands of other orphaned children in refugee camps, and moved to America. Great reading!
*RIP Donda West

Story and image via Style Ammo

11 thoughts on “How to Break into Fashion Forum: Advice for Models, Journalists, and Designers Looking to Get Started in the Apparel Industry”

  1. It was a great panel indeed! I can’t wait for the next one…and Claire thanks for getting my good side boo!


  2. this was an interesting post. off topic but is Ms. Jay Ugandan? He looks so East African.

    I love how the US seems to have more enterprising forums like this for people of colour. I haven’t heard of anything of this magnitude in Britain, where I live.

  3. Claire,

    Just had to stop by and show you my respect… You are too amazing for words…

    Thank you for using this amazing tool a.k.a. THE FASHION BOMB to continue to inspire people to live and dream…

    I can’t wait until we host our panel discussion on “bloggers”… It will truly be amazing…

    Once again, thank you my dear Claire…


  4. hey claire,

    thanks so much for posting us on your uber-fab website ;-) it was a pleasure meeting you and hopefully we’ll meet up again soon!

  5. Great post Claire. LOVE IT!!!! I am so upset that I couldn’t attend this forum *sniffles*, but I hope to attend the next one though cuz it sounds like you all had a great time. Also, could you please email me some information about interning at magazines? I have a few ideas, but I’d love to pick your brain too. :) Talk to you soon!

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