Education in Fashion Needs to Pivot in Order for Us to Be Successful Post-Pandemic (+ 25 Career Paths to Consider!)

I don’t know if you guys have realized this, but there are so many new and emerging careers that have blossomed in our industry, and I wholeheartedly believe it’s a direct result of the pandemic.

COVID has made our industry take a hard look at what we were pouring into people in regard to education – and more importantly what to learn and how to actually cultivate a career outside of retail. Retail is still a big part of our industry, but we are seeing more and more that traditional brick & mortar is going away, and we are quickly approaching an all-digital era, even when it comes to shopping, styling, and the overall presence of fashion, retail, and apparel.

As a fashion school grad, I went in with intentions of expanding my retail career (my degree is in Fashion Merchandising/Retail Management) and a bulk of what we were taught was just that. However, after getting my first job at a manufacturing company, I realized product development was for me and soon got promoted 2 years after. From there, I’ve expanded my skillset in styling, influencING, fashion branding, fashion public relations, and more – and while I don’t regret my journey of undergrad, none of these expertise or career paths were things I spent my student loan money on. Essentially – I’m not actually using my fashion degree. 80% of what I’ve learned in school does not apply to my career now and what I know now, and what I feel is my zone of genius, are things I created opportunities for myself.

I’m seeing more and more that our industry is either tapping into careers that didn’t exist, or putting more emphasis on careers that were insignificant in prior years – and in all honestly, this should have been done years ago. Everyone is not meant to be a designer or a boutique owner, or even have the luxury of traveling to NY or LA to intern and get their foot in the door. What we need are realistic job paths that make sense for our ever-changing industry, especially with us being the hardest hit industry of the pandemic – and that starts with the proper education. Proper education, post-pandemic, means really looking at our economy in correlation with our job market and needs, and see what careers do we need training in – or more importantly what career paths have we neglected because we were too busy in promoting jobs that are now almost obsolete.

There are so many careers you can get into within fashion, more than the 25+ I’ve listed here, but this is a great start, especially for someone who is trying to choose a major, trying to find their first real job, or someone looking to make a career change!:

1. Product Developer (my expertise)

2. Trend Forecaster

3. Fashion Buyer

4. CAD Designer

5. Creative Director (this too)

6. Technical Designer

7. Retail Management

8. Fabric Researcher

9. Merchandise Planner

10. Fashion Psychologist (getting my bachelors in Psych so I can eventually be this)

11. Fashion Writer/Journalist

12. Fashion Publicist (and this one)

13. Authenticity/Resale Expert

14. Print Designer

15. Operations Director

16. Fashion Designer

17. Influencer Marketing Manager (some experience)

18. Sustainability & Social Responsibility Manager

19. Customer Service/Community Manager

20. Data Analysist

21. Digital Stylist (my current job)

22. Visual Merchandiser

23. Virtual Showroom Designer

24. Salesperson

25. Corporate Responsibility Expert

26. Fashion Illustrator

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