6 Tips on Finding Success in the Fashion Industry

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For many, working in the fashion world is a dream come true. But Carolina Dalfó knows firsthand that breaking into the industry isn't without its challenges. Originally from Argentina, based in New York, Dalfó is the owner and designer of DALFO, an original line of silk scarves. Dalfó is also the founder and chair of LATA, the Latinx Alumni Together in the Arts Association at the School of Visual Arts.

We asked Dalfó for some tips on how people can carve a space for themselves in the fashion world. Here's what she had to say.

1. Use Your Voice to Create Change

“As designers, our creations have the ultimate goal of enhancing the human experience,” Dalfó tells CircleAround. “Especially during hard times like the pandemic and all the economic and social damage, which we will have to deal with, it is important to use our voices to create change.”

“The pandemic highlighted our individual responsibility to push for collective safety, justice, and growth,” she continues. “From standing by size inclusivity to sourcing sustainable materials and implementing safe practices, design gives us the chance to make the world a better place. We should wholeheartedly jump into that opportunity and leave the world in a better shape we found it.”

2. Use Technology to Network

“While it is true that networking in person feels more honest and the created connections more real, the reality is that technology made it easier for everyone to contact anyone," says Dalfó. "That possibility, plus the pandemic working as a catalyst for people to spend more time on their devices, pushed many of our relationships to the online realm — and networking is no exception.”

“Don’t be afraid to send someone you look up to or want to work with a message on your preferred platform,” she suggests. “The worst that could happen is you don’t get a response, but in my experience, most people are nice and reply back.”

3. Work Hard

“The glamour that is often portrayed as the main characteristic of the fashion industry is not quite the reality of the day to day job," says Dalfó. "There are many people who want to be a part of it, with great ideas and skills, making the industry highly a competitive game. For the glamour to happen, there have to be real people putting in real time and effort to create it, which leads me to my next point.”

4. Make People Remember You

“When working in any creative field, you want to differentiate yourself from the rest. The logic being that, if everyone in the industry thought, processed ideas, and approached design problems the same, the industry would be so homogenous it would be static and never changing. Whether it is how you conduct your research, how you sketch, or how you translate trends into actual garments, I’d recommend finding your own ways of working and perfecting them so they are delicately tailored to you.”

“Once you know your ways of working inside out, you will be able to attend to a multiplicity of projects simultaneously without losing the quality of your work,” she adds. “Fashion is extremely fast-paced and a designer can be working on several products from several different seasons at the same time, so creating a system that works for you is of the essence.”

5. Always Try to Learn Something New

“Our interactions weren’t the only thing the pandemic moved online," notes Dalfó. "Many of our daily activities were also carried to this universe. Pre-pandemic, I personally enjoyed attending lectures and panels. Designers have the freedom of taking inspiration from anywhere, which is why I would sign up for any event that piqued my curiosity, not exclusively fashion related.”

“These days, I enjoy these experiences virtually from home. The goal is to learn to create your own opinions and develop your own taste and stand by them when challenged.”

6. Be Nice

This one is short and sweet. “You want to be a great designer," she says, "but you also want to be known as a nice person to be around and work with. No one wants to do good work for someone with a God complex.”

Tags: Tips from Women Executives, Start Up, Creativity

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

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