It may seem the fashion industry is extremely London-centric but there is hope for the eager graduate to find jobs within the industry without venturing south, hence why we thought it useful to round up the best careers which you can get into minus the extortionate rent and long commutes (within reason).
The Marketing playing field in Manchester is growing by the month at present with no signs of slowing. Jobs relating to fashion can tier within Social Media, Digital Marketing, Traditional PR, SEO, Paid Search or a combination of all involved.
What Marketing actually means within the industry is getting exposure across as many channels as relevant and necessary to grow your brands reach and as result sales. The digital spectrum has changed the scope of marketing, meaning having an understanding of digital no matter what your career aim is vital to succeeding.
As time progressing brands and agencies expect a level of understanding from employees, jobs which didn’t exist 5 years ago suddenly have university courses dedicated to them, making it crucial for current graduates to get ahead of the game and do their homework to stand out amongst fellow applicants.
So how do you get into Marketing or subsequent roles? Interning in summers or sandwich years at University are always beneficial, experience is usually desired above grades alone so be sure to get your CV in shape in advance.
Content goes hand-in-hand with Marketing and again is largely influenced by the changing ways in which we digest fashion. Whilst the past fashionista’s bread and butter was a well-placed role within a print Magazine, this is no longer the case as print media dwindles and online rages stronger in enticing an audience.
There is certainly still room for print, but the platform now needs to incorperate a digital scope, including ways to drive readers to continue absorbing your brand online from print and vice-versa. Content in today’s market includes computer based editing skills, creating graphics, designing landing and home pages and copywriting, on a new level.
Today’s copywriter’s and journalists must be savvy to organic reach and search optimisation. Managing to include keywords in a natural way without compromising artistic integrity adds another hurdle to jump in the creative process but if you can adapt you can certainly flourish.
Content roles offer good variation to adapt your skills be it visually, written or technical and Manchester is growing with it’s offer available. Salaries can be low to begin with but once you have a year or two under your belt you can begin to choose an in-house or agency role which fits you best and get onto a more comfortable salary (always appreciated).
With a range of fast fashion businesses popping up left, right and centre it’s only expected that Designer roles are becoming readily available as a result. From global turned brands like Boohoo and Missguided to lesser know start-ups there are a few channels to get your foot in the door.
Naturally a relevant degree will help you in your journey, as will a decent portfolio of work, gained via Uni or on outside projects. The key to obtaining a position is to understand your personal aesthetic and find a way to tie that into your desired brand.
Working collaboratively may be difficult for some to adjust, if your usual operation is fully solo, so learning to filter your ideas will certainly help you hone skills. Being able to add in other influences and stick to a unified brand style will be key to your future progression. Once established you can steer the direction of your employer more as you move up the ranks, perhaps eventually branching off alone to start your own line.
You have to have been hiding under a rock for the past 5 years if you haven’t seen the stratospheric growth of the power of blogging. Just look at big players such as Zoella or Tanya Burr and witness the influence they harness as a fully fledged career. That is not to say every single blogger out there will amass 10 million followers it just shows how high the bar is set and the ceiling being lifted on blogger potential.
Within Manchester Blogging has a much smaller community than the likes of London but all the same is not to be dismissed as a place to be ignored. The community is thriving at the moment, with constant stream of local events, brand collaborations and regional bloggers being used for their regional advantages over generic UK bloggers.
Micro-Influencers are on the rise, with brands seeing the potential of using a few bloggers with thousands of followers over one big blogger with millions. Getting started won’t be easy though as the market is already heavily saturated so you’ll need an angle or difference to stand out.
The best advice is to stick to what you know, don’t create beauty reviews if you are a novice, focus on being an expert in one area rather than a jack of all trades. Additionally bring yourself up to speed with algorithm impacts of Google search results and social media. They will be your biggest hurdle for reaching your audience.
Every fashion company will need a strong buying team to succeed. Someone with a keen eye for detail and good sense for forecasting trends is sure to go far in a buying position. Travel is essential to the buyers working month so be sure you don’t mind spending the occasional night away or venturing by train or plane to view the latest collections of a brand.
To get into this University courses can be most accommodating, with specialised buying degrees ensured to help get your foot in the door. If you haven’t done a related course, it’s not the end as experience can be equally valuable to secure a permanent position.
Volunteer to shadow a buyer at a local company or apply for internships if you desire the opportunity but don’t yet have the skills. Once you gain momentum, roles will be easy to find, the more so as your career progresses.
Pay can be quite low for entry level positions within Manchester, with many Assistant jobs offering a basic of minimum wage, but persistence can pay off in the long run. Buying is a long play as opposed to quick win and the more you learn the more you can thrive.
Another role which requires a level of taste and understanding of trends is Merchandising. Whether from a digital perspective or in-store, Merchandisers need to know how to put an outfit together and most importantly what looks will sell.
The in-store version will require manic hours, often working through the night to get a window display and shop floor ready for the morning ahead. Being able to think on your feet and adapt to solve issues quickly will offer strong traits for succeeding, as will an up-to-date bank of news on the fashion industry. Magazines and online media (such as STYLEetc.) will be your best friends as you feed on trend reports and breathe in fashion week round-ups.
Digitally, the role has a different platform and a more technical knowledge will be essential. Using systems like Magento, which many Ecommerce sites rely on, will be your bread and butter for merchandising. Instead of mannequins and racks, Digital Merchandising involves organising pages, identifying which categories are needed and where they should sit. Shuffling products on pages to give the best aesthetic feed of items will also be a strength, putting looks together to up-sell linked items to shoppers.
You may also be asked to list those products onsite which will involve liaising with Buying team to obtain product materials, sizing, collection and care instructions, all uploaded in an SEO friendly and reader engaging way. For this role a degree can again prove useful yet is not entirely essential. Offering to help out smaller companies can give you a wealth of experience and provide a strong base to build your career from.
The more technical side of fashion, Ecommerce has become a pillar in every brands success, providing 24 hour access to content and shopping for the online prospect.
For those unsure Ecommerce is basically online shopping across all areas, not exclusively fashion. The North West has established an authority in Ecommerce with opportunity for businesses to flourish in just warehouse space, no physical stores required.
Work-wise roles for Ecommerce vary depending on the need, Software Developers and Technical folk will find home in the expanding need for site maintenance and development. Graphic Designers are additionally needed for editing images and making the site look it’s best, as are Executives for populating websites with information and managing updates and stock.
For this a fashion related degree or apprentice can certainly help but this isn’t the only way in. Going in doing Customer Service for Ecommerce businesses can lead to learning those systems and as a result progressing across to a more Ecommerce focused role. This is a better option for anyone without a degree or relevant experience struggling to get a chance.
Where there are stores there are always jobs and the bricks-and-mortar fashion offering is not yet dead in the water for opportunity. As analysts look to predict the future of fashion, many shun the idea that the shopping experience in real life will die off, instead suggesting that it will in fact thrive, with the idea of ‘Phygital’ (where physical experience meet digital technologies) will take over.
With that in mind, all is not lost for the common clothing store, so there is still reason to get involved in a retail career and adapt as any changes may come into place. Getting a role requires no experience as anyone can work their way from the floor as a sales assistant upwards toward Head Office.
It can take time but if you put in the hours and learn the business from the bottom up you’ll have invaluable experience to bring to the table in a higher up position. Start out as an Assistant, moving to Supervisor, Manager, Regional Manager then see where your ambitions lie within a larger scale.
Through this avenue there are also opportunities within the other sectors such as Marketing or Buying as well as conventional paths. The main thing is to put time and effort in and the work will pay off.
Photography will always have a place within Manchester culture but finding a way to translate that into a sustainable income isn’t the easiest of options. There will be the many opportunities which advertise for ‘experience’ or ‘voluntary’ roles which can certainly help build a good portfolio but do know your worth when working with a big brand when to charge and how to set freelance rates, a little research into this will be of high benefit.
Keep in mind working for yourself amounts a great deal of organisation and pressure, especially in regards to the paperwork and tax submitting side, so ensure you’re all above board so you don’t get into trouble later down the line. Finding work can also be tricky for a newcomer, getting your name and reputation takes time and skill amongst fierce competition, so it may be worth taking an in-house role or working for an employed before making the jump to freelance.
If you do go in-house then there are plentiful supply of roles around Manchester. Within the fashion sector, the majority of wholesale and fast fashion brands do their own photography, creating a need for fashion photographers on a regular basis. In-house can involve a lot of repetition, such as masses mannequin and still-life photography as all products coming through the door need shooting and editing for the site, but there are is also potential to get involved in the content creation side, shooting for blogs, outlets and site assets if that’s more your thing.
The best tip for getting into this side of the industry is not to wait for roles but to be proactive and seek roles out before they’re advertised. Sent a cover letter and examples of your work to all major players and ensure they know your style so when there is an opportunity you’re first in line for consideration. Additionally, work with friends who are bloggers, models or stylists to help build up each others portfolios and in succession recommend each other to your employers.
Where to Look?
Once you’ve decided which area is for you the following resources are worth checking for the latest Manchester Jobs available: