If you have worked in the fashion industry for a good number of years and started from the bottom up, you’ll know that the industry is built on favours and working for free (as a professional). The latter often occurs when you are a writer or stylist for those ultra-‘cool’ but not ‘paying for a damn thing’ magazines.
In my line of fashionable duty, I’ve done a number of free jobs for various companies, looking back, I did far too much but hindsight is a bitch in 9 inch heels isn’t it? The businesses I have worked for with no remuneration include magazines, designers, fashion show production companies…and it always amazed me how these organisations didn’t have the class, morality or ethical fiber in their being to thank me PROFESSIONALLY. And by this I don’t just mean uttering the glaringly obvious words, ‘Thank You’- in fashion, if one does not have the wages to give accurate remuneration, one is supposed to use their ACTIONS to give thanks. Actions speak louder than words, baby.
Don’t know what I mean, well depending on which sector of the fashion industry you work in, here are some:
Tips On How To Say, ‘Thank You’ Professionally In The Fashion Industry
1) For upcoming designers who don’t have the funds to pay for models to walk in their fashion shows, it is common to say Thank You to each model by giving out pieces of your collection or distributing goodie bags (with products/brands that show some decent thought went into the gift!)
2) For independently owned magazines who are not able to pay their commissioned writers, stylists PRs and the like, how about giving a few of your best fashion show tickets or party invites to your editors? Fashion week is one of the best ways for independent magazine editor-in-chiefs to extend their thanks to their team. For lack of a better word, the ingratitude of magazine editor-in-chiefs makes me sick. I know of one Berlin-based magazine editor-in-chief, who denies his unpaid stylist editor fashion show tickets purely because he is scared of her surpassing him in the industry.
I had a recent horror story: Not too long ago, in a land not so far, far way, I did unpaid PR work to support a London-based magazine launch their first issue in Nigeria. For this job, one of the major coups I won for the magazine was getting its launch party covered by a leading Nigerian TV network, thus exposing the new company to a large audience to increase their relevance and sales. However, a few months later when I asked that same magazine editor-in-chief for a favour: to feature a Nigerian designer I was doing PR for on their platform- the editor-in-chief created a whole lot of b.s dog hoops for me to jump through. This is a PERFECT example, of how NOT to say Thank You in the industry when someone has done a big job for you for free. Shame On You, Ms Editor-In-Chief.
3) Emerging designers, if an individual is doing PR for you for free on a particular project, one way to thank them is by taking them out to dinner. A newly launched designer recently took me out for dinner to say Thank You for the PR services I did for her, and I was truly touched. Ps Ms Shameless Editor-In-Chief, THIS is how to have Class. You should never be too busy to have Class.
4) I’ll now demonstrate another way to say Thank You in the fashion industry. To promote my Fashion Special TV program which aired in Nigeria recently, I sent out press release to a number of Nigerian blogs. Many never responded, a few that did quoted RrrrRRrredunkulous charges, however 2 Golden Blogs (which fortunately happen to be the Top 10 most popular fashion & lifestyle blogs in the country), did promote my press release in a timely manner on their platforms for free.
And to show I was thankful, I delivered Goodie Bags in their places of residence yesterday.
How about you guys: what other ways do you think fashion professionals in the industry can say Thank You professionally, if/when they are not able to give remuneration? Have you had similar horror stories of working for free only to get shafted (without the decency of the ‘professional’ at least having the decency to hold your hair back!!) Do tell, I’d love to know.