Welcome to The Director’s Cut, an interactive column featuring fashion, beauty and career advice from RGNN Director and Founder, @isabelevabohrer.
She has one of the most, if not THE most, colorful Instagram feeds in the entire fashion industry: Caroline Vazzana. But so much more than that, Caroline is also helping to pull back the curtain on how to get started in the fashion world, especially since she first-hand experienced what it is like to have no connections, and no idea, about how to go about working in fashion.
After beginning her career in the editorial world at Teen Vogue and Instyle magazines, Caroline decided to take a chance on herself and leave the corporate world to publish her debut book, “Making It in Manhattan: The Beginner’s Guide to Surviving & Thriving in the World of Fashion.” This was the starting point for building her subsequent (and colorful!) personal brand, which has led her to collabs with brands such as Betsey Johnson, Stuart Weitzman and Ferragamo, to name a few. Some even call her the “Modern Day Carrie Bradshaw.”
In an exclusive interview for RGNN, Caroline talks about why you don’t need to major in fashion to work in fashion, that her biggest advice is to do internships and that she, too, was once afraid of putting herself out there. Read on to find out more.
Isabel Eva Bohrer: Your book, “Making It in Manhattan,” is packed with advice for those looking to break into the fashion industry. If you had to pick out three essential tips for students who have no contacts and no experience but want to work in fashion, what tips would you give them?
Caroline Vazzana: Use your resources. When starting out it can feel daunting, especially if you don’t know anyone in the industry, but use your resources. Instagram, LinkedIn and so many others are great for networking and connecting with others whose careers you admire.
Internships are key. My biggest advice is to do internships. Interning is the easiest way to get your foot in the door, meet people, and learn what you like.– Caroline Vazzana, Author of “Making It in Manhattan”
Build your network. Whether it’s through social media or your first internship or even at college, do your best to network and meet people. Your next boss could be closer than you think.
You studied Fashion Design and Merchandising. Do you think studying fashion is essential for working in the fashion industry? What advice do you have for those who perhaps do not have a fashion major at their school or those who recently graduated and did not study fashion, but still want to work in the fashion industry?
Though I did love studying fashion in college, I don’t necessarily think it’s essential to breaking into the industry. I think real world experiences like internships and volunteer work are the best to help you build connections and ultimately land a job.
@cvazzana Now time to take a nap😴💞thanks so much for coming along with me this week! #tiktokfashion #styleinspo #styleinspiration #closetgoals #highfashion #nyfw #newyorkfashionweek #fashionweek2023 #maximaliststyle #dayinmylife #nyfwvlog ♬ Aesthetic Girl – Yusei
Your first internship was at Anna Sui and you then went on to work at Teen Vogue, InStyle and Marie Claire. For those who have not (yet!) read your book, what are three essential tips you can give for getting that first dream internship in fashion?
- Apply everywhere. When I was applying for my very first job I applied everywhere, and I mean literally everywhere. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and ask if they’re hiring.
- Be persistent. Don’t give up. I remember a time when I felt like I was never going to get a job, so stay persistent and don’t give up, even when things might get tough.
- Keep your options open. When applying for your first job I always say to keep your options open and apply to many different kinds of jobs. You never know what could happen.
Your book (at least the edition I have) includes such detailed guides for networking on LinkedIn and Instagram. What about TikTok? How can students who want to work in fashion take advantage of TikTok to get their foot in the door in the fashion industry?
Yes! TikTok actually wasn’t around when I worked on my book, but I think with that being said it can still be a great resource for networking. Social media is the best portfolio to let others find your work and connect with editors or people in the industry that you admire.
Your colorful and energetic personal brand stands out in the fashion industry. What personal branding tips do you have for students who are just starting out? What would you say to those who are too scared to put themselves out there on social media?
Find your niche! For me, my brand revolves around fun, colorful fashion, career advice and life in New York. Then just start posting, you’ll never know unless you try. I know it can feel scary putting yourself out there but it ultimately is so rewarding!– Caroline Vazzana, Author of “Making It in Manhattan”
Follow Caroline on Instagram @cvazzana and @makingitinmanhattan, TikTok, YouTube and Pinterest. Her book, “Making It in Manhattan,” is available on Amazon here. Her editorial site of the same name, www.makingmanhattan.com, offers further career advice for those who want to make it like she has.