Thinking about a career in the fashion industry?

The fashion industry is much more than the models that wear its designs. From editors to booking agents to stylists, this industry is full of artistic visionaries who give us the finished products we all admire.

The Story
Xania Khan, Editor-in-Chief, Vervegirl Magazine

Editors are the hub of creativity and are responsible for coming up with the initial concept and manage the development, presentation and content of a photo shoot. Most fashion editors are required to travel to keep up with industry trends, meeting with designers and attending fashion shows.

Directions: Editorial Assistant → Associate Editor → Editor → Senior Editor → Editor-in-Chief

Salary Range: Entry level: $20K to $40K; Experienced: $40K to $60K; Top level: $70K to $100K+

The Stylist
Maeve McKee, Fashion Stylist, Judy Inc.

Maeve is one of Vervegirl’s preferred fashion stylists. She works side by side with Xania to flush out concepts and assemble suitable styles and looks. She studied theatre at George Brown College. She also studied sociology and psychology. She then moved to Montreal to study anthropology at Concordia University.

Maeve started her own clothing label, Lyons, and began putting together fashion shows. In the following years, she spent a summer in Guadalajara studying politics and art and took a course on trend forecasting in London, England. Most recently, Maeve spent a year in Australia building her portfolio.

When she signed on as an intern at Judy Inc., she had the opportunity to work with Nelly Furtado (a move that landed her work on the cover of Flair). At this point, Maeve decided to try freelancing again. She is quick to point out that it is considerably easier to freelance with an agency. An agency will typically take care of the business end of being a stylist (for a small percentage) and let you concentrate on the artistic aspects.

Directions: Intern → Assistant Fashion Stylist → Staff Fashion Stylist / Freelance Fashion Stylist

Salary Range: Entry level: $150 – $200/day; Experienced: $300 – $5,000/day; Top level: $100K+

The Model Maker
Matti Gidilevich, Agent Development, Elite Model Management

Matti is the go-to person for Vervegirl’s photo shoots. After being briefed by Xania on the exact type of model(s) she needs, Matti provides the e-folios of everyone that fits the editor’s criteria and then sends them to Xania for a ‘go see’. Matti is certainly not typical in his experience or career path.

He began his career in the world of technology and then worked in hair dressing for about three years before going into retail. He started at Ford Models as an assistant and eventually took over the children’s section of the film and television division. Then followed a brief stint as a casting agent for a local film house before he came to Elite as an agent.

Matti credits his diverse and unorthodox career path with giving him a deeper understanding of the fashion industry.

“I love seeing the change in these kids. I love seeing them walk in a little green and in awe, and watch them walk out more self-assured and polished.”

In his 12 years in the industry he has worked with a number of Canada’s top models, including Coco Rocha, Heather Marks and Stacey McKenzie.

Directions: Intern → Junior Agent → Booking Agent

Salary Range: $25K – $100K + Commission

Fashion Agency | Artist Management
Laura Virdo, Senior Booking Agent, Judy Inc.

Judy Inc. is a critical component to Vervegirl fashion spreads, which means Laura is on deck ready to cast the perfect artist(s). The hair and make-up creative team is responsible for tying together all the elements that have gone into the planning stages so far. It’s important that Laura source an artist to complement the beauty concept for the shoot.

Laura graduated from Seneca’s business program and went on to train and work with Aveda for over four years as a Salon and Spa Manager for John Danato. She was also the Men’s Director and Talent Director at Sutherland Models for eight years before joining Judy Inc.

“The industry,” she says “relies heavily on your confidence. It is also about paying your dues. You will rarely find a fast-track here. I like being able to help create and build an artist or personality. It’s very rewarding work.”

Like Matti and Maeve, Laura’s eclectic background has given her the edge she needs to stay current in her field. Networking is key. Starting out in business is great to help build foundation. Negotiation & marketing skills are critical.

Directions: Fashion Intern → Merchandising → Public Relations → Junior Booker → Senior Booking Agent → Agency Owner

Salary Range: $23K – $40K+; $80K+ As an agency owner, sky is the limit depending on how successful your business is!

The Model
Tara Bartolini

Let’s face it ladies, we can all walk the mall, but we can’t all work the runway. Tara however, does both with ease. She was Rapunzel in Vervegirl’s February/March issue, and transitioned into Vervegirl’s online intern.

Tara’s experiences behind the camera have proven to be much more beneficial and in-tune with her interests and aspirations. “As a model, we’re chosen to fit the mold of the shoot. You work and you go home. Behind the scenes, I am extensively involved with the creative aspect. As an intern, on set, the experience allows me to explore many different areas of the magazine. I feel like what I do has a profound impact on young women and how they feel about themselves versus being a visual component.”

The fashion industry relies heavily on building relationships and networking which are key components to success. In some cases, formal education is not available so it’s important to take courses that will help you build the necessary skill sets. Think marketing, business management and negotiation skills. There are no better lessons in life than experience and learning from your mistakes. You’ll make lots of them but the lessons learned will be invaluable. Be patient and nurture your career – you’ll need these skills as you groom and grow creative talent!