How to get started with a career in fashion, no matter where you live

Ever dream of sitting front row at fashion week? Or perhaps you're more of the backstage type, and fantasize about crafting the designs that strut down the catwalk.

Equal parts art, technology, sociology and economics, fashion is about pushing boundaries and cultivating a lifelong pursuit of self-expression, both for yourself and others.

Clothes are the way you announce yourself to the world. Personal style is the unique voice reserved just for you.

Designer and stylist Rachel Zoe sat down with YouTube star Hannah Hart to talk about her love for fashion in Barilla's new web series While the Water Boils. Inspired by their conversation, here are seven tips for going after your fashion dreams.

Tip 1: Start where you are

You don't need to have a big budget or a flashy job to get involved with fashion. Scour thrift shops, flea markets and estate sales for interesting finds on the cheap, then style them on yourself or your friends. Share your looks via Instagram, start a Tumblr or create a blog — anything to share your vision with the world.

"The people I know with the best style are actually on the most limited budgets. It forces you to be much more creative." -Rachel Zoe

Tip 2: Pursue your point of view

Don't try to be like everyone else — your strength in this industry will lie in your unique point of view. Though it can be difficult to swim upstream, history has shown that the biggest fashion icons didn't follow trends — they started their own. Believe in your own voice and stay true to what you like. There's power in knowing who you are.

Tip 3: Learn the rules, then break them

Like any design or art-related field, an appreciation for the past is integral to creating what will come next. Study style history and clothing construction by attending a school with a fashion program, taking a sewing class and obsessing over magazines. Better yet: Do all three. Having a reference point for fashion history will help you plot a course for the future. After all, the only way you can break all the rules is if you learn them first.

Tip 4: Become an intern or apprentice

Studying the business from an expert or creative visionary is not only a great way to gain experience, but it can also give you opportunities to network and build valuable skills that will help you down the line. Getting a window into the day-to-day operations of the fashion industry can also help you get a feel for what you want to do — and what you don't.

"For me it was never a job. It was my passion." -Rachel Zoe

Tip 5: Enlist your friends

When Rachel Zoe was 8-years-old, she liked to organize the closets of her friends and put together outfits for them to wear. Take a cue from the queen of personal style and work with what you've got by practicing on the people you know. Want to be a designer? Enlist your friends as models. Itching for your own styling career? Give mom a makeover. Starting small with people you know will help you build up the confidence you need to go after bigger goals.

Tip 6: Stay plugged in

Smartphones have made the digital era the best time to work in a fashion-related field. Visual industries rely on social networking as a way to share new ideas, connect with others and find inspiration. A smartphone can be your one-stop, self-marketing shop. Stay up-to-date on trends while simultaneously building your audience from anywhere in the world.

Tip 7: Go where the work is

After you've started small in your hometown, it's time to upgrade to the big league. There's a reason why cities like New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris have become fashion hubs: These are where the biggest players in the industry make their home. If you're serious about a career in a design-related field, then you have to go in search of opportunities and move to where the work is. Your dream depends on it.

Watch the video below to see the full conversation with Rachel Zoe and read about how Hannah Hart pursues her passion here.


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