Patrick Guadagno: Careers in Fashion

As a leader in the fashion industry, Patrick Guadagno has played a key role in the success of many of the largest designer apparel companies in the United States. Most recently, Patrick Guadagno served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Versace, U.S., and he has also held key positions at Dolce & Gabbana USA, IT USA Corporation, Calvin Klein Company, Giorgio Armani Fashion Corporation, and Yves St. Laurent Menswear. With an impressive career at some of the top companies in fashion, Patrick Guadagno offers the following advice to people seeking to enter the fashion industry.

Question: What types of careers are available in fashion?

Patrick Guadagno: Fashion careers run the gamut from design and production to media and merchandising. For instance, design careers might include designing clothing, making patterns, and creating accessories. Marketing jobs directly target the customer in many ways. Media positions include photography, journalism, and public relations. Styling and modeling also fall under the category of fashion careers.

Question: What would you suggest to young people considering a career in fashion?

Patrick Guadagno: It really depends on which aspect of fashion they are interested in. If they would like to do as I have and focus on the business and marketing aspects of the industry, then I would suggest following fashion to learn the key players and designers, in addition to attending the classes that serve as precursors for business. If they would like to work on the design end of fashion, then they should add visual arts to their high school curriculum and keep a close eye on fashion.

Question: Do college students attempting to enter into the fashion industry need to pursue a specialized degree?

Patrick Guadagno: Many colleges offer fashion degrees, and many schools across the country place some sort of focus on the industry; however, it is not necessary to participate in a fashion program in order to enter the business. For instance, someone considering a career in fashion journalism or marketing could follow a more traditional route to obtain degrees in those fields and still do very well in the fashion industry.

Question: How does one get a foot in the door of the fashion industry?

Patrick Guadagno: Internships provide an excellent networking opportunity, as well as serving as learning experiences. A number of job boards exist that support the fashion industry, posting both paid and unpaid internships.