top of page

PSA to all the Fashion Newcomers, here's how you make it

Your ultimate guide to making it as a fashion newcomer.

On Saturday, March 4, Fashion Journal and Melbourne Fashion Festival hosted a public panel discussion at the Emporium on a topic that is on the minds of every fashion newcomer: how do we break into the industry?

The panel was led by the fearless Cait Burke, editor of Fashion Journal, who introduced the expert stylist Carlos Mangubat and the PR specialist Genevie Phelan. These influential figures shared their journeys of breaking into the industry, their industry experiences, and their advice for newcomers who want to do the same.

Cait Burke, an alumnus of RMIT's Professional writing and editing program, started off as a freelance writer and is now the editor of Fashion Journal. Burke said she "steers Fashion Journal's editorial voice to create inclusive and engaging content that reflects the publication's diverse audience".

Burke started off the discussion with stylist Carols Mangubat, an expert fashion stylist and RMIT alumni. Mangubat has contributed to renowned publications like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Elle. He began his career with several internships, one being at the Grazia fashion closet in Sydney, flying there every week to attend; now that's dedication.

Mangubat emphasises the value of "hard work pays off," which helped him land significant shoots for Grazia and enabled him to climb up the ladder to where he is today.

"Inventory, getting in product, and creating looks" are his daily operations. He is currently styling the men's runway at the Melbourne Fashion Festival, where "rock style" is a significant influence.

Mangubat stresses the importance of "creating your own vision" when pitching ideas to publications and not fearing rejection. He also emphasises understanding the "hustle" of the industry, as social media doesn't reveal the whole story.

A key takeaway from Mangubats responses is to "keep on keeping on" if you want a career in the industry, you must be in it for the "long run" and to always "value everyone in the industry", as well as the importance of genuineness.

Next, Genevieve Phelan, PR specialist, writer and RMIT alums, recaps her experiences publishing articles for heralding publications.

Vogue, Elle, and Broadsheet are are only a few examples of where Genevie Phelan's articles have been published. Phelan, writer, PR specialist and RMIT alumni, is a PR powerhouse in Melbourne, running her own company and serving as a resident culture and lifestyle editor for Fashion Journal.

After completing multiple pro bono internships with publications such as Urban List and Herald Sun, Phelan said, "I fell in love with publicity through editorial". She has now created a flexible day-to-day operation that includes "wearing multiple hats" as she runs her own business, continues to write for Fashion Journal, and is a professional copywriter.

Phelan emphasises the importance of understanding the admin side of starting your own business in the industry. Finding the "perfect accountant" and setting "your rate without undervaluing yourself" is crucial. But most importantly, she emphasises "fostering relationships and connections", building resilience, and having the drive to fuel your passions.

She highlights the importance of internships as the experience is "priceless". Phelan's inspirational outlook has pioneered her to where she is today.

Overall, the panel provided valuable insights into how these prominent fashion figures have made it into the industry. Their stories highlight the importance of hard work, dedication, resilience, authenticity, and networking. We know the fashion industry is no easy feat, but the panellists' tips and guidance gave attendees a better understanding and some inspiration to chase their dreams.


Article: Isabella Chambers


bottom of page