“I wanted to try and get more involved with charities and helping people who wanted to get into the industry,” begins INTOFashion mentor, Jennie Becker. “Someone mentioned FAD to me so I reached out on a whim and met with Maria. Last year, I hosted a workshop on how to get into the creative industries and shared advice on how to run an event.”
Currently, Jennie works for WeWork as director of events for UK and Ireland, overseeing all events that happen through the brand’s 55 regional buildings. Before taking on the role at WeWork, her career has spanned some of fashion’s finest brands. As well as working as a merchandising assistant at Kurt Geiger, she’s worked in the events department for the British Fashion Council, as worldwide events manager at Stella McCartney, and at fashion influencer platform RewardStyle, running all of their events in Europe.
With FAD, she applies that depth of experience with the mentees she’s paired with. “What I find really interesting is that people are going through a lot of stuff that I went through, so it’s nice to be able to bounce off each other,” Jennie says. “All I can do is give my advice on what I’ve done but it’s great to be there through their journey as a support system.”
While Jennie is open in admitting that she found breaking into the fashion industry tough, she believes it can be even tougher for today’s upcoming talent. “It’s really important to realise you’re going to get a lot of setbacks, and it takes time to get that initial job or figure out what you want to do,” she says. “I think it’s important to know that your first job doesn’t have to be thejob. It’s all about building your experience and finding out what you want to do. You’ll have good experiences, bad experiences, and INTOFashion is a good programme to let people know that. Even if they’re not succeeding right now, that doesn’t mean they won’t succeed.”
She also feels that the programme is a good opportunity in hearing what others have been through. “What I’ve done as a career sounds great but I’ve had bad experiences too. It’s made me a lot stronger as a person but it’s good for young people now to have people they can talk to.” As part of being a mentor, Jennie begins by helping her mentee with everything from CV and cover letter writing to giving confidence in doing something outside of their comfort zone, like talking to a manager about specific issues.
“Things have changed a lot since I entered the industry but work really hard and don’t give up,” Jennie advises recent fashion graduates. “Think about people you’ve met on your course or on the way you can get in touch with. Network as much as possible. Even if it doesn’t get you a job straight away, it will help with getting yourself out there. Also, just be a kind person. You don’t have to be horrible or step on people to get somewhere. Stay true to who you are.”