6 months ago
From the Parisian haute couture Maisons to the Italian artisan workshops, Europe remains an aspirational place to work in the fashion industry and job opportunities on the continent are growing.
The European Commission reports five million people are operating in the EU fashion value chain. The industry is especially suitable for fashion designer as employment has increased by 23.4 per cent in Europe, according to the UK Government’s "Creative Industries Sector Report" in 2016.
Despite dismal Brexit headlines and debates on immigration policy, Europe's fashion industry is more diverse than many other sectors.
So what are the first steps to move to Europe?
1- Know the industry
France’s strength is in accessories, and Italy’s talent is ready-to-wear. Every European destination has its specialities and strengths. Diversity in fashion will give an opportunity to every interests and level of expertise.
You need to do a bit of homework before settling on your destination of choice to know where to find the best opportunities.
Organisations such as La Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode in Paris, The British Fashion Council and Milan’s Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana work to develop the fashion industry and provide valuable platforms for those wishing to research the country’s experts and expertise.
The situation will be different depending on your citizenship. The whole paperwork process will be easier if you are an EU citizen.
Otherwise, non-EU citizens wishing to move to a country within the EU for work will require a work visa. Note that the process to apply for a work visa is different for Denmark, Ireland and the UK.
Your work visa will also be referred to as an EU Blue Card, which is the combined work and residence permit for non-EU/EEA nationals. The Blue Card ensures the same working and salary conditions and benefits as EU citizens. Applications for visas can take up to three months, and to apply, you must have valid health insurance.
To apply for the Blue Card you must have “higher professional qualifications, such as a university degree, and an employment contract or a binding job offer” for at least one year’s work. The work VISA does not cover those who are or intend to be self-employed.
3- Start your career from home
It is highly advised you start applying for a job abroad before you make the international move. Then, you will know more about the work environment, application process and clients' or agencies' requirements.
Good news, most of the time, fashion companies in Europe have international offices and a multinational workforce, which makes the practice of acquiring work visas more familiar to them.
Otherwise, you can also make the choice to apply for positions in your resident country in a company that offers the chance to move overseas further along in your career. Multinational businesses can facilitate a transfer abroad into other offices, but register your interest in this when you apply. That way, you can determine the likelihood of an overseas assignment.
4- Perfect the application
Abroad or not, candidates need to prove their worth during the job application process. However, you might need to prove even more while applying for a position abroad. The requirement of a work visa means a company needs to sponsor you and they must prove you are more capable for the job that any worker from their country.
Therefore, on top of your usual interview preparation, you may require some additional experience or personal qualities to assist your application.
5- Learn about the culture
When moving to a new country, it is recommended to have a basic understanding of it and of its culture, plus, the possibility of a language barrier might stop your application process. A basic knowledge of the language, or the willingness to learn and improve your language skills, could make your applicatio0n more attractive, as well as facilitating a new start in a new country.
Some experience abroad and a demonstration of interest and time spent in your chosen destination might back your application. Companies will also be after seriousness about the move.
If you don't have any overseas experience, you can still find some organised volunteer opportunities, which do not require a work visa. Those will demonstrate your commitment to working abroad.
You are now ready for your international career, it's time to apply for your next position: Apply here!