To be or not to be

I have been doing a lot of thinking these days. I am currently in my internship and also actively sending out resumes everyday. The fashion jobs are really limited. So far I’ve applied for 4 designer jobs, however 3 require experience and none has gotten back to me. And I don’t know what is a good salary to put down. I cut my previous salary by two-thirds and kind of calculated what is the minimum I can get by, minus my insurance commitments and it still seem higher than what my teacher has said an average assistant designer earn.
And the thing is I can’t really lower it much further because I still have my BTO coming up in 2017 to pay for.
I looked at various options such as taking a premium holiday for few years until the salary goes up, lowering my premium for one plan (I’m going to go for that) and taking on tuition to supplement my income (starting that today too)

So in addition I have also sent in resumes for over 20 merchandising and buyer jobs. You may say I thought the whole career switch to fashion is to be a designer? Well, I initially thought so too, but to be frank, I need CPF for my flat and I can’t just go and start a label on my own now, if I can’t find a designer job (C, my bf will probably faint. He is already feeling stressed over our wedding and Reno cost and me being jobless now) so I have to settle and take on jobs at least related to the fashion industry.
During last week, in Shingo Sato’s class and meeting all the other Singapore designers, I kept thinking what do I really want to do? My dream is simple, I jus wanted to have one fashion show and show one collection. I don’t want to be famous or make tons of money. I don’t need to have my own label. I just want to see my creations into finished pieces. Anyone can draw pretty pictures but to know how to put it together? that then qualifies you as a designer. I asked my fellow classmates and a number of them have not broke even yet after few years in the industry, so you really need a substantial capital to get started and an exit plan I believe if things don’t work out. But I want to start small, maybe put some stuff on etsy and then red dot and then start something online if there is really a following.After all, you may think your designs are good, but if no one buys them it’s not fashion, it’s just a piece of art.

Then I asked the lecturers that were taking the class with me, ” how do their students find jobs if its so limited in Singapore?” Then came the shocking answer that they don’t. Most end up being air stewards and air stewardess. I was shocked. Well these are reputable schools. Of course, one expressed disbelief at how much can I learn in 3.5 months diploma course compared to their students. But honestly, I think it’s the quality of the course too. The number of hours I put in the course is really demanding, in addition fashion design is very subjective to your own talent and skills. Take Alexander Wang for instance, he dropped out of Parsons and yet went on to be Balenciaga’s Creative Director. It doesn’t take certificates to get you somewhere in fashion world, you have to have what it takes and opportunities too. But that being said, this is Singapore, so I think you do need some certificates at least.

I was talking to a junior pattern maker of a local designer brand and asked how did she land the job. She didn’t have any proper certification but just skills and I realized its all about knowing the right people too. She just happen to know a friend who knew the local designer who happen to have a vacancy and she got the job.
I don’t have such a network yet, but really building it up.

So I was starting to question myself when there were no replies from any of the resumes I sent out. One HR did reply and ask me if I was interested in another position but MIA after I replied her with my expected salary which I had indicated as negotiable. In case, you are wondering I am not asking for sky high pay here just something around $2K…but I may have to go lower, I need to ask around more about the salary range. However, to go any lower really means it will be a stretch sustaining my expenses and then I won’t know how long I can last in the job if I have to take on other jobs to boost in the income, so I am trying not to go there.

I am kind of thinking if WDA PCP was a good choice. If I have not had the PCP, I may have gotten a job with the company that I interviewed as an assistant designer for. They seem keen but just couldn’t wait for 2 months which is understandable. And at least I can find other jobs if I can’t find a fashion job. But well, on the flip side the PCP does let me gain some experience in the industry and let me get a feel of what working in the fashion industry is like.

But the lack of interviews is quite a concern. I am quite blessed in the past where I can land a job fairly quickly, in part due to me being able to speak Japanese and there are no lack of jobs if you have that skill. Thus this job hunt is the first time where I had no response, so I was really concerned if it was my résumé or cover letter or is it the salary. I am like decreasing my expected salary everytime I send a résumé out now. And my classmate told me her internship company actually asked her to stay on as a full time staff and she declined. Gosh, if I were her I would have accepted! And she was telling me how she felt the job has no life. Well fashion is not all glamorous you know? Lots of long hours and in my case data entry and excel.

But thank God, I finally got a response yesterday! I am so happy. It’s the same company that interviewed me earlier when I was applying for internship. Its for merchandising role but I really hope I get a job there, I love their stuff!
Fingers crossed for my interview next week! ^^


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