Feeling annoyed with the fashion industry

Thinking out loud.
Is anyone else feeling annoyed with the fashion industry?

I’m currently not working from being laid off last year and passively looking. (Luckily I’m in a position to not rush back.) I’m starting to see a decent amount of jobs pop up on LinkedIn.

Knowing all these companies accepted the PPP loans and laid off people as an excuse to cut budgets with no loyalty to hard working employees has really turned me off to my career as a designer.

Why would I want to put myself in the position of being disposable again after putting 110% into a job and getting let go?

Also, from a lot of these discussions it seems like I was severely underpaid for my experience so my previous employer got my services of preforming what should have been 3 jobs for a steal.


Same here. My company completely shutdown and laid off everyone but let us know they may come back in the near future. I’m actually dreading the moment I see my old position become available.

I’m just looking at all of this like a fresh start and hopefully find a position with a company that values its employees. Is that too much to ask for?


What gets to me is how many of these companies are “actively recruiting”, but in all truth, they are just collecting your information. Mostly you just get a not-so-nice auto reject letter. And the self disclosure info, I spoke with an actual HR manager. Don’t disclose anything. They will not hire you if you are disabled, a vet or a BIPOC or proud LGBTQ+.
Just give them your info and interview. Hope this helps, and hoping someone see’s this and steps it up for us job hunters.


I agree with each of the sentiments written. But what I have heard, multiple times is the fashion industry was hit hard during the pandemic, agreed. People are leaving the industry in droves and all the best people have now found new industries. Okay but there are still people whotop people who endured and are ready to work. So why are you not hiring these people? I have found that the industry will not hire if you are a more seasoned worker (meaning older) but have all the qualifications they are looking for.

Once you are over 40 are you not suppose to work?


Is this true? If so, it’s horrifying and illegal.

I work at a start-up (private label apparel development within a larger tech company), so my experience rn isn’t comparable to a large/legacy corporation, but our recruiting department actively seeks diverse hires and has a target for % of diverse employees per department. I think/hope the rest of the industry is headed this direction?


I sincerely hope so but again, it’s a percentage of “diverse” hires. My hope is there’s a point where we don’t have to appoint that, we just hire good candidates.
The bias in fashion is real though. Also we need to work on retention instead of disposable workers. Thoughts?

I agree that in an ideal world, we shouldn’t need “diversity targets” to ensure a diverse workplace. However, I think that it’s an important step in our evolution to becoming more inclusive humans; targets should help people address their internalized biases.

Also! There are some groups of people, such as neurodivergent people, who may require accommodations or additional training to do their job. A truly diverse workplace would take into account that not everyone is starting from the same background and ability, and traditional hiring practices that just focus on finding the “best candidate” will overlook these valuable workers.

As far as retention goes, compensating people generously is helpful. I’ve also personally felt more willing to stay at companies longer when there was a culture of appreciation that started at the top of the organization. This is all too rare, and it goes a long way.


@micheleb1 ageism within the industry is something that I’ve been hearing a lot about here. From what I’ve gathered, companies would prefer to hire younger workers because they’re cheaper?


Cheaper does always mean better. I have seen numerous times a role within a company and find out they have hired a younger/cheaper person. Then 2 or 3 months later the exact same role is available again. This continues to happen over several months. If they hire the person whom is older more experienced and yes worth their pay scale they would not have to continue looking month after month, year after year. The hiring process is expensive and that money could have been put toward the salary of the best candidate not the cheapest one.


Ugh I am feeling the exact same way. I am on unemployment, so have been applying to whatever comes up. But it is demoralizing and I fell off applying last week. None of the jobs are exciting. Everything is underpaid, yet has huge expectations. After all my experiences the past 7 years in the industry, I am just tired of being overworked, underpaid, and feeling unappreciated.

I am working on my own business, which is going well. I can’t see myself ever going to work for a company or someone else (outside of freelance/consulting) again. I live in a big city with high cost of living, and I am considering just leaving here for a cheaper area and focusing on my business and freelancing remote. I can’t be bothered with the bullshit anymore.


It does seem true in my case. I have a phenomenal resume. But I in my 40’s and don’t dye my hair and I’m slightly overweight. It’s been impossible to find a full time job and this was before COVID. I’m now severely underpaid but happy at my new role in the furniture industry, which is currently growing at an incredible rate. I’ve had serious misgivings about going back to fashion where I have nearly 20 years experience. After three layoffs in 10 years, is it worth it? But then again, IF anyone would hire me, would the income negate the brutality of the footwear world? Possibly.


Good Morning ShoeLady, (love that name)

I am in the exact same boat. I have been told by numerous recruiters, HR professionals that I have a fantastic resume, but that has not done anything for me in the past 10 years as well. When I do get an interview, I’m asked, what happened in my last three roles. In my case all three places closed or restructured and closed their North American operations.

I have 30 years experience have taken huge pay cuts, have gone back to my roots of sales, and still due to my age will not be hired as management. I was told by a very large department store where I was their top sales person, that he did not have anytime to review my resume. Back story is this was new to our market, there were about 10 employees who were over 45 and all were top sales people. I approached the General Manager, and wanted to discuss how we (10) could help make the store better and help him adjust to the new store and country. Our experience equated to over 150 years all in this market. His response as stated above. At that point, I felt belittled, dejected and went back to work. I think that was the point I realized I would not ever be accepted as a senior member of any company. Just to reiterate my feeling, I had the opportunity to speak with the SVP of HR, while our conversation progressed, I asked a simple question. Why is your store/department management so young (22-25) and her response was, we like to get them young so we can train them our way and move them up the ladder. Well, every single one of the management was let go for lack of experience. But they still refused to hire qualified and older candidates.

My question to everyone who reads this, WHAT DO WE DO? WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE. I have spent my entire education, and work life in this industry continued to upgrade my skills, and still nothing.

Any suggestions?


First congratulations on your personal business venture, my fingers are crossed it pans out beautifully.

I find it very sad, that we are forced to leave an industry that we worked so hard thrive in. No one warned me that once you hit the threshold of old, according to who? that we would disappear.

My question to you is Have you ever spoken with a recruiter/hr person and asked why you were not moving forward, granted you were given a interview? I would like to know. Am I interviewing horribly, look bad, expect too much money etc. I know they will make up something, and not tell us the truth, you are too old, too set in your ways, your superiors are afraid you are going to take their jobs etc. If it is something I can change I need to know this going forward, and I may have a chance to stay in this industry.


I’m a hard worker, I get everything done by the end of the day and give my company my best, but I certainly don’t give them 110%. No offense, but no company is worth all that (unless you’re the owner!). I know there is no loyalty in this industry, especially after watching my company lay off a third of our workforce the first week of the pandemic (including pregnant employees–is that even legal?).

I don’t like to give 110% either to this industry, but my love for what I can create makes me do it anyway. That satisfaction of creating and seeing my designs being appreciated gives me that extra boost to keep working hard. I know most of us are in this industry because we genuinely enjoy the creative aspect of it. Too bad that the narcissistic people who own/run the industry treat us as disposable. I always remember this nasty designer I worked under in my first job out of FIT. She screamed at me in anger “You are only capable of being a stay at home mom”. The toxicity of that woman undermining my talent pushed me to never give up. Now, 15 years into my career in this industry and after my covid layoff last year, I think being a stay at home mom is more rewarding than giving my all to the fashion industry. Atleast I am not disposable for my kids.


The job application process is weird from my perspective. I will apply to jobs through LinkedIn, directly on company websites, and other job boards and NEVER hear a response. Ever. But I get contacted by recruiters all the time, often for the same positions that I was applying to on 3rd party job boards.

On one experience, I got an interview with a dream job, and then the recruiter never called me back. Never emailed me. I followed up multiple times and was totally ghosted by the recruiter. Id assume the company I interviewed with had my resume/contact info, but I didn’t have theirs and could never get back in touch.

More recently I had another dream interview with Savage x Fenty for design. I was told by the recruiter that it was a full time WFH position, but when I interviewed over the phone the head designer said it was a temp/on-call Freelance position. So a pretty large miscommunication on that. I actually was more excited about a potential Freelance position. I followed up and basically was told I was the first name that came up when they were searching for someone to fill the roll, that the head designer said I was the #1 option to hire, but that they just didn’t need me at that exact moment. Its been about a month since that last follow up.

More recently, the recruiters are just offering me positions that I am not interested in or qualified for, like Assistant Design when I am at a Designer level, or Tech Design when I don’t really have any experience with that.

So for me, it isn’t even a question of how I interview or how my portfolio looks, its getting my name in front of people. Not to say that I couldn’t improve my portfolio or interviewing skills, as I know I could. But resumes on LinkedIn go into a black void. Recruiters seem unable to communicate the job information correctly, resulting in mis-matches for interviews, and then never are very professional when they follow up with me. Then when I see positions, the job descriptions are a mile long and there is NO salary expectation info.It stops me from applying sometimes because I don’t want to go through the process of interviewing, just to get a super low ball salary offer. It just seems like the hiring process is super broken. It needs so much more transparency to easily allow the correct candidates to connect with the right positions.


Not to mention, training younger employees is expensive!!


The foreign pigeon hold and lack of US manufacturing has killed these jobs. They send everything to other countries to be produced poorly and corrected multiple times because they simple would rather not pay for US staffing.
Producing Fashion now… is not what I fell in love with. Most of it is just grossly produced PLASTIC BAGS that look like clothes and they just hope the customer is too stupid to notice. So yes im very disappointed! BUT WE MUST EVOLVE IF WE WANT TO SURVIVE!


Are you doing your own brand?
I do hope to have my own brand one day though it seems so hard as fashion jobs take so much energy and time + are located in super expensive cities

Yeah, it’s been a slow grind. Working full time while trying to start your own brand is nearly impossible. I was always so bone tired after work.

I had a tiny Etsy shop for 2 years while working full time. Small offering and under $10k revenue per year. Then when the lockdowns happened, I had a lot more time to put into it. I scaled up, offering a lot more designs and getting involved in collaborative photoshoots. Now a year later I am moving into small batch manufacturing. Its the slowest way, but I didn’t have big bucks to go directly into manufacturing. I’m hoping I can grow it and be my own boss! I probably work more now than I did for another company, but its more fun!