As every final year student knows, there comes a time when you make an appointment with your university’s career office. Maybe just to check up on the C.V. Maybe brush up on those interview skills. Or to be very 2017, how to create a killer LinkedIn profile. Walking through that glass door, you build up the courage to speak to someone for advice on how to reach those at the moment out of reach dreams. In hopes of enhancing future prospects you sit across the careers counsellor nodding and smiling with a faint flicker of panic as together you scroll through job listings.
Entry Level job Requirements: Business Degree (Upper 2:1 degree), Photography skills, Photoshop and coding skills, customer retail skills, editorial experience, PR experience, social media savy and 5 years working experience. At age 22, the knot in your stomach tightens as you try to understand how alongside exams that would even be possible.
On reflection from my meeting discussing “Must have” skills within the fashion industry, it occurred to me that when looking at careers in the creative sectors you have to become a “Jack of All trades.” A Marketing role? Make sure you know photography, graphic design, styling, editing, and PR please.
In a way, we have ventured full circle these past 500 years and could say that we have entered a somewhat digital Renaissance 2.0. Instead of a period in history bridging the Middle Ages and modern history, Digital Renaissance 2.0 bridges the post-modern era to the digital age: an age promising self driving cars, life-like robots, 3D printing machines, virtual reality and immortal trans-humanism (yikes!).
Current millennials, let’s refer to ourselves as Renaissance men and women 2.0. Originally the renaissance man such as a Leonardo di Vinci was someone who sought to develop his abilities in all areas of accomplishment: intellectual, artistic, social, and physical. These intellectuals were polymaths: people whose expertise span a significant number of various subject areas may it be art, science, philosophy, medicine, you name it. Such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems and expressed by Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472), “a man can do all things if he will”.
Now fast-forward to 2017 and through adapting to current times we have a new breed of Renaissance women and men.
Within fashion you have bloggers who have completely turned the industry inside out, democratising an exclusive world to the masses through viral communications. These are influencers. Some are writers, photographers, marketing billboards, singers, media moguls. Chiara Ferragni one of the most successful fashion bloggers can also add author and creative director of a multi million dollar namesake shoe brand to her resume.
Models today are not only beautiful people in front of a camera striking a pose and calling it a day- they are designers such as Gigi Hadid collaborating with Tommy Hilfiger, actresses such as Cara Delevingne, tech gurus such as Karlie Kloss. And we cannot forget the ultimate model of the moment Kendall Jenner with her family the ultimate Renaissance Women 2.0: The Kardashians, a family of reality TV stars, entrepreneurs of retail, beauty, and clothing lines just to name a few.
Growing up in the 90’s or 2000’s you are told “You can be anything you want to be”, and in this digital age – why yes you can. Want to learn how to do something? Youtube it. Want to share your photos? Instagram it. Like in Renaissance Italy of the 15th century, the intellectual, artistic, social, and physical are merging together creating glorious athleisure wearing, kale eating, Snapchatting super humans. How exciting to witness this shift. But what does this mean in fashion?
More collaboration, more multitasking and more fluidity in job roles. As seen by Isabella Burley, “the editor in residence” for Helmut Lang, we see editors shifting to replace creative directors of fashion maisons curating a poignant brand identity, storytelling across all platforms.
Instead of a job role as photographer or journalist – you have a growing toolbox of skills and expectations to fulfil. Is it asking too much? Are we diluting what it means to be a photographer now that everyone with an iPhone 7 can become “Insta-famous”? Or are we just evolving into iMultitaskers more efficient and adapting to be better. Or the best.
The Renaissance woman 2.0 however is not purely successful based on skills and talent. She excels based on her own brand she careful moulds on her social media platforms. I would say that especially within fashion it is more about brand you than a neatly boxed up job role. Skills are replaceable but you as a brand are an asset.
So what about the modern day C.V – do you need all of these skills to compete? One of the greatest polymaths of all time is Karl Lagerfeld – designer, photographer, film maker, artist. Surely, we can’t all be like him? Or perhaps, we have to in order to reach those twinkling stars.