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How this young Filipina got her job in New York's fashion industry

Meet Dana Sy, a young Filipina working in New York.

Dana is where a lot of us want to be right now, working in beautiful New York, independent, exploring what life outside the country has to offer her. How did she do it?

In this Q & A with Kalibrr, she gives us a little insight into what it's like to work in the Big Apple.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself. I studied in the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in fashion merchandising and minor in economics after graduating from De LaSalle University and working for a year as an assistant buyer.

I have been in New York for 2 years now since 2013. It was always a dream for me to come to New York ever since I was in high school, and have been fortunate enough to do so. I wanted to challenge myself, expand my horizons, and live outside my comfort zone.
New York, being a melting pot of art, culture, fashion, and people from all walks of life was the perfect place for me to test all of that.

Where do you work in New York and what do you do? WGSN Trend Forecasting Services. I do Trend Forecasting for them.

How'd you get the job? I applied online and went through a first round interview where they tested my knowledge on everything involving trend forecasting. After which, I was given a week to send in a mock-up trend report of my choosing similarly to theirs and a sample street style portfolio.

Did you enjoy New York? Yes, it was everything I expected it to be and more. I learned a lot and was involved in major trend reports, participated in Fashion Week, covered trade shows and street style photography just like any other seasoned trend forecaster did.

What were the main differences between the culture there and in the Philippines? There was no hierarchy between senior, junior/new forecasters, and management. We all addressed each other on a first name basis creating a more informal environment. I was encouraged to voice out new ideas, give my opinions and critiques for our existing projects from the start. The head of our New York office works in the same space as us and interacts freely with everyone.

There was a more distinct separation between professional and personal life. While my co-workers were very friendly and approachable, they are focused solely on the work and socialize and engage less with others with personal matters. (In other words, less gossip and chismis.)

There was a large emphasis on work-life balance and flexibility of work, preferring to leave early or on time instead of working overtime. Options to work from home were available as long as the tasks at hand were accomplished.

What would you advise people who are looking to work abroad as well? Build a strong network. Since you are working in a country where you most likely do not know anyone, networking is vital and part of the process as it helps get your foot in the door. Depending on the industry, in my case a small one, one way or another everyone knows everyone.

Pile on the Experience. Specifically in the United States, where most college students juggle multiple internships throughout their studies, work experience is just as important as education. It’s a stellar way to standout amongst stiff competition showcasing your real-life skills and knowledge that can’t be taught in a classroom.

Be confident, passionate, and adaptable. With so many different barriers and heavy competition to international job seekers, you need to be confident in the skills you have that others don’t. Exuding passion and the ability to easily adapt to a foreign workplace is a telltale sign of an exceptional candidate.

Do you have dreams of working in New York too? Or you just want to be a Filipino with work abroad? Tell us all about it in the comments below.