Breakfast with the Boss - Malie Bingham, PVH

Malie Bingham has been a designer at PVH since 2002, specializing in cut & sew knits and sweaters. In 2016, Malie founded Pick Glass, an online resource for fashion industry professionals.  She uses her platform to help educate industry members on how to navigate their network and stay up to date with what is going on in the fashion world. Malie is an involved member of the YMA FSF community, and our scholars were fortunate enough to be able receive advice from her on how to approach networking in the fashion industry.  “Tell me the truth,” Malie asked, “What do you all think about networking? When people hear the word ‘networking,’ a lot of people think about networking events, reaching out to brands or influencers that you like, or having friends introduce you to someone you might like to know. The truth is, you always need to be networking.” Malie explained that networking is an important aspect of everyday life. Whether you’re looking for a new job, trying to promote your work, or just looking to stay up to date with the happenings in the industry, you need to build a strong network.  “You don’t only network when you are looking for a job; you network to create a group of people that you can always turn to for support in helping you reach your goals.” When it comes to networking, many people wait until they need something from others to reach out. Malie advised our scholars not to do so. “Don’t wait to connect with people until you need something. Keep them updated on your work; create a conversation. This way, when you do need something, it can come up naturally and won’t seem rude.” Bingham also pointed out that connecting with people who work at companies of interest to you is a good way to get your foot in the door. “It is proven that you will get more jobs through people that you know, instead of just by applying to jobs posted on job boards.  Connect with humans, not a black hole, and you are more likely to see positive results.”

Malie Bingham has been a designer at PVH since 2002, specializing in cut & sew knits and sweaters. In 2016, Malie founded Pick Glass, an online resource for fashion industry professionals.  She uses her platform to help educate industry members on how to navigate their network and stay up to date with what is going on in the fashion world. Malie is an involved member of the YMA FSF community, and our scholars were fortunate enough to be able receive advice from her on how to approach networking in the fashion industry.

 “Tell me the truth,” Malie asked, “What do you all think about networking? When people hear the word ‘networking,’ a lot of people think about networking events, reaching out to brands or influencers that you like, or having friends introduce you to someone you might like to know. The truth is, you always need to be networking.” Malie explained that networking is an important aspect of everyday life. Whether you’re looking for a new job, trying to promote your work, or just looking to stay up to date with the happenings in the industry, you need to build a strong network.  “You don’t only network when you are looking for a job; you network to create a group of people that you can always turn to for support in helping you reach your goals.”

When it comes to networking, many people wait until they need something from others to reach out. Malie advised our scholars not to do so. “Don’t wait to connect with people until you need something. Keep them updated on your work; create a conversation. This way, when you do need something, it can come up naturally and won’t seem rude.” Bingham also pointed out that connecting with people who work at companies of interest to you is a good way to get your foot in the door. “It is proven that you will get more jobs through people that you know, instead of just by applying to jobs posted on job boards.  Connect with humans, not a black hole, and you are more likely to see positive results.”

Growing your network is a truly fundamental part of progressing on your own career journey. “Your network is your net worth,” Malie said. “Many people feel like your work should speak for itself, so you need to make sure that your network knows your work and its value. When your network knows the worth of your work, more opportunities will come your way.” The hardest part of networking for many people is not the initial connection, but staying in touch later. Malie stressed that keeping your connections in the loop as you further your career is a great way to strengthen your ties. She went on to explain that staying in touch doesn’t have to be complicated. “For example, before you leave your job this summer, send your superiors personalized thank you notes,” she suggested. She also recommended initiating conversation on LinkedIn or through email by asking your connections a question, such as “Are you still working at XYZ Company?” Using a question to begin a conversation raises your chances of getting a response.

Growing your network is a truly fundamental part of progressing on your own career journey. “Your network is your net worth,” Malie said. “Many people feel like your work should speak for itself, so you need to make sure that your network knows your work and its value. When your network knows the worth of your work, more opportunities will come your way.” The hardest part of networking for many people is not the initial connection, but staying in touch later. Malie stressed that keeping your connections in the loop as you further your career is a great way to strengthen your ties. She went on to explain that staying in touch doesn’t have to be complicated. “For example, before you leave your job this summer, send your superiors personalized thank you notes,” she suggested. She also recommended initiating conversation on LinkedIn or through email by asking your connections a question, such as “Are you still working at XYZ Company?” Using a question to begin a conversation raises your chances of getting a response.

“You said a good way to connect with people is to update them on what you’re involved in. Are people really interested in keeping up with that we are doing?” one scholar asked. “Yes,” Malie replied, “But you should try and ask them about themselves as well. You can thank people for the time they’ve spent with you or for things they’ve taught you; people like to feel appreciated. Make the person you’re connecting with feel good about it.”   “In the past after an internship,” another student asked, “I’d ask for a letter of recommendation, and I wouldn’t receive a response. How do I deal with that type of situation?” Malie reiterated the importance of following up with your connections. “I know a lot of people are very busy in this industry,” Malie said. “Try following up a second time to give them a gentle nudge. Additionally, you could even write a recommendation for them on LinkedIn! Do a small write up of how much you enjoyed working there and what you learned.” “Networking is really important in every career field,” one scholar noted. “How does the fashion industry differ in terms of networking?” Malie responded that the fashion industry is a lot more concentrated on partnership. “I think that it’s more about collaboration in the fashion industry. PVH is a huge company with many buildings. Even so, I’ve had to work with lots of people in many different departments to get projects completed. People are also doing tons of start-ups now in collaboration with many other different people – not just other fashion industry workers, but people from every sector,” she said. “Collaboration is the new currency.”

“You said a good way to connect with people is to update them on what you’re involved in. Are people really interested in keeping up with that we are doing?” one scholar asked. “Yes,” Malie replied, “But you should try and ask them about themselves as well. You can thank people for the time they’ve spent with you or for things they’ve taught you; people like to feel appreciated. Make the person you’re connecting with feel good about it.”
 
“In the past after an internship,” another student asked, “I’d ask for a letter of recommendation, and I wouldn’t receive a response. How do I deal with that type of situation?” Malie reiterated the importance of following up with your connections. “I know a lot of people are very busy in this industry,” Malie said. “Try following up a second time to give them a gentle nudge. Additionally, you could even write a recommendation for them on LinkedIn! Do a small write up of how much you enjoyed working there and what you learned.”

“Networking is really important in every career field,” one scholar noted. “How does the fashion industry differ in terms of networking?” Malie responded that the fashion industry is a lot more concentrated on partnership. “I think that it’s more about collaboration in the fashion industry. PVH is a huge company with many buildings. Even so, I’ve had to work with lots of people in many different departments to get projects completed. People are also doing tons of start-ups now in collaboration with many other different people – not just other fashion industry workers, but people from every sector,” she said. “Collaboration is the new currency.”

Malie’s Words of Wisdom: “Connect with humans and not a black hole.” “Your network is your net worth.” “Collaboration is the new currency.” “Always try to give more than you get.”

Malie’s Words of Wisdom:

“Connect with humans and not a black hole.”

“Your network is your net worth.”

“Collaboration is the new currency.”

“Always try to give more than you get.”