Sleeping On The Subway, Having 5 Jobs & Other Harsh Realities Of Working In Fashion

Photographed by Meredith Hattam.
We'd like to believe Liza Minelli's heartfelt proclamation of New York (if you can "make it here, [you can] make it anywhere"), but making it here is getting farther and farther out of reach these days — especially in fashion. With sky-high housing costs, ever-increasing MTA fares, and the schooling and internships that require entry-level fashion employees to do a lot of work for nothing, it's a wonder anyone makes it here at all.

In the fashion industry in particular, entry-level salaries (and even plenty of the more senior ones) are notoriously low. And with so many major designers, brands, magazines, and website based here, paying your dues while paying your rent can feel damn near impossible. Sure, sticking it out can offer a huge payout, but the harsh realities of getting there are a hard pill to swallow.

We spoke with five New Yorkers in the industry — some more senior, some just starting out — about the true cost of living and working in fashion. From couch-surfing for a year to calling the L train a temporary home, struggling with addiction and worse, their perseverance is inspiring, and their stories heart wrenching. Is making it all it's cracked up to be? See what they have to say, ahead.