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Fashion Designer's Family Furious After She Refuses To Give Her Stepdaughter A Job

Photo: George Dolgikh / CanvaPro
Young fashion designer sitting on a desk.

Nepotism, otherwise known as the privilege of influential people giving out jobs and opportunities to their inner circle, is a common practice in most industries including fashion. However, stories, like the one a fashion designer posted on Reddit’s “AITA,” are evidence that there’s still hope for self-made, less-connected artists to actually make a name for themselves amongst the fashion elite and inner circle.

A fashion CEO rejected her stepdaughter's application for a job at her design company.

This fashion designer couldn’t have expected the backlash she received after allowing her stepdaughter to apply for an opening at her company.

“She’s dreamed of working in the fashion industry since she was young … she took many courses and I might say she’s good at picking colors,” the woman admitted. “She’s a good stylist but not a good designer.” 

   

   

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She admitted to understanding the struggle of finding “a place” in the fashion industry and alluded to her own obstacles in finding a role as a unique, less influential designer starting her career. Because of that, she founded her own small company over 16 years ago, one that she built from the ground up. 

“It was very small and low budget, but I was lucky enough to expand it to where it is now,” she wrote. "Part of my expansion plan was to hire other young designers so my team and I are quite selective of who gets the job and who doesn’t because the designs are products we sell so it has to be good and passed by the judgment board."

This fashion designer admitted that she wasn’t ‘the only person’ responsible for hiring. 

With her incredible founding team and a variety of talent, she admitted that she wasn't “the sole judge” of who gets hired at the company. While she ultimately has the power to overstep her employees' decisions, she prefers to “hear what others have” to say and side with their expertise. 

Fashion Designer's Family Furious After She Refuses To Give Her Stepdaughter A JobPhoto: Los Muertos Crew / Canva Pro

Knowing all of this, her husband reached out to her asking if she could hire her 23-year-old stepdaughter, Mia, as a designer at the company. Despite knowing that Mia wasn’t “a good designer,” she urged her husband to have her submit an application like any other potential employee. 

“I think he was kinda surprised when I said ‘apply’ instead of an immediate yes, but he still told Mia,” she said. “She sent a ‘thank you’ text for helping her … I don’t know what my husband told her.” In her reply, she simply stated that she was excited to review her application materials and wished her luck in the team’s judgment process. 

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When her team rejected the application, her husband and stepdaughter were furious, saying it was ‘nonsense’ and that she ‘failed’ her daughter. 

When the day came around to review her materials, her team was unanimous in deciding she wasn’t a great fit for the company, as “Nobody saw her stuff ‘on par’ with our criteria.”

“Let’s just say all [expletive] got loose from here,” the woman honestly admitted.

When her husband saw the rejection email, he immediately felt betrayed and reminded her of all the work Mia had done “to achieve her dream.” However, the woman couldn’t allow herself to “bend the system” for her daughter.

“My credibility would sink … if Mia got in, her fellow designers won’t respect her,” she wrote. “It’s a huge risk for me ethically and financially.” 

Fashion Designer's Family Furious After She Refuses To Give Her Stepdaughter A JobPhoto: sefa ozel / Canva Pro

Even when Mia sent her a message saying she “didn’t want to see or hear from [her] anymore,” the woman couldn’t justify the nepotism-backed behavior. She’d gotten into the industry with talent, and if her stepdaughter wanted that, “she could apply somewhere else and get accepted.”

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Ultimately, networking and building connections are essential to landing a job but that doesn’t mean you should expect to land a job with zero experience. 

Having connections and knowing people in your “dream industry” are essential to getting your foot in the door, especially in the current job market. However, knowing the boss or making connections with employees is not going to secure you a job automatically, but it might land you an interview or get your application in front of the right people.

Employment expert Hanna Goefft shares tips on TikTok about maximizing network connections to land a job. She urges anyone in the job market to actively listen in interviews, find support in your network, and morph yourself into the “perfect person” to tackle company gaps. 

   

   

It’s a narrative that many employment experts and job seekers are starting to understand. Your connections are everything. That doesn’t mean your mom or friend can place you in a role you aren't qualified for, but it does mean they can act as a mentor or reference in finding you the best fit. 

Especially as an average job seeker in this impossible market, it's essential to make yourself useful, important, and knowledgeable. Even in companies where nepotism is prevalent, employers will have no choice but to see your value and keep you around. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.