In order to enjoy your job, and to excel in selling, you should have a passion for the product you sell. Interviewing for a job with a clothing retailer, they will almost for sure ask you at least one question about your relation to apparel and footwear. It can be “What’s your favorite clothing brand and why?”, or “Tell us what does your clothes mean to you”. The most common question of all, however, is the one about your passion for apparel and/or footwear.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. I included on my list answers for people who apply for a sales associate role in a retail store selling clothes, but also for future fashion designers, and product managers working with clothes. You will also find a couple of unconventional answers on my list, just for the case that you wanted to tell the hiring managers something unexpected, and stand out in this way. Do not forget to read also my notes below the answers for additional explanations.
7 sample answers to “Please describe your passion for apparel/footwear” interview question
- I just love how clothes help us express who we are, what we believe into, and sometimes also who we would like to become. The variety of options amazes me, all the materials, models, cuts, colors, everything. I can easily spend hours wandering in a shopping mall, checking pieces, trying them on, and eventually picking one that reflects my mood, or my secret desire on the given day. Obviously to work as a sales associate in a big clothing store would be a dream come true for someone like me.
- My passion goes beyond spending money and trying to look good. I search symmetry, looking for combinations that are in alignment with feng shui, simply for harmonizing combinations that soothe both the wearer and the observer of apparel/footwear. And I must say I can imagine many such combinations from the footwear and apparel displayed in your store. I would enjoy recommending such combinations to ladies coming here, making sure that they won’t resist and will come back again, for yet another great shopping experience.
- More than anything else, they are my creative inspiration. I love to follow different design lines, or just simply observe people in the streets, what they are wearing, and why, how it fits with both their personality and their surroundings, the impression they try to make on the rest of us, consciously or subconsciously. Understanding these desires and little nuances, I try to come up with my own designs, for different demographic groups and types of customers. Clothes mean a world to me, and I cannot really imagine doing anything else than designing clothes for living.
- I see behind them revenues and expenses. Because as a product manager, my primary goal is to make sure that the company makes money at the end of each quarter–and ideally loads of them. I have passion for clothes, but it isn’t a passion of a shopping addict who has to have one new piece each single day to satisfy his cravings. It is a passion of a manager, who understands how big this market is, and how much money we can make, if we do the right purchases, have a proper pricing policy in place, and run effective marketing campaigns at the right time of each month.
- I would describe my passion as bordering with obsession. The first thing I do after waking up is checking my Instagram feed, where I follow all major clothing brands and close to twenty designers I admire. I read industry news each day, and you can say that I basically live and breathe footwear and apparel, from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep–if I do not dream about clothes at night, which happens sometimes. But I do not see it as something negative. Each of us has some addictions. Someone cannot survive without a packet of cigarettes a day, and someone won’t get out of bed without a cup of coffee. For me clothes are my addiction, my obsession, and it would be wonderful if I can turn it into something positive, earning money while selling clothes.
- The only clothes I have passion for are sustainable clothes and shoes, made from plants not animals. The fashion industry is the second most water-intensive industry in the world, using over 90 billion cubic meters of water annually. We cannot go on like this, if we want to survive on the planet. That’s why I have passion only for expensive sustainable clothes, pieces you buy once a year and can wear them all year long and they won’t get worn out, such as shirts from sustainable merino wool, for example. It is time to change the consumer behavior. People have to shop responsibly. And it is my personal mission to help reverse the trend we observe right now, and help your amazing brand to get more into the spotlight, so more consumers opt for expensive and durable sustainable clothing, instead of buying cheap shirts they wear once and then throw into the garbage.
- I have passion for wearing expensive footwear and apparel, displaying it on my body I take great care of, exercising daily, eating healthy, trying to stay in an amazing shape. Obviously I like to undress as well, and display some swimsuit or lingerie on my body. That’s my real passion for clothes, and the reason why I try to get this modeling gig with you. I love your collection, there’s a lot of passion in your lingerie, and I think it would look beautiful on me, and the customers (and their boyfriends) will enjoy seeing it.
Adjust your answer to the job you try to get with apparel/footwear retailer, producer, designer
Lingerie model, aspiring fashion designer, sales associate working in a clothing store, and a product manager working for a shoe brand. Each of them should have passion for apparel and footwear, but each in their own way. Your goal is to convince the hiring managers that you have what it takes to excel in the job you try to get with them. That’s hard to do without having passion for the product–the right form of.
You would hardly make an impression saying that you enjoy spending thousands of clothes, if you were applying for a job of a fashion designer, or a product manager. It also would make little saying that you enjoy dressing up (or undressing), if you were trying to get a job of a sales associate. Think about the job, and pick the right form of passion. You will find plenty of examples in the answers above.
Connect your passion with your job choice
Many clothing retailers struggle with employee motivation. They have good looking sales associate in the store, but they are staring on their smartphones most of the day, barely approaching the customers. And if they approach them, there’s no desire to make something happen. Just the typical boring question “Can I help you?”.
On one hand, such a behavior isn’t completely unexpected. Most sales associates in clothing stores earn a minimum wage (or slightly better), so the employer can hardly expect the level of motivation of someone who earns six figures annually in some managerial or engineering job.
On the other hand, you should try to convince them that you are different–at least while you are trying to get the job with them in an interview. Explain how your passion motivates you. How you enjoy recommending apparel, footwear, accessories to the customers. Tell them how you enjoy matching the fitting pieces together, and making sure that the customer leaves the place with full bags of clothes, spending a lot, and at the same time thanking you for an amazing advice…
Unconventional answer can help you stand out in a big way
You should always think about the level of competition in your interview. How many other people interview for the job? Is it two, or twenty? How popular is the place you try to get a job at, and how well do they pay their employees?
Competing with few applicants only, you can go with conventional interview answers, such as no. 1 or no. 2 on my list. Just explaining your passion for apparel, and how it will make things easier for you in the job.
When you compete with many other people, however, you should be more creative. Saying the same thing ten other applicants will say will do you little good in this case. You have to try to stand out with your answers. Not necessarily with all of them, but at least with one or two. Check sample answer no. 6 on my list as a great example. Talking about sustainability and the problems of fashion industry, you can open an interesting discussion in an interview, and show them that you are a mature individual and see beyond the numbers and colors.
Sure enough, going for an unconventional answer is always a bit risky. Because not every store manager gives a damn about sustainability. Still, when you compete for a job with many other candidates, you have to take some risks…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- What do you enjoy most or least about teamwork?
- What makes you unique?
- In what areas do you believe you have most potential to grow professionally?