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What Can Employees Learn From ‘The Devil Wears Prada’?

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The Devil Wears Prada (2006) is an interesting exploration of what it means to work in the fashion industry. It is filled to the brim with sarcasm and delight. The humour itself is well worth the price of the admission ticket – at least it was in 2006 when the movie was released. Of course, Meryl Streep puts in a stellar performance as the main protagonist, Miranda Priestly; the uber definition of a cutthroat fashion magazine editor. However, amidst the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood spectacular are there hidden depths to this Silver Screen production? Can today’s management (especially within the fashion environment) learn from the fictitious Priestly’s example? As Priestly mentors her protege, Andy Sachs, does she accurately prepare Andy for the cut-throat world of the fashion industry?

It is clear from the way Miranda Priestly talks to her staff, and especially her assistants, that she has worked hard to be in the position that she is. As Editor-in-Chief of Runway magazine, Miranda runs a fast-paced office and is very demanding in her job role. It’s clear from the design of her modern office that she runs a professional and successful high-fashion company. Her office is one of many offices that are inspired by the movies, that reflect just how important her job role is in the film.

One of the first lessons that Andy (Anne Hathaway) learns in The Devil Wears Prada is in her interview for a position at Runway magazine. Her first test she has to pass, before she even gets the role, is to prove to Miranda why she should have a position on her team. An elevator pitch is one of the most essential skills that those who want that dream position will have to master. An elevator pitch is an essential part of anyone’s verbal armory when it comes to selling oneself. If you cannot describe what sets you apart from the herd in under two minutes you do not have something to sell – or at least that which you are selling is undervalued. If you cannot highlight why you are a good option to choose for the job, then there are likely other candidates that can.

The second message that is contained in this movie is well worth learning for those who are going to be hanging on the coattails of someone successful. The message is to always be available. If you are nowhere to be seen then you are surplus to requirements. It is easy to lose yourself in the world of communication and distraction that we have available on our mobile devices. Miranda Priestly is a terrifyingly demanding boss, however, prospective employees should be aware of the fact that such bosses do exist – and they can impart wonderful lessons to those who simply are willing to go the distance – and learn.

“Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.”

This line is one of the most sarcastic responses of Streep’s character in the film (and she has many). It immediately puts those in attendance at the brainstorming session. It serves as an object lesson for those who want to be in the creative field – do not think within the box. One useful lesson to learn from this film is that individuals who are willing to think outside the box will be able to flourish well within the creative industry. This quote from Miranda can serve to show that sometimes you should dare to be different in order to succeed, especially in a cut-throat industry. Leaders are those who can scope out a business landscape and find a niche that sets aside their products and services from the competition.

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