Fashion is big business. Americans spend over $90 billion on clothing
According to Alan Daniels, a marketing consultant, it helps to have a lot
of energy if you want to pursue a career in fashion marketing. "The people
that are best suited to a career in fashion marketing are those that show
a real interest in both fashion and communication."
According to Celia Stall-Meadows, assistant professor of fashion marketing
at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, people who are interested in
pursuing a career in the fashion industry need to be service-oriented.
"A good place to develop service skills is by working in retailing, particularly
fashion retailing. This experience can be gained by starting at an early age
and working through high school and college in a retail environment."
Stall-Meadows points out that this early experience "gives a person an
employment advantage over a similar applicant with very little retailing experience.
"Employers look for related work experience as much as college education.
Continuous related work experience shows employers the applicant is focused
on a career goal."
Working in a high-profile industry such as fashion requires that you keep
up to date with the latest trends and styles, including what's hot and what's
not. But Daniels explains that just keeping up with the latest trends is not
"It is necessary to keep up to date on the latest fabrics, textures and
even the inspiration for the latest designs. Some of the most talented fashion
marketers have a broad range of knowledge in history, art and even popular
culture," he explains.
Stall-Meadows agrees with this assessment. "A well-rounded college degree
is important with a clothing, textiles and merchandising area of emphasis,"
"Work experience and a college degree provide an encompassing knowledge
of textile fabrications, garment construction, merchandising and marketing.
And an elevated taste level also helps!"
Aside from having a high energy level and an interest in the latest trends,
Stall-Meadows points out that visual appearance and poise are important requirements
in this style-conscious and public relations-oriented sector.
"Personal requirements also include an ability to prioritize and juggle
multiple tasks, an ability to delegate to others, great communications skills
[listening, writing, speaking in front of groups], good analytical skills
and a flair with numbers.
"[You also need] the ability to match and blend fabrics, fashion sense,
a willingness to work outside of your job description, assertiveness and,
of course, professionalism!"
At the Parsons School of Design in New York, students in the design and
marketing program study design esthetics and marketing basics.
Judith Tsantos, chair of the design and marketing department, notes that
many of the graduates enter the industry as managers of marketing departments,
account executives in advertising, multimedia, public relations and even fashion
Fashion Marketing and the Internet
We can get up-to-the-minute information about the latest trends around
the world just by turning on our computer.
According to Carrie Miller, a recent graduate from a fashion marketing
program, it is necessary to have basic computer skills, including a knowledge
of e-mail, spreadsheets, word processing and web-based marketing concepts.
Miller found work at an Internet marketing company when she finished her
degree program in fashion marketing. She notes that buyers spend a lot of
time surfing the web, researching competitors' websites and brainstorming
imaginative and innovative marketing ideas.
Stall-Meadows notes that although "mobility is desirable in the industry,
professionals in the fashion industry can be found in most cities. An interested
person should not disregard fashion marketing as an occupation simply because
they lack geographic mobility."
Again, the Internet has added to this flexibility. "Many people begin their
own businesses from home. Internet marketing or home-based manufacturing are
excellent career opportunities for those not wishing to relocate to a large
city," says Stall-Meadows.
Parsons School of Design
Offers a program in fashion marketing
A Look at Fashion Schools
Resource for information on fashion schools around the world