Fashion marketing is involved with analyzing the latest fashion trends and developing effective sales strategies based on these trends. The role of fashion marketer encompasses several interrelated activities, including:
- Researching current trends
- Being thoroughly familiar with the fashion industry
- Knowing the movers and shakers
- Understanding what makes certain trends popular
The fashion industry is huge – over a $1 billion a year in sales. A fashion marketer works to ensure a certain product line or concept receives wide notice in a way that helps generate sales. To that end, the marketer must work with a variety of people, everyone from designers to CEOs. A fashion marketer’s input can be instrumental in the development of new merchandise. With very few exceptions, a university degree is required to find work as a fashion marketer. Degrees are available in general marketing, but a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Merchandising or some other equivalent is considered the most useful.
A typical curriculum will include the following subjects:
- History of fashion
- Element sof design
- Retail management
- Retail buying simulation
- Fashion marketing and management
- Global sourcing and import buying
- Fashion aesthetics and style
- Private label product development
- Inside the Garment District
- Fashion textiles
- Graphic design
In addition, students usually get to specialize in one or more aspects of the “rag trade” as it is known in Manhattan’s Garment District. Upon graduation, a fashion marketer may have to start with somewhat obscure merchandisers before graduating to the “big leagues” (Ralph Lauren, Anne Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, etc.).
One reason individuals are attracted to the fashion marketing industry is that it has a long tradition of welcoming all different types of people, regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexual preference. The open-mindedness of fashion industry participants is considered necessary to foster creativity and innovation. New fashion is often a large gamble – critics can love or hate a designer’s new collection, but they are seldom neutral. While it is relatively easy to market well-reviewed fashions to the public, a fashion marketer is faced with a much larger challenge when critics universally pan a new line of clothes. The marketer must find clever ways to ensure the public has an opportunity to make up its own mind, which often is in disagreement with fashion critics. For people with the right mix of artistic and business skills, a career in fashion marketing can be both challenging and rewarding, but almost never dull.