Careers in the fashion industry are some of the most highly sought after, but there are far more options than many people realize. Working in fashion is the combination of creativity, practical skill, and social intuition. The clothes we wear express who we are, how we feel and can make a huge difference in the way we see ourselves as individuals. While being a fashion designer is the career most fashion-fans will think of and aspire to, the reality is that very few make a real success of this career after years of dedication and hard work. Luckily, there are several other routes into the fashion industry, and each can be just as exciting and possibly even more so as they offer much more varied challenges.
Here are seven fantastic careers in the fashion industry to consider.
Becoming a fashion designer is a dream come true for many people, but it is not always the creative wonderland people assume it will be. When working with a commercial objective (whether it’s for your own brand or while working for a company), you will be required to create designs which suit industry trends. From lines and styles to colors and fabrics, a fashion designer needs to match their own artistry with what will sell and the restrictions of production. Of course, some designers manage to establish themselves as more independent trendsetters, but generally, most are freelancers who are hired to create garments which will sell.
To become a fashion designer, you will need to have an excellent understanding of fashion trends and history, knowledge of fabrics and other materials as well as modeling techniques. Creativity is also an absolute must, and you should be able to work in collaboration with stylists, product managers and pattern makers. There are several universities which offer fashion degrees and other certification programs.
A stylist is closely linked to a designer but is usually found within a company. By researching and analyzing fashion trends, a stylist creates a fashion collection. It includes drawing the designs to the inhouse style, presenting it to the product manager and then working with the pattern maker who will create the prototype. The fashion stylist will then work with the pattern maker to adjust the pattern until it is ready for mass production. The stylist may also be involved with the marketing campaign from the photography shoot and organizing fashion shows so that the theme of the collection is consistent.
- Pattern Maker
A pattern maker takes the designer’s vision and converts it into a 3D shape which can then be manufactured. They are the connection between design and the production process and will need to make samples and prototypes of garments to ensure all the necessary design requirements are met. Pattern makers are usually skilled in drawing, modeling, computer design and will also be responsible for assessing the finished product should any alterations be required. They also need to have an in-depth knowledge of fabrics, stitching techniques, and embellishments.
A fashion journalist is someone who writes and/or edits articles and blogs in order to promote or critique a particular brand or trend. It’s varied work which can either be done as an independent freelancer for third party fashion websites or magazines or by working for a company. The role involves a lot of research as well as meeting lots of new people regularly.
- PR Manager
The Public Relations or PR manager is sometimes referred to as a director of communications. While marketing can sit beneath this broader umbrella, marketing is more focused on advertising and sales while the PR manager is primarily concerned with the brand’s image and communications (both internal and external).
The PR manager is often the spokesperson for the brand and the first point of contact for media inquiries. The PR manager will work with the marketing team to ensure any campaigns are in line with the brand’s values and image while being sensitive to any current political, social, or economic trends. A successful public relations manager is someone with a high level of media knowledge, a fantastic communicator, and someone who is both reactive and adaptable.
- Product or Supply Chain Manager
A product manager in the fashion industry is essential when a brand is trying to ensure its products are in line with the market, the competition, and consumer demand. By collaborating with sales and the design departments, the product manager can manage the types of garments and the design themes which are produced. This includes working managing or overseeing the production process, supply chain management, sales analysis, and working with stores to ensure stock levels are appropriately managed and garments correctly displayed in each outlet.
An effective project manager needs to have excellent soft skills, such as people management, teamwork, and communication, as well as having an authoritative presence, negotiation skills, and a talent for planning and logistics. To excel in this career, you may way want to consider studying for a masters in supply chain management to develop your skills in this area.
A fashion marketer may also be referred to as a brand manager, but essentially it is their job to maximize sales of the products by engaging with consumers across a range of channels and advertising platforms. A marketer needs to create a story and a personality for a brand which resonates with target customers. This could be via TV or radio commercials, social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook, printed catalogs, or email marketing, to name just a few.
The marketing department (with technical IT development personnel) will also be responsible for the brand’s website to ensure its eCommerce functions and user experience are as effective as possible. This role requires a high level of creativity and the capacity to see market trends in order to create content which captures the imagination and persuades customers to purchase. A bachelor’s degree in marketing would be advantageous for someone looking to achieve the highest levels of management, but it is possible to secure an entry-level role and accrue the relevant experience that way.