Ever wondered how one obscure fashion brand focused on a particular type of garment or an accessory suddenly succeeds in business and finds the right audience? To the outsiders, such development might seem curious, since there is no exact step-by-step guide on how to succeed in the fashion business. To people from the industry, the reason behind the “sudden success” (if there is such a thing) is obvious: the brand relied on the knowledge of an experienced fashion manager. Or at least they found the right business model to follow.
The following lines will not tackle creativity or judge someone’s talent. In fact, we’re going to focus on a less-glamorous side of the fashion industry – its business models. Finding the right business strategy that works in this ever-changing industry is tricky. Just like trends and faces, business strategies in fashion change almost every two seasons to keep up with technological developments and market shifts. Still, some solid pieces of advice are good for every season. Here’s our list of pillars for a successful fashion business…
There is no substitute for experience, but a broad and solid educational foundation can prepare you for a number of challenges ahead. Today, there is a number of programs that offer a broad palette of knowledge on the business side of fashion. Comprehensive and multidisciplinary programs such as this master in fashion management cover all the different aspects of building and running a fashion brand, from product development and business management to marketing, communication and beyond.
Aside from theoretical knowledge, through mentorship by industry practitioners students get all the skills needed to become fashion management professionals by employing real life case studies and actual industry projects that place them in a genuine context. The main benefit of these programs is that they are designed to cover the entire scope of complexity of running a fashion business, from the first concept down to product launch, helping future professionals grasp the full extent of the challenge ahead.
As noted before, fashion management is a complex blend of fashion design, creativity, talent management, marketing, product and business development. None of these fields is less important than the other, and a deep understanding of all of them is the only thing that will prepare you for the ever-changing industry landscape. Things move pretty quickly in the fashion business, and you have to be ready to adapt to different circumstances every now and then. This will require a sound analysis of the playing field and the ability to predict future challenges and have ready answers.
Let us tell you a secret: successful companies are usually not the most profitable ones. Yes, success is commonly measured by monetary means, but you should consider sacrificing instant gratification and focusing on long term health and stability. Building up a solid team and a strong company culture can prove highly beneficial in the long run, as it is a prerequisite for an extended career in a highly competitive industry.
Understanding the consumer
There is no such thing as one imaginary consumer who always acts in a certain way. Even more than in other industries, fashion consumers are constantly changing their minds, and the fashion scene itself is to blame for that. Your job as a business owner is to make sure that they change their minds in a way that is suitable for you.
Learning to swim in both independent and commercial waters might be the hardest thing of all. But, whoever gets the same level of appreciation both in London and Milan is definitely on the right track. After all, it all comes down to communication, the skill that takes the longest time to mold. So remember, the way you communicate with your employees, your customers, with professional fashion management and other creative minds is crucial in creating an upward career path.
Ultimately, building a healthy fashion brand is a multi-faceted continuous effort that will require you to employ all your skills and knowledge. Before you begin, it is strongly advisable to expand your vocabulary with a systematic education that will prepare you for all the challenges lying ahead.