Looks can be deceiving. This old adage applies to fashion more than any other industry. Behind the shiny magazine covers, catwalk shows, and perfectly arranged shop windows, an enormous, multi-faceted business machine is at work.
It’s an industry that’s well-known for being difficult to break into. But the most sought-after jobs – editing, designing, modelling and so on, don’t make up the whole picture.
If you’re eager to make your way in the world of fashion, a raft of opportunities is available to you. In this post, we’ll take a look at five that are often overlooked.
1. Ethics Officer
The trend towards ethical fashion is undeniable. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the provenance and broader impact of their purchases; getting it wrong on the ethics front can be disastrous for business. Stories about poor working conditions or environmentally unsound practices, for example, can ruin a brand’s reputation.
Because of the impacts of textile manufacturing, sustainability is a significant concern for fashion businesses and many now hire dedicated sustainability officers. Along with shifting shopping habits, new legal factors must also be considered. This has created highly valued roles for professionals that can effectively maintain and monitor ethical business processes.
2. Trend Forecaster
The fashion industry changes at a breakneck pace. An item of clothing that’s in vogue today might be considered unthinkable next month.
Getting ahead of the curve represents a huge opportunity. And many companies are willing to hire people that can help them understand and adapt to the market.
But trend forecasting isn’t just about monitoring social media feeds. It’s a multi-disciplinary activity that demands an aptitude for data science and psychology along with an eye for the latest social media crazes.
The best trend forecasters combine an intuitive sense of the market with an ability to crunch large quantities of in-house customer data and market analytics.
3. Brand Designer
Brands are crucial in all business, irrespective of the market or sector. But in fashion, they’re absolutely essential. The industry is driven by brands, and this is particularly true of luxury segments. Billions of pounds every year are spent on building and renewing fashion-related brands.
Brand designers combine visual design with marketing to create images and narratives that connect with customers. Branding in the fashion industry is non-stop, and a large company might have dozens if not hundreds of projects that require dedicated branding strategies. Everything from big-name logos to the text on product packaging falls under the banner of branding.
4. Retail Buyer
Buyers are the people responsible for choosing which items a store will stock. They work with designers and manufacturers to select items that are likely to appeal to customers.
Larger retail outlets often have entire buying departments, with individuals that are responsible for a specific section like women’s casual wear or apparel.
Successful buyers must possess a range of abilities, including negotiation skills, an eye for trends, and an understanding of customer behavior. Their goal is to find the best products at the lowest prices. Sometimes, buyers will predict which items will be successful years in advance.
5. Small Business Consultant
It’s easy to view fashion as an industry that’s dominated by big brands. But small businesses are one of the biggest drivers of revenue. Small boutiques, independent designers, and artisan manufacturing companies, all play an important part in the bigger picture.
Many of these companies lack the resources to hire in-house business and marketing experts. Because of this, they will often seek out short-term consultants to help with tasks like brand strategy, marketing, trend forecasting, and more.
Working as a consultant for small businesses can be an incredibly lucrative career that doesn’t have some of the drawbacks of a more traditional role.
Considering a Career in the Fashion Business?
Fashion is an exciting and fast-moving industry with plenty of appeal for graduates. Careers in fashion boast high salaries and ample opportunities for advancement. Roles often demand business acumen combined with a flair for creativity.
If that sounds interesting, take a look at our Master in Fashion and Luxury Business. The program equips students with a wide set of practical skills for a successful career in fashion. Much of the training is also hands-on and emphasizes real-world experience.