If you want to build an empire, there are few industries as glamorous and alluring as fashion. It’s a hub for creatives and innovators, from designers and photographers to stylists and illustrators. Artistic spirits will flourish in the fashion world, but it’s also a place where shrewd business minds are essential. Any successful fashion label will have a strategic business plan to back it up.
You don’t need to have a degree from one of the world’s top fashion schools to make it in the industry. In fact, a business degree from your local university is much more helpful than you know. Read on to find out how you can go into fashion with a business degree.
How does business relate to fashion?
Fashion is a multifaceted entity. It’s generally considered a form of self-expression and a cultural movement, but it’s also a multi-billion dollar industry. All of the exquisite garments that we use to reveal our personalities and enhance our appearance stem from a business. They may be referred to as fashion houses, but at the end of the day, they are still businesses that need to make a profit.
Behind each item is a symbiotic team of designers and business people. The most beautiful garment on earth may never see the light of day if it isn’t marketed properly, which is where business comes in. A great fashion designer will know that their brand won’t survive on great patterns and fabrics alone. In order to thrive, they’ll need to know all about profitability, sales tactics, and marketing strategies. Even if they eventually hire a team to manage these things, it will always be beneficial for a designer to understand the foundations of business.
The fashion industry is made up of thousands of brands, many of which belong to conglomerates that navigate the business side of things. From the legendary luxury groups like LVMH and Kering to high street giants like Inditex and H&M Group, there will always be countless business roles available within the fashion industry.
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Abilities that both business people and fashion designers have
Fashion designers and business people are entrepreneurs with innovative mindsets. They have an acute understanding of their target customer and their needs, as well as a thorough knowledge of industry trends and competitor activity. Designers must also learn about budgeting and managing people as their business expands. They are constantly adapting and finding new opportunities that will make their companies as successful as possible.
Some of the best fashion designers in the world are also excellent business people. Thakoon Panichgul, the founder of the eponymous label Thakoon, studied business because he knew he would be able to use his degree to leverage his skills within the fashion industry. The designer’s intuition was correct. His brand catapulted to success after its initial launch in 2004 and remained one of the top contemporary brands in America throughout the 2000s and 2010s.
Iconic designer Giorgio Armani is also a noteworthy entrepreneur. He was one of the first luxury designers to expand his business to the masses through other avenues, including beauty collections and intermediary lines with lower price points. The luxury house also curates unique customer experiences with its branded restaurants and hotels.
The emergence of the fashion business careers
Business has become an indispensable counterpart to design in today’s fashion landscape. Many major colleges and universities offer courses for those interested in the business side of fashion, including the illustrious Parsons School of Design, London’s University of the Arts, and New York University.
Fashion Business Management is one of the most popular degree options for those who wish to combine their love of fashion with their interest in business. Every brand needs professionals with business savvy to help them prosper in the fast-paced world of fashion. Studying Fashion Business Management will teach you how to successfully run a brand. You’ll learn about leadership skills and management concepts, market and trend analysis, product life cycles, consumer expectations, and pricing models. It’s an advantageous degree option for both aspiring designers and those that want a business-focused role within the fashion industry.
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What other fashion roles can you do with a business degree?
Having a business degree will give you a competitive edge as a fashion designer, as you’ll know how to construct and sell stylish garments. You may want to take two separate courses, one for business and one for design if it’s your goal to create your own fashion label or work for an established one.
Those that want to focus entirely on business will also have plenty of career options, and they’ll likely find their business degrees very useful. Here are some fashion roles you can land with a business degree:
- Buyer. Make profits soar by choosing the best selection of apparel and accessories for your retail location. Buying is an analytical job that requires plenty of market research, trend forecasting, and budgeting, but it also involves glamorous fashion shows and fun buying appointments.
- Merchandiser. Maximize profits by working closely with buyers to determine ideal stock levels and ensure a consistent stock flow.
- Boutique/e-commerce store owner. Have you always dreamed of owning your own boutique? Thorough knowledge of the business can make it happen. The skills you learned while earning your business degree will teach you how to open your very own brick-and-mortar or e-commerce boutique.
- Brand manager. Lead teams, drive sales and establish a strong company culture as a brand manager. This is a role that can exist on a retail or corporate level.
Your business degree can go a long way in the fashion industry. Whether you want to create the next major luxury fashion house or you want to work behind the scenes of a brand you’ve always admired, your business skillset will surely help your company stay one step ahead of the competition.