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Fashion Marketers are in Style

Fashion is big business. Americans spend over $90 billion on clothing every year.

According to Alan Daniels, a marketing consultant, it helps to have a lot of energy if you want to pursue a career in fashion marketing. "The people that are best suited to a career in fashion marketing are those that show a real interest in both fashion and communication."

According to Celia Stall-Meadows, assistant professor of fashion marketing at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, people who are interested in pursuing a career in the fashion industry need to be service-oriented.

"A good place to develop service skills is by working in retailing, particularly fashion retailing. This experience can be gained by starting at an early age and working through high school and college in a retail environment."

Stall-Meadows points out that this early experience "gives a person an employment advantage over a similar applicant with very little retailing experience.

"Employers look for related work experience as much as college education. Continuous related work experience shows employers the applicant is focused on a career goal."

Working in a high-profile industry such as fashion requires that you keep up to date with the latest trends and styles, including what's hot and what's not. But Daniels explains that just keeping up with the latest trends is not enough.

"It is necessary to keep up to date on the latest fabrics, textures and even the inspiration for the latest designs. Some of the most talented fashion marketers have a broad range of knowledge in history, art and even popular culture," he explains.

Stall-Meadows agrees with this assessment. "A well-rounded college degree is important with a clothing, textiles and merchandising area of emphasis," she says.

"Work experience and a college degree provide an encompassing knowledge of textile fabrications, garment construction, merchandising and marketing. And an elevated taste level also helps!"

Other Skills

Aside from having a high energy level and an interest in the latest trends, Stall-Meadows points out that visual appearance and poise are important requirements in this style-conscious and public relations-oriented sector.

"Personal requirements also include an ability to prioritize and juggle multiple tasks, an ability to delegate to others, great communications skills [listening, writing, speaking in front of groups], good analytical skills and a flair with numbers.

"[You also need] the ability to match and blend fabrics, fashion sense, a willingness to work outside of your job description, assertiveness and, of course, professionalism!"

At the Parsons School of Design in New York, students in the design and marketing program study design esthetics and marketing basics.

Judith Tsantos, chair of the design and marketing department, notes that many of the graduates enter the industry as managers of marketing departments, account executives in advertising, multimedia, public relations and even fashion editors.

Fashion Marketing and the Internet

We can get up-to-the-minute information about the latest trends around the world just by turning on our computer.

According to Carrie Miller, a recent graduate from a fashion marketing program, it is necessary to have basic computer skills, including a knowledge of e-mail, spreadsheets, word processing and web-based marketing concepts.

Miller found work at an Internet marketing company when she finished her degree program in fashion marketing. She notes that buyers spend a lot of time surfing the web, researching competitors' websites and brainstorming imaginative and innovative marketing ideas.

Stall-Meadows notes that although "mobility is desirable in the industry, professionals in the fashion industry can be found in most cities. An interested person should not disregard fashion marketing as an occupation simply because they lack geographic mobility."

Again, the Internet has added to this flexibility. "Many people begin their own businesses from home. Internet marketing or home-based manufacturing are excellent career opportunities for those not wishing to relocate to a large city," says Stall-Meadows.


Parsons School of Design
Offers a program in fashion marketing

A Look at Fashion Schools
Resource for information on fashion schools around the world

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