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When talking about fashion, the first thing that comes to mind is glitzy runways, flamboyant garments, jewelry, hair, makeup, etc. As for communication, we tend to think of talking, writing posts, press releases and more. Then what is fashion communication? Well, simply put, fashion communication is a way of expressing the identity of a brand. Although recent times have taught us that it is so much more than this. With the latest addition of terms like brand consultant, influencer marketing, art director, and more, the universe of fashion communication seems to be free-flowing and rapidly expanding.
To understand the subspace of fashion communication better, we need to know more about the group head, Fashion Design. Let’s start with the big 3 in the fashion design spectrum: fashion communication, fashion business management and communication design. As it’s been defined above, fashion communication is a specialized domain that allows students to be able to make the audiences familiar with the identity of the brand. Fashion business, as the name suggests, gives the students an insight into the business side of things such as Supply chains, tracking consumer behavior, creating promotional plans, etc… Communication design, on the other hand, veers more towards illustrations, apps, page layouts, logo creation, etc. It works by creating eye-catching and compelling materials for its audiences, delivered through a range of visual media, both online and offline.
Here’s a detailed explanation for better understanding and comparison:
Progression of the industry has helped in expanding boundaries for its creators. For example, fashion communication involves being able to convey the psychology of a brand in the form of fashion. From the audiences, their perception of the designer and brand is based on what they see also plays a big part in making a brand memorable. Every little thing, from the dresses, accessories, even the hair and makeup, all play a big part in creating the audience’s perception of the designer and the brand. It is considered a relevant part of fashion communication for it creates an image of the brand in the mind of the audience, which the audiences might subconsciously categorize when looking at their works. While the concept of identity and reflection are parts of fashion psychology, they remain relevant when studying fashion communication as well.
Recent times have only served to push the boundaries of fashion, making it gender fluid, inclusive and welcoming to all. This, in turn, has created even more options and opportunities for students, both basic and experienced. So if one is looking to branch out as a fashion vlogger/blogger, fashion journalist, fashion influencer, or even as a visual merchandiser, then fashion communication is the way to go. For students who are at different levels of experience in the industry, fashion communication can serve as the tool to either help them get up and running or branch out and create a wider reach amongst their current audiences.
According to the Business Standard, a recent report by Unicommerce revealed that the e-commerce fashion industry witnessed a growth of about 51% in terms of order volume for FY21. While a part of this can be attributed to the restriction of movement of customers due to the ongoing pandemic situation, a huge chunk of it accounts for the effective use of fashion communication tools. Understanding and analyzing the market to adapt oneself, changing fashion trends based on social media popularity, employing social media influencers and image consultants to revamp or completely rebrand the company; everything contributes towards converting followers into potential customers. It helps that countries like India have a majorly younger population, making them more exposed to social media campaigns and well-versed in online/offline platforms.
With several brands recently cropping up, expanding, or merging, it takes special skills to be able to stand out from the rest. Online culture and ease of information availability, while, has given some brands the push to stand up and perform, it has also caused an oversaturation in the market for others. This has also led to an increase in demand for fashion communication experts to be able to create a distinctive identity for the brand that, apart from being relatable, should also be unique enough to be remembered over all the others.
After discussing fashion communication in detail, a question remains. Is it the right fit for you? As has already been discussed in this article, fashion communication offers brands the chance to express themselves through fashion. Hence, the scope of fashion communication is also vast. Students from different backgrounds can take up fashion communication courses as long as they have the desire to express themselves creatively and uniquely. Other fashion communication career opportunities include brand marketing/management, advertising and PR for fashion houses and brands, image consultants, content creators for website and print media, etc. Courses primarily focus on related fields of communication like graphic designing, spaces, media and communication with a focus on fashion. New materials, experimental projects and combination modules help students understand the basics of brand development, with emphasis on brand impact and visibility. Students are equipped with tools meant for the different types of brands available in the market to further suit their needs and requirements. Social media marketing, UI/UX design, fashion photography, fashion spaces development, concept base creation, etc. are some of the minors available when opting for a Fashion Communication course.
Having a career in fashion communication is not just limited to influencer or marketing roles. Thanks to the rapid advancement of online platforms, particularly social media, the scope of fashion communication career opportunities has grown even wider. Social media influencers, fashion vloggers, online reviewers, and DIY channels have served to further create opportunities for students both in India and abroad. Here are a few career options students can choose from:
Other career prospects include Brand Manager, Fashion Journalist, Visual Communications Expert, Graphic Designer, Art Designer, Stylist, Trends Analyst, etc.
Different career prospects attract different salary ranges and structures. For example, for a social media influencer working full time, the salary would depend on the monetization of content and the ability to convert social media followers into customers. The same goes for bloggers, vloggers, photographers, and other freelance individuals. Whereas for a visual merchandiser, the salary will be more static, with major fluctuations depending on their position and previous experience.
A few recent examples of fashion communication tools being used: In 2017, luxury fashion brand Ted Baker introduced its limited sitcom-like series titled “Keeping up with the Bakers” that ran on their social media accounts. On their website, making use of interactive 360° viewing, the customers were able to poke around the Baker family house and buy products via popup links. Social media influencers were also used as part of the campaign, helping spread the word via their respective audiences. Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 was streamed on Amazon in 2020. To create hype around the event, the Insta handle of the show posted a series of posts with “warning” messages preceding the image of the cast member. Along with streaming show trailers, custom landing pages and influencer posts were sent out with embedded product information.
Depending on the advancement in online technologies, there’s potential for future changes in the line of fashion communication. Livestream shopping is slowly gaining traction in the market. Influencers and photography experts are often hired to do live streams displaying the latest fashion. The live stream often contains information about the products with elaborated graphics and texts. On the other hand, fast fashion brands like Shien are using trend analysts to gauge recent market trends. Then, via online avenues like Tik Tok, trends are created, encouraging customers to shop to keep up with the trend. From being able to identify and improve content with the help of AI to having consumer information in the form of data banks, from the ever-increasing reach of the internet to the ability to do more and more from a mere smartphone, the prospects of fashion communication in both national and international spaces developing further are highly possible.
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