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The rapid growth and recent advancements have forced the fashion industry to adapt and branch out, taking roots in different sectors. One of these is the Business Management Industry. Just like the process of designing fabric is essential to a designer, the nitty-gritty behind the scenes on how to run the brand is important to a fashion business management student. Let’s take a look at the significance of fashion business management and discuss the overall scope of this field. So let’s get started!
Jumping straight into the middle, every designer knows that while creativity is an important aspect of the fashion business, so is making sure the brand is sustainable in the long term. Often brands sacrifice short-term benefits for long-term gains. But how do they figure it all out? Well, this is where we understand the importance of fashion business management in the industry. Understanding the business side of things to be able to stay operational is key in fashion business management. This involves a lot of different moving parts to work. With its integration into the Fashion industry, the business management side of things has also experienced a change. From playing an essential role in uncovering new trends to making sure supply chains run smoothly, all of these activities highlight the importance of fashion management in the industry.
With the entry of fast fashion into the market and increased demands for goods within the fashion industry, it has become even more imperative for brands to be able to run their business smoothly from the sketching of the garments to the final port of delivery. Fashion Business Management helps streamline the process and makes sure the business side of things runs smoothly. This has led to ethical business practices to be adopted industry-wide and has recently grown in popularity, hence the brands need to be able to adapt according to the changes while evaluating their risks and rewards. So let’s explore in detail everything you need to know about fashion business management and the different kinds of professions connected to it.
Predicting customer purchasing patterns and product demand by making use of previously available data like purchase history and market trends is what demand forecasting is all about. But it doesn’t end here. Demand forecasting professionals also help brands in taking decisions about major business decisions that ultimately end up affecting product inventories, supply chains and profitability margins amongst other things. Anticipating demand means brands can have an insight into upcoming cash flow, helping them plan out their expenditures and optimize operations. This also helps in avoiding excess inventory and supply chain issues.
True to its name, brand management is managing a brand and making sure it stays in business. But its overall functions include so much more. Brand Management aptly helps in highlighting the importance of fashion management in brands by helping develop strategies and plans to ensure brands keep up with the ever-changing customer demands, while also building a loyal customer base on the side. Using direct and indirect channels of marketing, the brand management branch of fashion business management aids in the price elevation of products by building a strong awareness and positive association between the brand and its products. Popular brands like Nike, Puma, Addidas, etc. are prime examples of how brands benefit from onboard brand management personnel.
One wouldn’t think the public relations branch of business would be suited for fashion. However, with the emergence and subsequent dominance of fashion business management in the industry, public relations became the norm. In a world where styles become obsolete within seconds, brands need to make sure they remain relevant to their audiences. By creating an image, a narrative of sorts, they’re able to maintain that relationship. Furthermore, to uphold the image created, they again require public relations professionals. They can participate in advertising and marketing meetings along with having input towards elements that help maintain the brand images, ranging from styles down to the store layouts. Media relations, crisis management and internal communications, all fall under the umbrella of public relations.
Working closely with brands, independent stores and even directly with designers, fashion buyers primarily helps in selecting items that need to be stocked. Depending on the size of the brand, fashion buyers sometimes also take part in the marketing and promotional activities. Sourcing of products is a crucial task for it might vary from region to region, with a plethora of other factors involved. For example, the Christian Dior store in Paris and New York will carry a different variety of garments depending on the country, currently prevalent styles and cultural preferences. Fashion buyers also participate in price negotiation for the goods procured and coordinate with different departments within the brand to make sure in-demand items are stocked and out-of-fashion ones are taken off inventory, amongst other things.
This role encompasses several functions and sheds light on the importance of fashion management in the industry. Retail buying, visual merchandise planning, supply chain management, and even apparel organisation, all of these fall under the umbrella of retail management. Retail management also acts as the placeholder between customers and brands. Even the simple act of buying inventory off the manufacturer and eventually delivering it to the customer is a function of retail management. Apart from this, they also ensure brands have positive working relations with manufacturers. The entire journey from fibre to fabric to the shelves; is all done under the supervision of retail management. Smooth day-to-day running of brands by coordinating with different departments is also a function that requires the participation of retail management.
Logistics and Supply Chains
A garment has been designed, stitched and is sitting packed in the warehouse. Now how does it go from there to the customer? Simple, through a network of logistics and supply chains. Most brands either have their dedicated supply chains or are partnered with companies that exclusively provide them with logistical services. Consisting of a number of moving parts, the logistics and supply chains need to run like a well-oiled machine for this process starts from the procurement of raw materials and ends at the final delivery of the product.
For any brand to be able to sell well, it needs to look well first. This doesn’t just mean product designs or shop floor management. Also putting a spotlight on the significance of fashion business management, advertising is an important tool of marketing that helps brands be visible. Moving beyond the traditional advertising models of pamphlets, print ads and billboards, social media banners and product placements seem to be the avenue to go for. While ads and banners online seem to be skippable, done right, product placement is not. In the blockbuster Squid Games, Vans hit big with their white slip-on Vans sneakers being worn by the participants of the game as a part of their “uniform”. Variety reported the company experienced a massive 7,800% increase in the sale of the shoe post the success of the show. While slip-ons in general also say a 97% rise in search volume worldwide.
We’ve all seen Meryl Streep run a tight ship as an editor of a fashion magazine in Devil Wear’s Prada. Alternatively, Anna Wintour is probably one of the first names that come to mind when thinking about fashion journalism. During her tenure, she’s not only reported on fashion but also had a hand in creating some of the most famous ones, while predicting others long before they hit the shelves. A fashion economist, on the other hand, has a slightly different job description. With the consumers now being able to voice their opinions strongly and freely, to the point of directly causing effects on brands, It means brands need to be more authentic but with a heavy dose of caution. Fashion economists study the impact of brands, the reach of their clothes and the reception by the consumers and evaluate them through numbers and data.
Visual Merchandising and Styling
Visibility and uniqueness always prove to be important factors for any brand's longevity. Moving beyond simply designing garments and putting them on racks, a visual merchandiser helps in elevating a customer’s shopping experience by creating a visual appeal for them. Store management, advertisement placements, mannequins, layout, till placements, etc. all of these fall under the umbrella of a visual merchandiser. Stylists are the cherry on top. At times working in tandem with the visual merchandisers, stylists take care of the placement of products. While the visual merchandiser tries to highlight the brand’s identity and have an impact on customers’ overall shopping experience, stylists are usually in charge of the products available in the store. From mannequin fashion to display window displays of the latest trends and even rack placements, they are all done by the stylists.
While these are merely a few roles students can pursue in the field of Fashion Business Management, there’s still the question of how to get into this field in the first place.
Who can go for it
While Fashion Business Management is still a newcomer in the industry, there are specialised courses available for students who want to opt for them. If students want to opt for any of the aforementioned fields, they can consider going for the Fashion Business Management course offered by IIAD. A premier institute in the world of fashion and design, IIAD has one of the best facilities and faculties available to help students realise their dreams. Their collaboration with Kingston University, London will further give students exposure to international industry standards. Post this, students can choose to work with several well-known brands. There is also the scope of going freelance or working in collaboration with studios or stylists.
While Fashion Business Management is still a relatively new path within the industry, it is rapidly expanding in terms of roles and responsibilities. Taking a sneak peek into the more analytical side of the fashion industry, it is expanding on the importance of fashion management and the dominance of fashion business management in the industry. But since it is still growing, there is also a lot of experimental learning involved, giving this sector of the fashion industry a creative edge. As this field grows, so will the opportunities, giving students a chance to keep experimenting with other fields of business management and further integrate them into everyday fashion practices.
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