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When hearing the phrase Fashion Communication, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Fashion, but with a message? Or communication solutions for fashion maybe? Well, we’d say a little bit of both but oh so much more. The very fabric of fashion is evolving every day and is not simply limited to the clothes anymore but also a part of the things that we see in daily life like advertisements, magazines and even the very store that we step in while buying those aforementioned clothes. So how does fashion communication work in a practical setting? And what is the scope of fashion communication? Let’s find out.
With the fashion and lifestyle industry constantly going through changes, it has become even more imperative for brands to change themselves to be able to adapt and evolve. Due to this, fashion often becomes an avenue for brands to express themselves and reach out to their target audiences. Here are some ways to do that:
To make a name for a brand mainly using physical channels of marketing such as standees, posters, adaptive store layouts and even counter arrangement, all of this and more constitutes the role of a visual merchandiser. To be more effective and keep up with the ever-changing trends, several brands are now opting to have their own in-house visual merchandising teams. This has not only led to an increase in students going for this field but it has also opened other avenues of opportunities for fashion communication graduates.
A picture says a thousand words indeed. It is the same with fashion photography. Usually, a fashion photographer would be restricted to doing shoots for magazines, cover jackets, packaging and even promotional materials. However, with the integration of the fashion and lifestyle industry, the scope of fashion photography has become vast. The inclusion of fast fashion brands, online shopping platforms and influencers has also had a big impact on the growing role of fashion photographers. So much so that now fashion photographers have the option of either working with an organisation directly or going freelance and accepting photography assignments on a project-to-project basis.
The scope of fashion journalism has changed from writing just about the latest fashion styles and trends. The digital age has introduced the medium of social media and blogging sites into the mix, taking fashion journalism from simply being a written form of fashion communication to being an audio-visual medium. Multiplatform collaboration opportunities are also available depending on the brand/product being endorsed. Apart from having exemplary writing skills, fashion journalists are often required to have good interpersonal and communication skills to create a rapport with the interviewee and further develop connections within the fashion industry.
The world of fashion styling is all about styling fashion pieces in such a way that they can make the brand stand out with a statement. Fashion styling appeals to its audiences through the visual medium of fashion. A fashion stylist can contribute greatly toward creating an identity for the brand. Stylists can either work in direct association with brands or on a freelance basis. Apart from working with brands, fashion stylists are also required for fashion shoots, movies, TV shows, etc. Celebrities also often have personal fashion stylists for events and occasions.
Fashion communication graduates now are not just limited to fashion houses and brands anymore and can further join varied roles as/in:
An avenue of fashion is always dedicated to advertising. Making sure the brand is visible to its customer is always the main aim of advertising. More so in the case of fashion advertising, where the brand needs to have a unique identity to stand out amongst the masses. Using fashion to advertise brands has opened up new avenues for advertisers. The fashion and lifestyle industry usually go hand in hand with fashion advertising. Some fashion brands advertise themselves as products that can be directly integrated into the lifestyles of their customers, thus increasing their customer base along with creating a unique selling point for themselves.
Fashion marketing is a branch of marketing that deals mostly with fashion-related brands. Designing better communication solutions for fashion, fashion marketers often make use of different tools of advertising and marketing in the way of online and offline mediums to promote their brands. From television, radio and newspaper advertisements to social media posts, they all fall under the umbrella of fashion marketing.
PR is often known as the way to create an identity of a product or a brand in the consumer’s mind. The same way fashion PR works in making sure the brand stands out and is visible to the audiences amongst all the other competitors. For this, fashion PR often works in collaboration with other branches of fashion communication such as stylists, influencers, advertisers and marketers.
From conceptualising shoots to producing customer videography, all of these activities fall under the scope of a fashion art director. It is a multi-disciplinary role that often requires constructing a layout of the creative vision of a brand. This can then be used by other departments for creating advertisements, store layouts, fashion shoots, etc. An art director often helps the brand in conceptualising its style of visual communication that is compatible with the brand’s values and identity.
Retail space designer
Walking into a store, what is the first thing that you notice? The store layout? Advertising posters on the wall? Or the window display from the outside? Well, what if we tell you that this is all not just some random arrangement done by the store employees? Retail space designers are very much in demand. From designing the store layout to the window display, and even the light placement in some cases, are all arranged by a dedicated retail space designer. They can sometimes collaborate with visual merchandisers to help make the store more appealing. Be it a permanent store or simply a popup shop, more and more brands are now inclined to have a retail space designer to ensure their brands are being aptly represented to the customer.
One of the more visually appealing career opportunities, an influencer can be working solely on a single or multiple social media platforms either independently or in association with a brand. This way they can use the audiovisual medium to help promote a brand among other things. Alternatively, independent influencers can also monetize their content after a certain number of followers have been attained and can then either form a long term or short term collaboration with brands to promote their content on their channel/page. A number of metrics are also available to help measure the reach and visibility of content created for and shared on social media.
Fashion bloggers often make use of written mediums to help promote brands. Like all the other branches of fashion communication, bloggers can either work with a particular brand or go independent with the opportunity for collaboration once a certain number of readership has been reached on their blogs. Sometimes, bloggers are provided with pictures and exclusive promotional material from the brands to create hype for the products and build anticipation during product launches. While vlogging has become more popular as a medium of fashion communication, bloggers are very much in demand due to the longevity of their content and appeal to niche audiences.
The fashion industry is synonymous with its larger than life fashion shows and pop-up installations that often leave the audiences wanting for more. Organising and managing large scale fashion events for brands is often done by dedicated event managers who have a good understanding of the world of fashion.
While the digital age is slowly taking over the fashion industry, we have to admit that the physical store spaces are here to stay. Thus, an amalgamation of the physical and digital spaces has led to the phygital age of fashion. While lifestyle brands often go for the visual appeal of fashion to promote themselves, sometimes it is not enough. The same goes for online-only stores, which often face the fear of content saturation and lack of “original” content after a while. This has led to the collaboration of brands with other artists to create an image of the brand with the consumers. The Selfridges X Depop Space collab is an amazing example of a brand like Selfridges using the Depop Space to appeal to their more fashion-conscious customers by sourcing second-hand clothes and collaborating with local designers to make their experiences more pocket friendly. Not only that, but some of the Depop collection is only available for sale online instead of the physical Depop Space at the Selfridges store, evoking a sense of urgency amongst the buyers.
Fashion communication goes beyond the basic idea of creating fashion garments. The fashion here can use forms of verbal, visual, audiovisual and even written communication to be able to express themselves to the audiences. This way it allows people from different parts of the industry to opt for it. Some premier institutes like IIAD offer Fashion Communication courses. Taught by the best of the best, IIAD helps bring international exposure to the students with the help of its fashion communication course. Not just that, but one can also get a leg up with IIAD’s collaboration with the renowned Kingston University, London.
Fashion Communication is not just about using the tools of communication to establish the unique identity of a brand. It is also about helping the brand express itself to its audiences. Due to the dynamic nature of the fashion industry, brands are always open to adopting new practices, which makes it exciting for students to explore new avenues and tools for fashion communication. Providing communication solutions for fashion is not just an arbitrary role anymore and the recent advancement in technology has only served to widen the scope of opportunities for fashion communication graduates. So when looking for an exciting and dynamic opportunity to work in the world of fashion, students can most definitely consider going for Fashion Communication as their stepping stone into the industry.
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