Fashion retail offers a wide range of career opportunities in management; owing to the breadth of the scope of the fashion industry there is a large range of potential openings for the fashion minded graduate. Training programmes are widespread, and career progression can move at a rate of knots.
Broadly speaking, management roles within the fashion industry tend to congregate around retail management, supply and logistics, purchasing, merchandising & point of sale.
Whilst obviously fashion is an industry that is rooted in creativity, those who take the time to grasp the bigger picture of how the industry works are far more likely to succeed in their bid to get into the industry.
In terms of degrees that employers view as valuable, business, economics, design – any degree that has some relationship to these areas can serve you well. The most important thing to offer an employer is experience; if you ‘ve got an established track record of managing relationships, front facing customer service experience, or some managerial experience in retail, you have every chance of getting your foot on the ladder.
Some advice for getting started:
- Pick your targeted area of business carefully
There’s a big difference between a high street discount fashion retailer and an online luxury boutique. When you are planning your entry into the industry think ahead in terms of the route you want to carve out and the progression; scope out what sort of roles are needed and how they differ across different companies.
- Aim for a specialisation early on
If you want to work as a purchaser, for example, make sure that you are aiming for this as a career end goal, and be sure to aim for the right roles that offer the opportunity to get hands on experience of this. It can be hard to change your area of focus later on – if you’re on the wrong career path you might have to face the prospect of beginning somewhat from scratch. There’s no reason to stick to the path you find yourself on at first – it’s normal to dip a toe into different roles to get a taste of what’s on offer –but make sure to develop a focused plan once you’ve got a good idea of where you want to be.
Fashion demands a lot – it’s not the sort of industry for people who want to clock in, clock out and vanish at the end of the day. Networking and building industry connections is a vital part of working in any role within the industry and sooner or later you’ll need to get involved.
If you are nervous, or just starting out, initially there’s no need to aim skyward; getting to know your peers is a great start. The most important thing is to get to know likeminded people in the industry as much as you can as early as possible.
- Live and breathe fashion
Whilst experience is important, and good management skills are vital, so too is an appreciation of fashion itself. To understand the industry you need to understand its underlying trends, seasonality, and have an opinion on design, materials, manufacturing and so on. To work in the fashion industry is to take on fashion as a way of life; you have to love your work if you want to thrive.
To learn a little more about the duties of fashion management, check out some of our fashion management roles to get you started. If you think you’ve got the experience and passion, why not apply for a role today? To stay abreast of the latest issues affecting the fashion industry, consider subscribing to Drapers for the latest fashion and retail news.