One of the most important aspects of any fashion label is its brand. Being able to control your label's presence in the marketplace and ensuring your products sell are valuable skills but, like any role in the industry, fashion marketing positions are competitive and demanding.
Fashion labels aren't just looking for individuals with an eye for style to fill marketing positions - employees need to have a sharp mind for business and be able to handle the intense pressure of the industry. Fashion marketing combines creativity and business - how do you translate a style trend into a product... and sell it?
What is involved?
Successful fashion marketers usually combine business and textile knowledge with a skill for understanding customers' desires and behaviour. Marketers engage in extensive research to identify current and future trends along with target demographics: the people their brand is aimed at. This strategic research is turned into a marketing program - which involves building awareness, through advertising, PR events, press releases and social media. The ultimate goal of the marketer: sell as much product as possible.
Opportunities in marketing
The nature of the fashion industry makes it almost impossible to walk into marketing roles without some prior experience. Many employees working in fashion marketing started out in small, entry-level contract jobs, or internship positions - before working their way up into successful careers. Within the realm of fashion marketing, there are a variety of professional roles:
Strategist: responsible for the tactics behind a marketing strategy at all levels. Strategists work to develop the image of their brand, analyze market trends and create action plans for future products. They will also track the effectiveness of on-going marketing efforts for current products.
Buyer: fashion buyers respond to market research - heading out to meet designers and purchase products which meet the needs of their label's strategy. Buyers will need to travel, often internationally, have excellent communication skills and drive a hard bargain.
Co-ordinator: Co-ordinators are responsible for the commercial presence of their brand and for organising runway shows, photo-shoots, catalogues, press and television advertisements. Like other positions, co-ordinators must have a sharp eye for business and be able to work creatively at the same time.
Merchandise managers: merchandise managers work with stores and departments to ensure the products reach their premises - and in sufficient volume. The role may also include an element of selection - ensuring the right kind of brands are sent to the right outlets.
Visual merchandising manager: Usually working in retail settings, visual merchandise managers come up with ways to make their store's products appeal to customers. Their duties include creative marketing within store premises: building and maintaining artistic store displays, organising promotional events and building clientele.
Whichever route you take into the fashion marketing, applying for a fashion school or relevant college course may offer an advantage. Degrees in fashion marketing not only offer crucial knowledge about the industry but give students practical experience through valuable opportunities to get involved in fashion shows, connect with companies for internships and develop portfolios.