Fashion your future - Career choices
- BY: TEREZA BERKEMEIER
- Oct. 2, 2018
The global fashion industry has seen environmental, economical and business impacts which is shifting consumer behaviour, the current challenge is to understand the ever-changing needs of customers within this market. In this changing environment what can fashion students consider and be proactive with to enter into the workforce and make their mark.
Learn the industry as a whole
Learn how the whole business works whether you’re a emerging designer, buyer or even an aspiring stylist. Should you get time,try to look beyond the glamour of this seductive industry and learn the whole value chain of fashion. Don’t be too quick to turn down opportunities that seem irrelevant to the path you are pursuing. Every aspect of the industry from production, warehouse, buying, retail, events, PR and marketing can only be advantageous to your future role to learn and know more about each category. So make your internships varied sometimes learning what you dont want to do can give you an advantage in the future. The long-lasting veterans in the fashion industry have some knowledge of how each process works.
Image Source: Fashion Spot
Social media was created to tell a story and those who use it succesfully understand that social media is a tool that tells YOUR story. Your passions, style and personal commitments can be viewed by the people you work on projects with and future employees. At one of the top fashion schools in the world Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) annual ideas festival in 2017, Founder and Chief Executive of Business of Fashion Imran Ahmed spoke of Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss using their social media platforms to not only inform and influence their followers but to communicate to their world on their personal commitments.
Karlie Kloss used her daily Vlog by creating ‘Making of a Met Gala Gown’ which gave insight into the process of creating for one of the worlds largest fashion events . Gigi Hadid’s father was a refugee to the USA as the family have been working with UNICEF for some time. She recently visited Bangladesh to see UNICEF learning centres that are within refugee camps. With this Gigi shared her experience to her social media platforms, shining a light on the work that UNICEF are doing with displaced children. Both models are an example that social media can enable, influence and create ideas and use cleverly as a part of their fashion careers. It doesnt hurt to use your social media wisely for your own career.
Having some experience with technology is advantageous in the fashion industry whether you are hoping to become a designer, buyer, runway show producer, communications or sales. We take a look at how 3D Printing, Data Science, Material Research and Development and Sustainability are important technologies for the industry.
Image Source: Iris Van Herpen
One of the most costly and challenging aspects for a designer is manufacturing. The adoption of 3D printing makes manufacturing easier it is a technology has made manufacturing easier, quick and cost efficient making it easer for entry level designers. Heavt fashion hitters like Iris Van Herpen and Chanel are using 3D print technology within their collections. 3D printing starts with nothing and adds material as the creations evolve, this minimises the huge amounts of textile waste that can happen with traditional methods.
Sandra Geiss - Data Scientist for Lyst. Image Source: Stylist Magazine
Dubbed as one of the sexiest jobs by Harvard Business Review data scientists are becoming an important role within fashion start-ups and established fashion brands. There are many fashion houses that have data scientists using statistics and quantitative methods to gain understanding of human behaviour. Understanding Artificial intelligence including predictive data has been helpful with forecasting, capacity planning and merchandising for retail fashion and online buying. For fashion aggregators like Lyst, The Iconic or Net-a-Porter who catalogue hundreds of products it may not be feasible in the future for individuals to manage all this content. Data Science is definitely the solution to this. Sandra Geiss is a data scientist for fashion platform Lyst, in a interview with Stylist Magazine she spoke of how she loved fashion and changed her vocation from astrophysics to fashion. She also shared about one of the projects she is working on is identifying material of a garment from just viewing a picture.
Smart Materials Pinatex - Image Source: The Guardian
Fabric Research and Development
There have been numerous breakthroughs in fabric and material development like Lycra and Gore-tex which revolutionised the active and outdoor wear in the industry. Ralph Lauren used technology enabled shirts which was trialled at the US Open in 2014. The shirts monitored heart rates and stress levels of the players. Smart materials are very much a stake in the future of fashion.
Organisations like Fashion Revolution are shaking up and reshaping mindsets to make considered choices by consumers following the detrimental impact fast fashion has had on people, the planet and animals. Long established business models like H&M, Zara are changing in response to this shift with brands and companies willing to try new things to take their business forward in an effort not to be left in the dust.
Instagram stars are taking second place to the voices with substance. The new champions of fashion giving us facts, figures and the real economy of fashion. With the likes of Sarah Ditty, Clare Press and Jennifer Nini who are not only smart, straight forward and factual voices of fashion reason. They are also gorgeous leaders in the space of sustainability. Sustainability consultants are becoming core to business models as more and more fashion houses and brands focus of whatever it takes to ensure their companies are doing whatever it can to integrate sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. Patagonia one of the US’s largest outdoor wear companies builds its reputation on sustainability it offers a mobile repair service where they offer to fix their garments for their customers free of charge. Rachel Cantu who is Vice President of Patagonia has stated what many businesses are echoing today. “As consumers become more conscious with their buying decisions, the demand for companies to be able to demonstrate radical transparency and measurable improvement in both environmental and social impacts of their supply chains will be more and more critical.”
Hilary Kerr the CEO and Co-Founder of Who What Wear sums up today's industry she stated “Once upon a time, the fashion industry was super specialised and totally hierarchical: editors edited, writers wrote, and stylists styled, period. You didn’t get to step outside your very specific box, pretty much ever. But in today’s working world, the most successful people are proficient at everything. They can write the perfect tweet, assemble a polished presentation, create and curate content, and really take a hands-on, 360-degree approach to all aspects of their work.”
Wherever your career may lead you, be inspired and stay ahead of the game by understanding the ever-changing needs of customers and perhaps with an open approach you will be able to establish a firm foundation with many paths to choose from.