I once read that the fashion industry is like football – everybody wants to get in. This is true in many ways. Although fashion is tough and competitive, it is also highly rewarding. In my experience, fashion companies are nothing like we’ve seen in movies like The Devil Wears Prada—a great movie though! Fashion companies tend to have flat hierarchies with fewer politics and more creativity. Be advised; however, that the fashion industry is not as lucrative as banking or management consultancy, so if you are in it for the money perhaps you should reconsider your options.
What worked for me—and I think it’s the norm now—is to gain a qualification in business or, more specifically, in fashion, to opt to fashion buying jobs. I graduated in Fashion Business at the London College of Fashion and that worked out beautifully for me. I also had high-quality retail experience on the shop floor so it was the right match. You can see my Linkedin profile here.
Before, during or even after you graduate—or before your first few interviews—I am going to recommend that you read 3 books. Two of them aren’t technically fashion buying books, but trust me, that knowledge will be invaluable.
- Fashion Buying and Merchandising: From mass-market to luxury retail by Miguel Hebrero. This fashion buying book will equip you with the knowledge you need about who is who and who does what in a fashion company. I wrote it in 2015 and covers the basic that you MUST know.
- Principles of Marketing, Global Edition by Kotler and Armstrong. Every fashion buyer is a half marketeer, that’s why you must learn how to make meaningful connections with your target audience.
- Mathematics for Retail Buying: Bundle Book + Studio Access Card by Tepper. Karl Lagerfeld once said, “There is no fashion if nobody buys it”. This is very true that’s why you need to learn how to develop a profitable buying operation. Interviewers will love that you display business acumen since some buyers can end up being all over the place creative people, and that’s not good!
You should read all three of these books. They are equally important and the knowledge you acquire will accompany you forever. Additionally, don’t forget to follow my Youtube channel: Fashion Business Education. Enjoy!