How Business and Fashion Fit Together
Usually when I tell people that I am studying to be in fashion, their response is, “So you like, design stuff?” While design is a very important part of fashion and I do like to sketch, the business side of it is not as familiar to a lot of people. This is because merchandisers are usually behind the scenes. When you go shopping online and see a line of oversized sweaters or boyfriend jeans, you don’t wonder about the math that went into predicting this trend or the people that traveled the world observing it. You just buy the clothes that you see others wearing. When you see a gorgeous dress on the red carpet, you usually hear more about who designed it, rather than who styled the ensemble. Due to this, business and design are seen as opposites, but I am going to talk about how they merge together. The main parts of fashion merchandising are manufacturing, marketing, buying, and selling.
This aspect can be found in a product management major as well, which proves that all parts of fashion work hand in hand. A manufacturer not only makes the clothes, but they incorporate math and psychology to make a product that people will want to buy. The measurements of an item must match and be symmetrical. The fabrics, fibers, and texture of every piece must be appealing to the customer. A background in psychology is recommended because in order to sell to someone, you need to know what they want.
It is imperative to market based on who you want buying your product. You could make the most amazing satin dress in the world, but if you do not market it, then no one will buy it. Paulette Warwick, from Paulette Warwick, Argentium Silver Jewelry, explains to me that her clientele buys for the every day look. Most of her customers purchase pieces as gifts or as something subtle to make an outfit stand out. On the other hand, Anthony Camargo, who founded Anthony Nak, sells his jewelry for clients that wear it themselves and are looking for something that no one has. His customers come to him looking for pieces that will stun. Getting to know your demographic, is key to getting them to buy.
Fashion Buyers are people that style others and sell the merchandise. This can be in the form of a company hiring someone to be a buyer for them or someone to place the merchandise in the store. The business that I am aiming for is a fashion buyer that is hired by a company. This job would entail people coming to the store or brand and not necessarily knowing what they want. They would come to me and I would put together pieces that I think they would like based on their preferences, budget, and other accommodations. I have always been interested in this because it takes the appeal of the clothes and the business of selling them and combines them. No matter what I do, I want to work with people, so this job is perfect for me.
This part is also known as retail. It is similar to the marketing aspect, but selling to me incorporates not just how you sell, but everything that comes after. Putting out clothes in an appealing manor and targeting the clientele you want is marking, but actually selling the clothes is retail. Many people these days sell online so marketing is key because they don’t talk to an actual sales person, but for the brick and mortar stores, friendly staff that know what they are talking about is essential. Paulette Warwick started her career in fashion after she met Anthony. She did not know that she wanted to create jewelry until she met him. Anthony recalls walking into a bead store and selling some of his designs to the woman that worked there, Paulette. Her boss walked up behind her and said to Anthony, “Those are not your designs. You are just copying Anthony Nak’s designs, which is impossible to do believe me”. Anthony looked up at him and said, “Yes that’s true, but I am Anthony”. Since then, Paulette and Anthony have been friends. Paulette’s business skills mixed with Anthony’s creativity, create an incredible partnership.
In order to have a successful brand, both business and creativity need to work together. That is what I aspire to do through fashion merchandising. It combines both aspects so that you are equipped for any task.