When I decided that I wanted to major in fashion merchandiser, I knew nothing about which career paths I could pursue. All I knew was that I liked the curriculum and that it combined fashion and business- two things I have a knack for. After doing extensive research, I learned that the opportunities were endless!
Here are 7 of my favorite careers, in no particular order of awesome-ness.
1. Fashion Designer
Yes, it’s true; you don’t need to major in fashion design to become a fashion designer. It is a common misconception within the world of fashion school students. However, if one has a natural knack for fashion design, and can or has already taught oneself the basics of sewing, another major could successfully be pursued. A fashion designer with a strong background in fashion merchandising (in this case a degree) will have extensive knowledge on trend-forecasting, branding, marketing, and other key factors in the success of an already-awesome line. While it’s true that an artful eye and raging sewing and fashion design skills are at the root, merchandising knowledge will gives a designer the upper-hand.
what a fashion designer does: study trends, sketch and design clothing, pattern-making, sew, attend trade shows, conduct fittings, communicate with clients
2. Visual Merchandiser
Although many fashion and art & design schools offer a major in visual merchandising, a degree in the more-general fashion merchandising can lead to a career as a visual merchandiser as well. You know those luminous, magnetic window displays you are drawn to when walking around downtown? The ones that no matter how hard you fight it, you just can’t resist pressing your nose and hands against? The ones that make your eyes glaze over, drool pour out, and your imagination run wild? That would be the work of the visual merchandiser, the creative mastermind whose job is to craft the most perfect window display that will draw potential shoppers and fellow dreamers into their store.
what visual merchandisers do: create holiday displays and store displays, rearrange fixtures, move merchandise to “floor set,” dressing mannequins, selecting and organizing overall store layout, applying decals and painting
3. Fashion Buyer
To all of my Shopaholics Anonymous peope, did you know that there is a such thing as a professional shopper? The main difference between this and your typical saturday morning shopping spree is that as a fashion buyer, you are picking and choosing for the masses. The job of the fashion buyer entails choosing what will be viscously clawed over in a particular store- AKA what a store will sell. Perfect for the trend-saavy, a fashion buyer pays close attention to what is “in” at any particular moment and stocks the store with items that will not sit on the racks decaying away all season. It is a real job and a crucial one at that. A fashion buyer is at the root of the determination of success of sales, and of a store itself, and can be one a brand’s strongest weapons.
what a fashion buyer does: meet with clients (suppliers) and maintaining a good relationship, purchase fashions, constantly follow and forecast trends, constant communication with clients, order clothes and negotiate prices, travel
4. Fashion Event Coordinator
Trunk shows, fashion week, mannequin modeling, model fittings- these should all be familiar to a fashion event coordinator. Like a conductor of a classical symphony, or the ringleader of a circus, a fashion event coordinator is what holds the big show together. Although on the outside it may look simple, this position is usually responsible for making sure every little detail runs smoothly- the creative visionary. “Fashion events” can constitute for a wide variety of things, but the most-coveted is definitely fashion week. Think Kelly Cutrone of Bravo’s Kell on Earth or MTV’s The Hills. The fashion event coordinator can have a huge impact on the success or humiliation of a designer or brand.
what a fashion even coordinator does: hire models, schedule and oversee fittings, book fashion shows, coordinate seating for fashion shows and other important events, finalize clothing and accessories choices, handle the public, plan event
5. Fashion Journalist/Editor
Another career that can surprisingly be created without major in the obvious field. Nowadays with the ever-blooming popularity of blogs, it seems as though every girl and her sister wants to be a fashion editor. It seems simple- writing about fashion and deciding the who what wear of a magazine; but in my opinion, fashion editors have one of the most difficult jobs in fashion. They must prepare each issue months in advance, oversee countless articles,pictures, layouts, etc. while juggling travel, staff, fashion news, and so much more. On top of that, as if there isn’t already enough competition in the fashion world alone, the top magazines are a whole new exclusive, dog-eat-dog realm. Although it is more work than the average person can handle, the right person, with extension knowledge of fashion, an eye for journalism form and layout, and a mammoth work ethic, can rise to the level of fashion publications such as Glamour, Teen Vogue, Nylon, and maybe even one day, Vogue.
what a fashion journalist does: oversee publication, create fashion magazine or newspaper, investigate fashion, fact-check, up-to-date on trends, designers, and shows, forecast trends, attend runway shows and fashion week, build reputation, select demographics, prepare months in advance, in charge of staff, develop image
6. Fashion Merchandiser
Duh! A fashion merchandiser must have strong visuals insight, a deep understanding of textiles, an articulate tongue, and of course, creative mind. So what exactly is a fashion merchandiser anyways? A fashion designer is the person who chooses the fabrics, textiles, and coloring of a garment. This is who is in charge of the image of a line of clothing in a way, and influences manufacturing by artistically combining the elements of fashion as the final step to a piece of clothing. Fashion skills are combined with business and production to assure the success of a garment.
What a fashion merchandiser does: works closely with designer, offers fashion and textile expertise, define target market, forecasting trends, selling to stores, negotiate with vendors
7. Fashion Marketer
Not to be confused with a fashion merchandiser, although the two often go hand-in-hand. As a fashion marketer, you play a huge role in the business side of fashion. I.E. strategic marketing (the way a brand is presented and sold) and evaluation of consumer habits. Marketing is the medium between the consumer and the brand, and is a vital role in a brand’s success or failure. This position isn’t all business, however. A fashion marketer must be fashion-savvy, and have a creative eye to create a memorable and unique campaign and image for a brand.
What a fashion marketer does: create a story for a brand, present memorable image, advertise, studie buyer habits, select and maintain specific demographic, design ads, marketing strategy
Boutique Owner. Or clothing store owner, but boutique sounds fancier.
Stylist. Think Rachel Zoe, minus the “I die.”
Costumer. Movies and concerts and runways- oh my!
Public Relations. Kelly Cutrone, you’re my hero!
Design Assistant. Every fashion designer’s best friend.
Store Manager. J.Crew, Marc Jacobs, Free People- the options are endless.
Internet retailer. Open your own store from the comfort of your laptop.
Pattern Maker. Cut and draw, just like in kindergarden!
Do you ever get the feeling that you are exactly where you are supposed to be? I don’t really believe in fate, but yesterday, I had the overwhelming sense that I was meant to be at Nordstrom Rack. Let me backtrack. So… with all of this Fall collection inspiration running through the office, I can’t help but think of the shoes I will need to match my must-have pieces for the fall. I want a shoe…
Deciding on one out of many fashion jobs can be a complicated task. There are quite a few different opportunities in the fashion industry but you may not be sure which one is best for you. With the high demand for fashion jobs, you need to be sure of what it is that you want to do so you can get started on pursuing your dream in this competitive industry. Down below you will find descriptions for many fashion jobs and, with a little luck, be one step closer to establishing your career in the fashion industry.
1. Fashion Designer
Thanks to shows like Project Runway, there are many people whose curiosity has been rised towards the fashion industry, particularly, fashion design. A career as a fashion designer seems alluring and rewarding but it takes a great deal of work. A fashion designer must be educated of the latest trends (and sometimes even be ahead of them) and have the creativity to conceptualize new designs. A fashion designer creates sketches, whether by hand or with computer-aided design (CAD) software, of their designs and must be familiar with fabrics and materials in order to create samples that show what the final product would look like. As a fashion designer you can specialize in clothing design, footwear or accessories. Fashion jobs like that of a fashion designer are prolonged with grueling hours of intensive work and lots of traveling if you want to promote your designs. Fashion designers work under pressure to meet deadlines and wow fashion buyers and other potential clients. As a fashion designer you would need not only talent and creativity but also thick skin and determination.
2. Fashion Merchandising
Fashion jobs in merchandising can be very tricky. A fashion merchandiser must know what consumers want, how to present it to them, what they want to pay for it and how to entice them to purchase. A fashion merchandiser is not just an expert in fashion but must also have strong business, financial and advertising talents. As a fashion designer you might find yourself creating budgets, tracking profits and losses, tracking inventory, developing marketing strategies and even putting together creative visual displays to catch the attention of consumers. It’s a career that entails many different roles but also has many opportunities to expand and advance in.
3. Fashion Buyer
Fashion buyers are among the most significant people for brands and companies. They must have very good communication skills, be aggressive, organized and calculated. As a fashion buyer you work hand in hand with designers, merchandisers and other key people to select what pieces to present to consumers and ensure that best-sellers are always available. Buyers must be knowledgeable of of both current and future trends so they can make the right choices of clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. to ensure high profits. Working with suppliers to negotiate prices indicates that a fashion buyer must have good interpersonal skills, be educated in market costs and also in consumer demands. Fashion buyers must be ready to work under pressure, travel and research and analyze in order to make practical decisions on what products to offer their target customer base.
4. Fashion Director
Fashion directors, commonly known as creative directors or fashion coordinators, are in charge of the image and look of a store, magazine or a fashion house. They are responsible for that first impression given when people look at ad campaigns, shoots and even fashion films. A fashion director must ensure that the models, photographers, location and concepts signify the store, brand, or magazine in the best and most appropriate way. One of the most renowned creative directors in the industry is Grace Coddington who, alongside Anna Wintour and other industry professionals, are a part of American Vogue. In the documentary “The September Issue” we are able to see Coddington showing us her best work and the steps she takes to produce the extraordinary spreads in Vogue. Now, don’t think it will be a piece of cake landing one of these fashion jobs. Be prepared for long hours of work, creative stumps, frequent traveling, crazy deadlines, and being willing to go back to the drawing board time and time again. Remember, as a fashion director you are responsible for the image of a brand; you produce something that the whole world will notice. People will base their thoughts on what you present to them. As one of the top fashion jobs in the industry, the pressure is on!
Fashion Jobs - The List Goes On
5. Fashion Forecaster
Probably one of the highest ranking careers in the fashion industry, fashion forecasters do just that, forecast the approaching trends and styles. This is much more tricky than forecasting the weather. Not only does a fashion forecaster need to have in depth knowledge of fashion but he or she must also be creative and surely have the skills necessary to research and analyze potential trends, colors, fabrics and patterns. Fashion forecasters seek motivation in everything from movies, music, even science and technology. Attaining a position as a fashion forecaster is one of the most prestigious of all fashion jobs you could aspire to.
6. Fashion Stylist
A fashion stylist has the basic (or is it?) task of making someone look good. A stylist must be familiar with what colors, fabrics and styles work best to flatter someone’s shape while also knowing ways that to accessorize and complete the perfect outfit. Fashion stylists are responsible for deciding on the best pieces for photoshoots, events, etc. and putting them together for the final product. A stylist’s reputation lies on how good the client looks and, in the case of ad campaigns, whether or not the stylist can communicate the image and vision of a product. Don’t be surprised if, as a fashion stylist, you find yourself traveling for inspiration or shopping for clothing, or even spending a day (or a few) revamping a client’s closet. Finding fashion jobs for stylists can be as very simple as working as a personal shopper or styling photoshoots for websites or local magazines or newspapers.
7. Fashion Photographer
It’s not just about knowing exactly how to take a good picture. Fashion photographers basically have two fields to be good at: fashion and photography. The photography part consists of knowing what angles, lighting, etc. As far as the fashion, photographers need to be experts in that as well. A fashion photographer are required to know what the best trends are, top designers, top fashion events and any other heavy hitter aspects of the industry. Fashion jobs in this field can normally include taking pictures for model portfolios, ad campaigns, and fashion shows. Fashion photographers are responsible for producing a shot that requires excellent technical skills and extensive fashion knowledge. For example, when a fashion photographer goes to shoot at a fashion show he or she must know exactly when to snap the shot of that model wearing the flowing dress. The picture must showcase how the fabric moves and flows instead of displaying a dress that falls limp and drags on the floor. A fashion photographer works hand in hand with stylists, makeup artists and models to ensure that the final product is efficient in sending a visual message.
8. Fashion Editor
Fashion editors supervise the direction of a fashion publication, website and other media. They are trusted for editing a fashion writer’s work, making suggestions, and analyzing the potential of future stories. Fashion writers must be aware of trends and classics to make certain that coverage is provided for the target audience. A fashion editor works under the pressure of meeting deadlines, supervising writers, discovering features and fresh ideas all while staying current on the industry and scanning the opposition. Some of the qualities necessary for one of these fashion jobs are being organized, punctual, able to communicate verbally and have impecable writing and journalistic skills. Being one of the most competitive fashion jobs in the industry, a fashion editor needs to be ready to put some time and energy in and spend long nights brewing up good quality, creative content.
9. Fashion Writer
Being a fashion writer is not as uncomplicated as picking up a pen and paper (or laptop, tablet, etc.) but includes extensive amounts of research. Fashion writers must be current on their knowledge of fashion and creative when drumming up writing ideas. Of course, excellent writing skills are a must and meeting deadlines are also crucial in this career. Fashion writers can execute interviews, cover fashion events and present reviews of products. You have a choice of working as a freelance writer, with television shows, websites, blogs, smaller publications which include local magazines and newspapers or with major publications such as Vogue or Elle, among others. This is one of those fashion jobs where you can find many opportunities and can be fairly simple to get started.
10. Fashion PR (Fashion Public Relations)
Creating a positive consumer opinion is of the utmost importance for this fashion job. Where advertising and marketing can create a consumer desire to purchase a distinct fashion item, public relations manages the image in its relation to the public eye. Public opinion can determine the success and longevity of a company. Out of all the fashion jobs mentioned, fashion pr is the piece that ties it all together.
Fashion Jobs that Require WORK!
Whatever one of these fashion jobs you decide to make your career, remember that in such a aggressive industry it’s important to put in a lot of hard work and to be determined. All employers look for something that make their next hire special and capable of making their publication, line, show, or website shine amongst the rest. What is it that you have to offer that others don’t have? How motivated are you? Tell us, which one of these fashion jobs appeal to you the most?
Applying for Fashion Design School Can Change Your Life
At some point every little has dreamed of going to fashion school. It’s a fast paced, artistic and highly profitable environment. Fashion design school isn’t always easy though, it requires an intense application process and tough classes. Even though it isn’t the same as say, Engineering, it still emphasizes on artistic skill, math for drawing, and promoting your ideas.
The application process is the same as joining any other college, but you will need a portfolio to show off your talent and skills. It may help to have solid copies of your designs on hand too. Fashion involves knowing how to sketch your ideas, math for measurements and drawings, as well as the ability to construct pieces from almost anything.
The challenges of fashion art school are considerable. You will be in an environment with many others that are fighting for the same attention. You will have to compete and outshine the rest in order to ensure that you stand out from the crowd - which is the most important concept for fashion school.
In all honesty applying for fashion design school in fashionable cities is highly recommended. Going to school in New York City is the best option, and then various schools in California or Chicago. These big cities are the epicenters of fashion - and will give you great experience and edge over other students. If you can afford it, fashion schools in countries like Italy and France are excellent opportunities to hone your skill at designing.
Classes you may take while attending fashion design school include: business classes, art, photography, mathematics and English, history of fashion, and even graphic design courses. It truly depends on what type of clothing you want to create and what your overall goals are for a career in this field. However, business is likely one of the most important courses you can take. Since being a designer is a business, you must know how to be an ethical owner of a company, and how to deal with customers. Business classes will also help you learn to communicate with clients and sell your product to them more effectively.
While it seems easy initially, it’s far from that. You will still have to take basic classes as well as intense art classes to ensure that you understand the fundamentals of fabrics, colors, and more. Fashion design isn’t just about making pretty clothes all day. It takes a great deal of skill and work to achieve the results that you want and what is demanded by the client and the world around you. Also, this type of school can become pretty expensive. Luckily for most, scholarships, grants, and loans, are all a possibility. These monetary benefits can help you pay for your tuition so that you can stay in school while working towards an awesome career in the fashion field.
From Concept to Consumer – Part 4: Merchandising Management
As we get one step closer to the consumer, let’s focus on fashion merchandising management – a broad category that includes buying, allocations, planning, product development, sales managers, account executives, retail management, and marketing roles. Professionals in these roles work for the fiber and textile companies as well as apparel producers to merchandise and market the products to the ultimate consumer.
Developing a merchandising and/or marketing plan falls on your shoulders as you consider merchandise positioning, brand imagery, targeting, and segmentation of a product. The ability to choose and merchandise a product, pinpoint a target audience, develop marketing tests, and analyze results will determine the success of the business. Industry specific computer technology will be used to extract and analyze data for future planning and allocation and to manage inventory levels and sales.
If you love math (or you don’t mind it), successful reporting requires the ability to calculate, interpret, and respond to financial planning and control reports of the merchandising and store operational teams. Reports include sales analyses, maintained markup reports, gross margin, seasonal plans, and additional data as required by the company.
You will make decisions involving inventory models, inventory replenishment, and seasonal and long-term merchandising strategies. Merchandise assortment planning also falls under the merchandising umbrella. Essentially, the fate of a collection post-production is in your hands.
Furthermore, retail’s ongoing move towards an omni-channel approach offers additional opportunities for those who wish to pursue a career in this field. Omni-channel retailing is rapidly gaining momentum in the industry as consumers gain control of the shopping experience and demand to shop whenever and wherever they choose. Digital and mobile opportunities will continue to expand creating additional opportunities for those who are more technologically inclined.
Fashion merchandising management offers a range of career paths depending on the segment that interests you. The finished product is in your hands and making it desirable to your target customer is your highest priority. From buying to product development, the opportunities are endless. For the sales-oriented, account executive and retail management roles may appeal to your selling abilities. The merchandising and marketing professionals ensure the product is presented to consumers as intended by the company’s standards. Regardless of the role that you choose to specialize in, you will have a direct impact on the overall business.
What’s one easy thing you can do to almost guarantee you get a
response, call or interview for that fashion job? It starts with what
you write in your cover letter. See below!
To Christie Lohr,
I’m excited to be applying to your PR/Marketing Intern role at Style
Nine to Five. I’ve been a long time follower of your company and love
what you do…(then go into why you’d be a great fit with examples of
education and previous experience).
Get overlooked with the below:
To Whom in May Concern,
I’m interested in applying to your company…(this shows us you’ve done
zero research and you’re applying to every job on Style Nine to Five.)
I get a lot of people telling me, “I’ve applied to so many jobs, but I
haven’t heard back.” This is why. This isn’t anything new and I know
I’ve talked about this before but I’m STILL seeing this! In such a
competitive industry, this is the simplest way to stand out.
shameless plug. my friend Sandra at London-based blogazine Curated5 included yours truly in the first installment of her career interviews. her site has great content in fashion, beauty, lifestyle, careers and more, as well as a great social media presence. follow @Curated5 on social media, like them on FB and head over to Curated5.com for your daily dose!
From Amy’s Desk: Teen Vogue intern extraordinaire, Jasmin Plantin gifted me this illustration—I wear this Comme de Garcon jacket and the Alaia heels all the time! She made me look so much better than reality and I love the Edward Scissorhands! Jasmin is so special, she did many illustrations of our editors. - Amy Astley