Sunday, February 17, 2019 | ePaper

Skills to be a fashion industry manager

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Alyssa Walker :
If you are into fashion and business, the multibillion dollar industry of fashion management is the path for you. Fashion marketing managers have the huge yet exciting task of overseeing the branding, advertising, and consumer reactions to marketing campaigns and fashion products.
It takes more than a passion for fashion to make it in the business. It takes high levels of acuity, patience, vision, development, and strategy.
Let's take a closer look at what you need for success in the fashion world-and one place where you can learn the ropes.
1. Brand strategy
What's brand strategy? If you know the Nike swoosh, the Starbucks mermaid, Coke's white wave, or McDonald's golden arches, then you understand what successful brand strategy looks like.
It is the ability to tell a brand's story with a logo or a sound. It's ubiquitous recognition and storytelling through the product and its packaging.
A brand must be able to communicate what it is, what it stands for, and why you want it in the flash of an eye.
A brand strategy delivers a consistent, timeless core message quickly, succinctly, and in a way that makes it desirable to consumers.
2. Marketing and communication
Stellar communication skills are key to just about any profession including the fashion industry. Designers and merchandisers specifically need to understand the art of the pitch, which demands the right mix of precision, confidence, and succinctness.
They also need to communicate effectively with their teams and manufacturers about material supply, costs, and timelines.
Negotiation skills are another must in this world of rapid fashion communication. You need to know how to think, write, and speak off the cuff-and get what you want.
3. Business development
Fashion is more than product. After all, there's a process from idea to showroom floor. As a fashion industry manager at any level-boutique or mass production-you need to know how a business operates.
First on the list? Your budget. Your business can't do anything without a budget and to have a clear budget, you need a clear plan with a strategy and vision.
How do you develop these business skills? It all starts with your entrepreneurial vision… 4.    Entrepreneurial vision
Creating a brand? You need a clear, simple vision of what you want your brand to be and for whom. This vision needs to be clear, developed, detailed, and definite. It also needs to be simple.
It is easier said than done, though. Think of Nike, Starbucks, and McDonald's. Regardless of what you think of the products, someone at the top had a clear vision and followed through. We know those brands. Those brands know us.
5.    A place to learn it all
Where do you learn all of this? That's the easy part: Italy, the heart of fashion!
You can earn your master's degree in Fashion Business at IED Florence. Nestled in the centre of Italy, students there immerse themselves in collaborative efforts with some of the world's biggest brands.
This master's degree is aimed at those who have completed their undergraduate degrees in communication, economics, fashion design, or styling, and to other young professionals who want to develop a solid training and career in fashion management.
In Florence, you will have the chance to see firsthand how the city's cultural heritage combines with its manufacturing traditions and technological innovation, making it the perfect place to both learn and work in the industry.
The master's program in Fashion Business at IED covers fashion business systems, brand strategies, marketing and communication, and business development. Students develop the skills to become competent fashion professionals, learn how to start a business, launch a brand, and market their products.
Former student Michelle El Gemayel, management professional and founder of Michelle Gem, said of the course, "IED was the only university that was able to cover all the aspects that I had worked in. It covers marketing, everything in management, advertising, everything PR and online. I chose Florence because I chose Italy and [in Florence] we had the option to visit production companies - Gucci, Stefano Ricci and all the major fashion production companies."
She concluded, "It was the ideal place to study for me."

(Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family).

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