Fashion Week Begins! How to Start a Career in Fashion

For all you fashionistas out there, this is the week you’ve long been waiting for. New York Fashion week kicked off on September 9 at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, with the entire fashion world holding its breath to see what clothes we’ll be wearing in Spring 2011.

The final products you’ll see over the next few days are the result of months of hard work and collaboration between a variety of players in the fashion industry. From the designers who make the clothes, to the models who wear them, to the stylists who use them for celebrity clients, everyone has a role in bringing the newest styles to the public eye.

If one of these jobs sounds like your dream career, now might be the time to consider a career in fashion. Whether you’re watching coverage of the shows online, or you’re lucky enough to be attending, there are a variety of careers you can consider as you watch the latest looks roll down the runway.

It all starts here…
Fashion Designer Careers
Days, weeks and months before Fashion Week begins, fashion designers begin sketching, planning, and designing clothes for upcoming seasons. With an extensive knowledge of fashion history, designers combine past trends, beautiful fabrics, and their vision of the future to create wearable works of art. The clothes they display on the runway eventually influence what we wear to work, to school, and even to the beach.

On the runway…
Modeling Careers
It’s not enough for clothes to look beautiful on the rack-NY Fashion Show attendees need to see how clothes move, hang and appear when they’re worn by real live human beings. That’s where fashion models come in. Although their jobs might appear easy on the outside, professional models have to cultivate their look, walk and attitude to help designers showcase their creations and make them appealing to stylists, editors, and merchandisers.

In the audience…
Fashion Stylist Careers
At Fashion Week, celebrities, style editors, and fashion stylists alike are in the audience to preview next season’s looks and trends. Attendance is extremely important for anyone in the styling world, as it gives them a chance to scout outfits for their clients, network with designers and other fashion insiders, and stay up-to-date on the hottest new designs.

From the runway to your closet…
Fashion Buyer & Merchandising Careers
As the hottest new looks are unveiled, fashion buyers and merchandisers get to work, deciding which designs and styles are right for their customers. Whether they work in large department stores or small, exclusive boutiques, fashion buyers and merchandisers are in charge of monitoring and predicting trends, deciding how much merchandise to order, and keeping an eye out for hot new items.

Ready to get started?
In addition to a passion for fashion, all of the careers listed above require an extensive knowledge of design principles, fabric and textiles, and fashion history. A fashion design degree can be a great place to start.

How To Shop As A Fashion Buyer

Clothing stores of all levels are always full of the season’s latest fashions and these styles aren’t just automatically shipped to the stores from the factories. Fashion buyers have to decide what is going to be sold in their stores and they choose each individual piece themselves. Then they order the quantity and it’s delivered to their stores to be sold. So how do these buyers find all of these fabulous pieces for the stores you shop in?

Fashion buyers have a few different ways of coming across clothes for their stores. They can visit local designers if they’re the type that likes to carry high-end, limited clothing. Or they can order pieces from factory magazines and have large quantities shipped. What happens for most stores that are mid-level and not looking for mass or limited quantities, is that they attend apparel shows.

Apparel shows are conventions where fashion designers and buyers can meet in one place and make orders. It’s often times a one-stop-shop for fashion buyers to fill all of their stock by choosing from hundreds of vendors in one location. Fashion designers and distributors from around the world will fill convention centers with their clothing, either samples of a large quantity or the entire stock of a limited design, and buyers come from all over the country to order the latest trends and styles.

The latest trend in apparel shows is the Virtual Storefront an online version of a vendor’s collection. Buyers can go online and view the entire stock or just a special selection of what the vendor has to offer before they visit the show, giving them a chance to decide who they would like to visit. The Virtual Storefront also provides fabric information and pricing to make shopping faster and easier on the buyer who has hundreds of stores to visit in a matter of days.

Not everyone has access to this temporary shopping mall, in order to access apparel conventions a buyer has to go through a long list of certifications to be sure that they’re not just the everyday shopper looking for a bargain. Buyers have to supply things like a business license, imprinted business check, merchant credit card, personalized business identification and proof of possession of the actual retail store that the clothing will be sold in.

Buyers have to take their jobs very seriously because they are setting their stores up for success for the next season. They have to choose the next big fashion statement so that customers will buy out their stock and make room for the next season’s apparel show finds. The life of a fashion buyer is not as glamorous as it sounds, it is hard work. The fashion you wear today is the result of a fashion buyer’s research and time spent ordering clothes from a wide-range of suppliers.

B2B Online Trading Tips for Apparel and Fashion Buyers

The apparel and fashion industry is one of the most growing industries in the world. Be it kid’s, men, or women apparels, uniforms and unisex apparels, fashion and apparel segment rules the industry. Apart from being fashionable and glamorous this industry requires all types of online and offline skills to keep going and to stay on top.

Nowadays, presence on the B2B marketplace helps the fashion and wholesale clothing to reach different segments of society irrespective of the geographical limitations and bridge a gap between clothing manufacturers and a potential buyer.

In order to have a smooth sailing through a B2B channel, here are some security tips that every buyer should keep in mind while conducting a trade with a supplier:

Identification check of the Supplier And Company:

The best way to check the authenticity and to reduce the risk of fraud while trading online is to conduct proper due-diligence before entering into any transaction. Although B2B marketplace is an easy medium to get connected with the relevant suppliers, lack of in person meetings to carry out business makes it necessary to conduct proper research before setting up any trading relations with the supplier.

Here are some steps to reduce the risk of supplier’s fraud:

A complete company profile consists of information which can be both verified and unverified. Here are few must follow steps to know the authenticity of a supplier:

Company Name along with city and province

Business type: If its manufacturer it means that the supplier is only selling products it manufactures. Manufactures are equipped and trained in specific production lines because of which they are highly specialized in their specific product line.

Trading Companies: There are some trading companies, which are independent while others own, or are owned by a manufacturing company. Although everybody tries to avoid the middleman, there are many companies in world which export their produce using Trading companies. Here is where trading companies play an important role. There can be some companies which offer no added value and dealing with those suppliers will only raise your costs.

Checking the quality of the product

It is said that a good manufacturer is not the one who is completely free of quality issues but the one who is constantly monitoring the quality during productions. Make sure that the supplier guarantees you to get back to you on time if the clothing purchase turns out to be defective and should have a proper system in place for how to manage the quality issues of clothing material. According to ISO compliance a product requires more than having a quick check before they are packed and shipped. Every supplier is required to inspect the raw materials and components before production, set up inspections during production and does a final supervision after production.

Garment Sampling

Apparel and clothing samples are very important and are meant to be developed, tested before starting the bulk production. Sampling is one of the main processes in apparel and fashion industry and plays a vital role when doing business online. As buyer place the final orders only after verifying the quality of samples.

The sample decides the ability and perfection of an exporter on how he carries out the business. It helps the buyer to judge the exporter and the organisation he belongs. If the samples are of good quality and at a reasonable price, it will naturally attract the buyers to place the order.

Doing business on a B2B portal can be a relatively new frontier but if not negotiated strategically can result in added costs and extra work hours for both a manufacturer as well as a buyer.

Finding Careers in the Fashion Industry

The vibrant, ever-changing fashion industry is always looking for brilliant minds with an idea of what comes next in design and merchandising. Could you be that visionary voice? What does the future hold for jobs in the fashion industry?

Check out some of the top fashion industry jobs, and learn what you can do to work your way into one of these exciting careers.

Fashion & Retail Management

If you love fashion and you’ve always wanted to own your own business, a degree in retail management could be right up your alley. You already know what shoes to pair with that little black dress for the perfect night out, but you need to learn the details of management as it relates to fashion. Courses in fashion sales, retail history, and more can give you the experience you need to enter the field with confidence.

Management Salary Points. In 2007, retail sales managers and supervisors saw mean annual earnings of $39,210, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Management positions at high-end boutiques and specialty stores might earn more, depending on location and experience.

Fashion Merchandising Careers

If you stand behind your brand, you have to be able to sell it. Fashion merchandising is an umbrella term that covers a range of careers, including: Merchandise managers ” Fashion buyers ” Fashion marketers ” Fashion sales

Even those who specialize in creating window dressings for department stores fall under the category of fashion merchandising.

Fashion merchandise managers see a lot of use in today’s fashion economy. “Today it’s the merchandise manager who carries the weight,” Marvin Traub, a retail consultant, told the New York Times. “He has an eye to the numbers.” While a degree or certificate in fashion merchandising may not be required for all careers, it can help to have the technical knowledge you can pair with you existing passion.

Merchandising Salary Points. Wholesale and retail buyers earned $53,580 in 2007, the BLS reports. That same year, purchasing managers across all industries earned mean annual wages of $90,430. While that figure goes well beyond the fashion industry, it should give you an idea of the kind of salary a skilled manager in the field might expect.

Fashion Designers

When you first think of jobs in the fashion industry, you might picture famous fashion designers like Donatella Versace or Michael Kors. While it’s true that most work can be found in fashion hubs California and New York, designers typically work all over the country, running small businesses and boutiques. Whether you’re dreaming of small-town success or a big-city dream, training in fashion design can get you there.

Fashion Design Salary Points. Fashion designers saw mean annual wages of $71,170 in 2007, according to the BLS. Most designers worked in New York or California, cementing the notion that your best chances for employment are on the opposite coasts.

While competition is keen for many careers and no degree can guarantee a job, graduates of fashion schools are still finding a viable job market. Research fashion schools to get a better idea of your potential future.