Fashion marketers are responsible for bringing new fashion lines and designs to the marketplace by predicting fashion trends and analyzing which target markets will be most interested in a new apparel line or design. But becoming a fashion marketer takes more than just style sense; fashion marketers also work with advertisers to design ad campaigns that will expose their client’s clothes to the right target audience.
If you have a talent for developing, analyzing and implementing strategies for selling apparel and accessories based on fashion trends, a career in fashion marketing may be calling.
Educational requirements vary depending on the size of the hiring organization. Large fashion houses and manufacturing firms put a greater emphasis on formal training, preferring applicants with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business, economics or one of the applied sciences. A master’s degree is essential for advancement to top-level managerial jobs in fashion marketing.
Fashion marketing demands constant novelty, so regardless of academic qualifications, aspiring fashion marketers must be trained in the specifics of the fashion business. This encompasses a wide range of tools and topics, including advertising, promotion, strategic planning and analysis of consumer behavior.
Relevant work experience in fashion marketing is a standard for training and promotion. Training periods vary in length, and many entry-level positions are unpaid internships, which provide fashion and marketing students with on-the-job skills and training necessary to work and compete in the field. Many trainees begin their career by selling merchandise, supervising sales workers, checking invoices and keeping track of stock.
In addition to technical marketing skills and knowledge of the fashion industry, successful fashion marketers will understand the psychology and mystique of brands. They will understand how and why certain brands sell, who the target customers are for specific brands and products, and how to build a brand and a buzz that will inspire consumers to consider that brand indispensable, even when they have to pay more for merchandise that carries that brand.
The basic responsibilities of a fashion marketer include:
To succeed in an industry as challenging, dynamic and competitive as fashion, a fashion marketer should be adept with such skills as trend spotting, communication, strategic thinking and promotion.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that employment opportunities for fashion marketers are expected to experience rapid growth well into the next decade. This is due to an increased focus on fashion brands as well as the rise in popularity of such fashion-related television shows as “Project Runway, “America’s Next Top Model,” “What Not to Wear,” “Fashion Police” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” However, employment opportunities are expected to be best for individuals who possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in marketing with fashion as a specialization, and for those with relevant job experience.
Figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the median annual salary of fashion marketers in 2004 was $90,450. This figure varies widely, however, depending on the location of employment as well as on the fashion marketer’s academic qualification, relevant work experience and previous marketing campaign success.