What is the apparel industry?
The apparel industry is the same as the fashion, garment, or clothing industry. These are variable names for the same industry. If we want to summarize, we can say that the industry covers the design, manufacturing, wholesaling, and retailing of clothes, footwear, and fashion accessories. With that said, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Clearly the scope of the apparel industry goes well beyond these primary categories. We should not forget the industry has numerous other sub-categories such as modeling, fashion photography, hair styling, makeup artistry, etc. Issues such as logistics, transportation, & warehousing are also relevant parts to consider. In all honesty, we can go on and on for hours discussion various components of our industry. In fact, we have spent over a decade trying to break down the aspects for you here on the Apparel Search website and at our social networking site at FashionIndustryNetwork.com
Apparel Industry Events
Moving forward on the assumption that you understand that the garment industry is massive, let's just touch on a few highlights:
In our current technology driven world, many new areas of interest apply to our industry. Software, apps, and fashion blogs have clearly gained in importance over the years. It seems as if a new apps are being launched every day of the week. Some of which are similar to pre-existing options, but others are ground breaking. Thanks to apps, our mobile devices bring us fashion games, shopping resources, social sharing, and many other amazing opportunities. Many of these new tools help consumers but there is also a growing variety of helpful tools specifically designed for our industry.
We should keep in mind that prior to the internet and other technological advancements much of our daily tasks had been far more inefficient. Now, we can spend ten minutes browsing an assortment of style blogs and catch up on trends that may have taken weeks of travel to previously discover. Sitting at our desks, we can travel the world of fashion with a click of our mouse or a swipe on our tablets.
In addition to apps, we have access to great system that help with design, production, warehousing, and the sale of apparel. We rely heavily on systems to help us with CAD, PLM, PDM, ERP, POS, EDI, RFID, and other acronyms that you may or may not understand (if you are not sure about these acronyms, you can visit our technology section to learn more).
Members of the apparel industry will continue to gain benefit from online and offline technologies for the foreseeable future. We are certainly looking forward to see what advances will be made next week, next month, or next year. If you see any new and exciting trends that our relevant to our market, please share your findings.
Choosing a Career Path
Why would anyone want to work in the fashion industry?
If you are not sure the answer to that question, you may not be cut out for a job in fashion. It is relatively simple to figure out why people would enjoy a career in the garment industry. First of all, we get to spend much of our day dealing with issues relevant to clothes, shoes, handbags, and other sorts of interesting accessories. What could be bad about that? OK, let's be reasonable. The industry is not all fun and games. Unfortunately, most of us don't get to spend our day trying on clothing and imaging what we would like if we were walking down the red carpet at the Academy Awards. The truth be told, there is a great deal of hard work that goes into the business. Much of which has absolutely nothing to do with glitz or glamour. As a matter of fact, many career paths in our industry have little to do with the design elements of clothing. For example, warehousing, transportation, and garment factory inspections are quite removed from exciting activities of a fashion model walking the catwalk during Fashion Week in Milan. Although supply chain management is clearly critical, it is certainly at a totally different end of the spectrum when compared to trend forecasting, design, modeling, etc.
Working in our industry can be both rewarding and exciting, but it can also be somewhat mundane from time to time. Choose your career path wisely.
Designers, Brands & Events
When people think about the apparel industry they often think about "designers", "brands", and "events". Who is your favorite fashion designer? You probably have one or more. What is your favorite fashion brand? It may be hard for you to decide, but if forced to choose, one will most likely pop into your head. In regard to events, who has not heard of "fashion week"? When you flip through your favorite fashion magazine or turn on the evening news, don't they mention fashion week from time to time. Sure they do. The reality is that the world is fascinated by these important aspects of the industry.
Fashion design is the art of the application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories. Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social latitudes, and has varied over time and place. OK, that is a rather boring definition, but you get the idea. Fashion design is the backbone of the development of the clothing that we all wear. It is up to the "fashion designer" to determine the colors, silhouettes, and fabrications that make their way onto the store floor and later into our closets. The role of a fashion designer is extremely important and should not be taken lightly. Some designers are self-taught, but many others go through the suggested steps of attending a design school. Either way, a fashion designer is often glorified or disavowed based on their most recent collection. Sure, some designers that have built up a reputation over many years or decades can escape abandonment if they have a poor season or two, but many companies will literally go out of business if the designer fails to delight season after season.
A designer may create a collection, but that is only a small portion of the products development. Another huge factor is the "branding" of the clothing. Depending on many factors, a brand name is selected and then marketed. It is important to put much thought into the selection and development of a brand because a properly executed one may actually last long after the actual designer has come and gone. Let's take for example, Thomas Burberry. Many of you may not know Thomas, but you may very well be familiar with the fashion brand Burberry. The original designer has come and gone, but the iconic brand lives on for all of us to enjoy.
The apparel industry is one of many industries that takes advantage of licensing. Some clothing companies maintain full control over every aspect of their brand but others bring outside resources into the mix by licensing the brand to other companies. Either way has its pros and cons and should be thought about carefully.
Designers and brands go hand in hand with "events". One way for designers and brand owners to gain visibility for their brand is via fashion events. Sometimes the goal is to gain visibility of consumers or the media and at other times events are used to meet with other members of the apparel industry. For example, Fashion Week, the Oscars, and the Grammy's are perfect examples of how a clothing company can gain recognition of consumers. We can show product at trade shows, exhibitions, and seminars, if we wish to network with other members of the apparel industry.
Most fashion companies that are brand owners have a goal of becoming a "lifestyle fashion brand". If they can reach this level, they may possibly stand the test of time and develop a true legacy in the world of fashion.
The apparel industry is exciting, glorious, fruitful and much more. If you do not currently work in our industry, we highly recommend that you consider the possibilities. We truly think you may enjoy it.
We welcome you to learn more buy using our website to it's fullest. We have sections that cover apparel industry analysis, trends, news, statistics, jobs, and virtually every other aspect.
Learn more about the fashion industry here on Apparel Search.
Don't forget to visit our
apparel industry blog
posts section to catch up on what's happening in our industry.