What is the worlds most important industry?

Some people say, "there's no business like show business".  Just for the record, those people are wrong.  In fact, they are completely full of BS (bull shit).  The reality is that, "there's no business like the fashion business".

  • "There's No Business Like Show Business" is an Irving Berlin song, written for the 1946 musical Annie Get Your Gun and orchestrated by Ted Royal. The song, a slightly tongue-in-cheek salute to the glamour and excitement of a life in show business.  Not really sure why they wasted their time thinking about show business when they could have written a song about fashion.

Sure, we can admit that show business does have a bit of glamour and excitement.  However, we must also admit that show business would NOT be very glamorous without the clothing & footwear provided by the apparel industry.  It is fair to say that at least 75% of the glamour is thanks to the garment industry.

The red carpet would be rather boring without gowns, suits, jewelry, and shoes.  Also, good luck creating a decent movie or TV show without stylists, clothes, costume designers, etc.  OK, you get our point.  The fashion business is critically important.

Let's start by first watching a very short video about how to build a fashion business.  This will give us a little primer on the subject.  Oh, you don't think that a 110 minute video is a "very short video".  Well, then maybe you don't have the grit & desire it takes to work in our industry.  The fashion business is more than just 2 minute videos and 140 character chat messages.

  • Above video: Inside the Industry: How to Build a Fashion Business | The Business of Fashion x Topshop Published on Jun 15, 2017.
  • Instagram’s Eva Chen, Away’s Jen Rubio, Aurora James of Brother Vellies and Iris Alonzo and Carolina Crespo of Everybody join BoF's Lauren Sherman to discuss entrepreneurship in fashion.

What is fashion?

Fashion is a popular style, especially in clothing, footwear, lifestyle, accessories, makeup, and hairstyles.  The notion of global fashion industry is a product of the modern age.  Back in time, their was no need for an entire industry because most families made their own clothing.  As time past, tailors, seamstresses, and shops began to participate in the fun.  By the beginning of the 20th century—with the rise of new technologies such as the sewing machine, the rise of global capitalism and the development of the factory system of production, and the proliferation of retail outlets such as department stores—clothing had increasingly come to be mass-produced in standard sizes and sold at fixed prices.

What do you mean by "business"?  Well we are not talking about an individual business (company or corporation).  We are talking about the industry as a whole.  Essentially, the fashion business is the same as the "fashion industry".

  • Learn about some of the important companies that make up the garment & textile industry.  You can visit our fashion company section to find numerous companies.

When we talk about the fashion business we are talking about the entire industry.  Arguably this can also include the textile industry.  A business is a profession or trade.  The profession of fashion includes clothing, fabrics, manufacturing, retailing, etc.

Yes, the fashion business is complex.

The modern day business of fashion is extremely complex.  Coming up with an idea for a new article of clothing is simply a small part of the process.  Concept, design, manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, retailing, marketing, and tons of other tasks come into play for each garment.  Starting a product as a textile fiber and turning it into fashion hanging in a consumers closet is not as easy as one might think.

Fashion Industry Overview

Fashion Industry History

Fashion Business

Fashion business professionals drive the tactical and entrepreneurial spirit of a fashion company. They may work on design, production, marketing, wholesaling, or retail to name a few segments.  They often must possess a thorough knowledge of the full scope of fashion to be successful.  Professional that wish to be at the top of the game must desire to become experts in the business of fashion.  This means a continuing education in fashion and a desire to work hard to create longevity to their fashion career.

A business that is too big to fail.

How many people work in the fashion industry?  Holy crap, that would be an amazingly high number.  To be honest, we don't think anyone could come close to guessing.  However, we can all agree the number would be huge if we consider all the countries around the globe and all of the various business segments tied into apparel, footwear, textiles etc.  Think about all the retailers you know that sell clothing.  Now think of how many employees work at those companies.  That would be only a "very" small part of the calculation to determine the entire employee count of the industry.

  • Many people make the business of fashion their full time occupation.  However, part time employment opportunities exist as well.  If you would like to work in the clothing industry you are welcome to visit our fashion jobs page to seek out opportunities.

Technology plays a large role in most aspects of today's society. Technological influences are growing more apparent in the fashion industry.  Advances and new developments are shaping and creating current and future trends.  Below are a few of the fashion tech advances that are shaping the sector.

  • Wearable Technology
  • Digital Printing
  • 3D Printing
  • Smart Fabrics
  • Supply Chain Management Software
  • RFID
  • Ecommerce
  • Fashion SEO

Social media, fashion apps, design software, and tons of other exciting new innovations are improving the business of fashion.

What is next for the fashion business?  That is an excellent question.

Today, people in rich countries are linked to people in poor countries through the commoditization and consumption of what is called fashion. People work long hours in one area of the globe to produce things that people in another part of the globe are anxious to consume.  Will this change?  Probably not.  However, who produces and who consumes might change from time to time.

The reality is that most people wear clothing.  This is the case today and is probably the case tomorrow.  Until that trend changes, the fashion business will continue.

If you work in the fashion industry you may find the following sections of our site to be helpful.

Fashion Associations

Fashion Glossary

Clothing Factories

Clothing Stores

Apparel Wholesalers

What is fashion business management?

Some people can manage the entire scope of a companies business.  Other's will manage by department.

Marketing and merchandising are only two of the department examples.  Fashion marketing and management involve the core functions of selling products and managing supply.

  • Fashion marketing managers oversee the branding and advertising of a company's new or existing products. They are often tasked with monitoring consumer reactions to marketing campaigns and products. It is also common for fashion marketing managers to be in charge of a team of lower-level employees.

  • Merchandising, within fashion retail, refers specifically to the stock planning, management, and control process. This position requires well-developed quantitative skills, and natural ability to discover trends, meaning relationships and interrelationships among standard sales and stock figures.

What qualifications are important in the field of fashion business management?  The first step is education.  That can take place on the job or at a fashion school.  After completing your normal course work at a fashion school, you will want to enhance both your creative and managerial skills by gaining a masters degree. You can find schools that offer Masters in Fashion Management degrees which can be offered as Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc) or Masters of Business Administration (MBA) qualifications.  

Some of the fashion schools offer programs with a Two Years Post Graduate Degree Program in Management with a focus on the Apparel, Textiles, Lifestyle Accessories, Footwear and other areas of fashion industry with specializations in different areas like Merchandising, Marketing, Retailing, Brand, Management, Supply Chain Management, Sourcing, Buying, Export Management and Market Research & Forecasting.

The Fashion Business Management curriculum at some of the leading educational institutions have been developed by a faculty of practicing professionals and an advisory board of industry leaders.  This helps assure that the courses being taught are appropriate and current for new hires leaving school and coming into the fashion business sector.  This makes the graduating students reading to jump directly into their careers upon graduation.

Learn about Fashion Business Management at FIT at the Fashion Institute of Technology - FIT (New York).

  • Note: the above video from FIT was Published on Jul 29, 2010 as an overview of the FBM program.  You really should visit their website for more current details regarding the program as well as other programs they offer.

  • FIT is an internationally recognized college for design, fashion, art, communications, and business.

Learn about fashion management at University for the Creative Arts - UCA (England).

  • Published on Sep 26, 2017 MA Fashion Business & Management, MA Fashion Marketing & Communication & MBA Fashion Business.

  • Fashion Business Management at UCA: The course will support you in developing your practice through relevant research, a deep understanding of how the fashion industry operates, and engagement with global fashion brands, in order to plan and produce a major project that is unique to you. This innovative and exciting Fashion Business & Management course brings creative thinking and innovation to the forefront of fashion management. It is the ideal course for those looking to excel in business within management positions in the fashion industry. The course is global in its focus and works closely with fashion industry professionals and fashion organizations.

  • The University for the Creative Arts is a university based in South East England, with campuses in Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham, Maidstone and Rochester. It was formed as it presently stands in 2005 via a merger between two specialist art and design institutes; Kent Institute of Art & Design and Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University College.

Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry, but it takes more than avant-garde designers and chic models to make the world of fashion run smoothly. Marketing and management play a critical role in the garment industries success by establishing brand awareness and unearthing new trends.

We certainly hope that you enjoy the apparel business as much as we do.  If you don't already work in the industry, maybe it is a good time to ask yourself, "How do I start a fashion business?".  You may want to check our fashion business incubators section.

If you have questions about the fashion business you can discuss them with friends or colleagues.  However, if your friends and colleagues don't work in the industry, that may not be much help.  It may be time to meet new friends.  You are welcome to visit the Fashion Industry Network to meet people that work in the industry.

The Business of Fashion (BOF) is a next-generation fashion media company conceived for today’s global and hyper-connected world. Founded in 2007 by Imran Amed, BoF is known for its authoritative, agenda-setting point of view on the global fashion industry, and is an indispensable resource for fashion executives, creatives, students, and entrepreneurs in over 200 countries. It has been described as “The Economist of Fashion," “A Daily Destination for Fashion’s Power Players", and “The Industry Bible".  Learn more about The Business of Fashion at their website.

They have several informative videos.  You may want to check out the following two as a starting point.

If you are tired of working for today, you may want to take a break and read about fashion trends or do a bit of shopping.  You are welcome to check the fashion blog for some interesting reading.  We can't promise you will enjoy all of the fashion news, but you may find some articles that you may find enjoyable.

Learn more about fashion and our industry. 

If you are interested in reading, don't forget to visit our fashion industry news section.

Read fashion business books to further your understanding on the subject.