19 Jul REFLECTIONS ON THE FASHION BUSINESS
There’s one topic that is always under taboo in the fashion business. People try to avoid talking about it. This topic is rarely discussed during official events and interviews. It’s hidden behind the shiny catwalks, presentations, lookbooks and photo shoots.
Sometimes I think that talking about it is considered as a desecration of the fashion as a high art. I call this “Tears and sweat of the fashion business”.
You may say that each and every field of work, whether it’s sport, banking, medicine or even construction, requires a lot of work and efforts. However, the fashion world is focused primarily on showing the beautiful wrapping such as fashion shows and photo shoots. These days the fashion business is incredibly sugar-coated and glamorized.
In fact, it does a great job on selling a very attractive and shiny dream.
While giving interviews most established designers are talking only about the bright side of this business, about their ideas and sources of inspiration. I understand that this is a part of the story they are trying to convey. But I’m wondering why nobody is talking about the real situation on the other side of this medal.
The real truth about all the difficulties of getting on one’s feet. About how to raise money to start a business. About financial planning and the process of reaching the breakeven point. About the fact that the majority of investors don’t want to invest money into the fashion business because it’s considered as very risky.
They don’t tell about the process of pitching retailers and searching production. As a result of this massive embellishment and sugar-coating we receive the huge number of young designers and entrepreneurs who don’t really understand that the fashion business is one of the most highly competitive and difficult fields in the world.
The fashion industry is too idealized.
Why does nobody say that the world of fashion is an endless race that is called “what’s next”? They don’t say that you have to show at least 2 new collections every year, be in time for the new season, follow the trends and even create them.
Why do they never tell how many times they wanted to quit just because they were tired of everything? Why does nobody mention the rate of profit and the payback period? Will such confessions destroy the image of the fashion world?
The main goal of my post is not to admonish you. I know that the majority of creative people will still follow their passion for finding themselves in the world of fashion. I want you to see the real situation and save time and resources by starting a business with right actions.
People usually think that a designer just has to create a beautiful collection, while everything else will happen on its own, and all clothes will be sold in a couple of minutes.
Or another popular idea that in order to start a business in the fashion industry one just has to open a shop on Shopify. This is simply wrong. You need to make all the calculations and find the answers to the following questions:
– Who will produce the samples and at what price?
– Who will create the patterns for you?
– Where will you buy fabrics, trims?
– Who will produce the final products, and what is the overall production time?
– How will you control the quality?
– What your assortment will look like?
– What profit margin are you going to keep?
– How will you coordinate the process of supply and production?
– What will you do to promote your brand and which distribution channels will you use?
– Which message are you going to send to your customers?
– How much money are you going to invest in your promotion?
I don’t want to say that one can’t be successful in the fashion industry. It’s more than possible.
But it’s possible only in case if you take your artistic talent and add properly planned positioning of your brand, clear message to your customers and make a plan for at least a year or two together with detailed financial calculations, including all expenses during the first year of your work.
You may think that I am overreacting, but believe me that I’m not. These are basic things, which have to be done by each and every entrepreneur planning to work in the fashion industry.
The world of fashion is trying to sell us a dream about the successful fashion business. But this dream can become real business only if you find a way to combine your passion with a down-to-earth business plan.