Fashion has grown into an alluring venture that now attracts young people to come in with fresh ideas, innovations and concepts. Fashion has completely re-faced the world, and reshaped our lifestyle. It is now an element to look out for in people’s personality, the very thing that mirrors their persona. I know many youths just like me who are toiling day and night to be a designer; a successful one. Some succeed in translating their ideas into the streets / target markets where they are exchanged for cash….cool money, while many are still battling on pushing through challenges that fraught the business to eventually smile heavily to the banks some day. I have been there, I am still there and I must say fashion business is way more that just having a sewing skills or the passion. A lot of things are involved. A lot more than just having huge capital. I have taken the liberty in this post to highlight some salient points a young entrepreneur who is aspiring to make it in the fashion business world should know.
I grew up fascinated about fashion. I smile now on reminiscing over those days when I will walk down a populated street. I will often miss steps, lose focus on the road because I have twisted my neck to see how my cloth is doing down there at the rear, or show puerile seriousness in checking how well tuck in my shirts were, so on and so forth. I smile on this fond memory of my childhood days. I have grown since then to appreciate fashion. I have developed passion about it, and declared within me to make it my profession, a trade in future. Now, I am in that future, though I am not Ouch yet or MAI Atafo, Osodi or Mudi, I am still dotting my Is and crossing my Ts, and very importantly deliberating on one important decision of my life to make which is choosing between Fashion Designing ( now I do freelance designing) and Branding Consultancy). The fact is that in all this long years of fascinating over fashion, practically followed it and practicing it part-time , I learned a lot lessons from experiences and exposures. I have learned from big time fashion designers, and I have learned from articles like the one contributed by one FDA which I read in Complete Fashion magazine some time in June( maybe July) that I will be summarizing on this article post.
Now, let’s get over the rhetoric(s). Are you a young aspiring fashion designer who dream to make it big some day? Well making it big isn’t a rocket science. It involves telling your self some personal truths, knowing some tactical approaches and doing the simple yet easily missed things. These are the basics you need to know before you set out to start-up your own fashion brand…
PERSONAL TRAITS: All you need to do is acknowledge the qualities you posses. They will expose to you your strengths and help you establish how you will operate. Now tick the ones that define you….
I am good at identifying opportunities and converting them into profitable reality
I have the ability to predict market needs
I am creative and innovative
I posses excellent problem solving and decision-making skills
I am both passionate and enthusiastic about passion
I am self motivated, determined and persistent
I am an excellent team leader, team player and also flexible and can work on my own
I am organized, good at planning and also motivating others to do excellent work
While I am excellent at paying attention to the minutest details, I always keep my eye on the BIG PICTURE
I am good at implementing, coordinating, and expediting
I am a courageous, optimistic risk taker
I am methodical in analyzing and analytical in reviewing
SKILLS TO CULTIVATE:
Branding and PR
CHOOSING THE RIGHT MARKET & AUDIENCE
Is your design for the …..
Youths, funky individuals, old but groovy, corporate professionals, etc
Or the markets you choose to design for are: haute couture, ready to wear, high street fashion. Specialist area like: sports wears, men’s wear, bridal, lingerie, swimwear, foot wear, accessories, etc.
This is your job function. The bulk of what should keep you engaged (busy) all day round. You choose based on your true competence (what you sincerely believe you can do excellently. Check them out….
Researching, creating and developing collections
Analyzing trends in fabrics, colors and shapes
Creating the brand identity (continuously and communicating it)
Planning and developing ranges
Identifying and profiling the market
Developing samples and production patterns
Sourcing, selecting and buying fabrics
Adapting existing designs for mass production
Planning production schedule
Producing a business plan and operations manual
merchandising and overseeing distribution
Planning campaigns and promotions
Managing marketing finances, and other business activities
Recruiting employees, and engaging contractors
KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROCESS
According to FDA, the fashion industry is collapsed into three categories
Design, production, sales
Design: Is the creative stage, where ideas are born, sketched and made succinct for translating into a product. It is the concept laying stage. The design stage is conceptual and intangible
Production: This the technical stage when your ideas are being worked upon. It is where the intangible takes form. It is the cutting, the patterning and actual construction.
Sales: Without this stage, you can’t be in business for too long. It is the stage for marketing, promotion and exchange of products for money.
I will expand on all the points in subsequent posts. I believe this will help you plan and structure properly your fashion business and assist in building you a brand. Though it is summarized but it is replete with facts you must not miss to take into good use. Decide your business model based on your competence. Outsource some of the activities that you truly know you can’t handle on your own. The important thing here is to be honest about what you can actually do and not what you wish you can do. Know that fashion business is far beyond knowing how to match the sewing machine; it involves marketing, coordinating of other activities and making sales. It involves partnering, promotions, research, etc I know how demanding and time-wasting production can take but if you can mange it well you can produce all alone or else you get people to produce your designs for you while you oversee the whole processes of production, and marketing which is the most crucial. If you can produce alone and can’t handle PR and sales, please outsource or get a helping hand. How inspired and aware are you now?