There is nothing wrong with working small and building up to medium, but when it comes to big you don’t just want to dream. You want to be planning. In the long term, maybe the very long term, those of you who are designers at the beginning of their careers want to at the very top. Eventually helming the giant design houses and retail outlets. The names on the crates at port services, the brands line our high streets, dominate our wardrobes, and control our drawers. But what are you going to need when you get there? What kinds of contacts and skills and connections will be what really turns a great designer into a great fashion world business person? The following could be very useful.
Good Union Connections
If you want to be someone who deals with a large and powerful fashion house, you are going to need to be able to relate well with those who work for you. In the big fashion houses, that doesn’t just mean HR and the other designers and administrative mandarins in your office. It means the people whose sweat and fingertips put your clothes together. While in the future there is some expectation that more of this will be done by machines, there is still very likely to be a substantial human component to this task. You need to be able to relate to them, and the people who represent them. Which means that now it is a good idea not to be expressing too much in the way of anti-collectivism sentiment on social media! Train strikes and other such protests might annoy you, but the people you could well be dealing with in the future may well be the brothers in arms of such people. Keep that in mind.
On a small scale logistics are something that perhaps you can deal with by yourself, or you may have a very small subsection of your office focused that way. Delivery firms, international shipping, local logistics, these are all things that could be sufficiently small that you could deal with them by yourself. Maybe. At first. But did you know that, for instance, the United Kingdom has a ban on products made from Orchids because the plant is considered endangered, and thus that anything coming into the UK made with Orchids is automatically removed and destroyed. That could be a problem when importing high-end hand creams from South Korea, and this is only one law. The World Trade Organisation has over 160 members, each with its own trade laws and regulations. Do you really want to be on the hook for understanding all their differences? At every level of the logistics process. If you want a company that will combine port-based services, shipping legalities, and the actual moving of the goods, you need a freight forwarder.
Instagram may be instant, and Twitter might be telling, but when it comes to social media for clothes these days, Youtube is top of the pack. It’s very much the best way to show the clothes not only in the controlled environment of the runway or a modelling photo shoot, but the real world where your customers will wear them. Creators like Safiya Nygaard, Patricia Bright, and Vanessa Ziletti, make the kind of content that can show what you create to the level of audience you really need to make it a global brand. Of course you will need something very special to get on these people’s radar, which is why you will need the next thing on our list…
Everyone wants to be noticed. Everyone wants to be out there and in the face of the public and really make their designs known. But just how many people are really willing to push the boat out there with the kinds of designs that truly are the equivalent of marmite. You need to be able to meet, converse with, and recognise the kinds of designers who are really ready to push the boat out and make waves. Those who are willing to take an exceptional risk to get mocked and ridiculed by many, to ultimately be appreciated by some. A great example of this could be seen with “Y Project” and their thigh-high Ugg boots and ultra-long sleeved denim jacket. Would most people wear them? Probably not! Would some people who make YouTube content be interested? Maybe. Will it get you a lot of press attention? Definitely.
Becoming a giant fashion brand will doubtless be a difficult endeavour, but it is achievable. Keep these ideas in mind as you plot your schemes for fashion world domination!