Blurring Fashion Design and Marketing


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by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

April 14, 2008


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If you're considering a career in fashion design, you'll need to learn about fashion marketing. Sometimes the line between the two gets so blurry, it's hard to know where one ends and the other begins.

Is Tom Ford's success due to his marketing savvy or his genius as a fashion designer? If success is perfectly tied to fashion design talent, then why isn't the celebrated, award-winning designer Olivier Theyskens a household name? Why are more and more non-designers like Sarah Jessica Parker and Gwen Stefani issuing their own clothing lines?

Why Fashion Marketing Matters
The answer to these questions can be found in the offices of marketing vice presidents of fashion houses around the world. More and more of the clothing design industry seems to revolve around fashion marketing. Some may say it's good, others that it's unfortunate. What's clear, however, is that fashion design students need to fold a fashion marketing course or two into their studies.

Today it's no longer enough to invent gorgeous new lines, textures, and silhouettes. If a clothing designer wants to make it big in the fashion business, they've got to learn how the business of fashion works. They need to understand what branding means, and how to use it to transform their talent into a global brand.

Fashion School: Where Branding 101 Begins
To see how it's done, watch the careers of some of the masters, like Vera Wang and Tom Ford. But your foray into the fashion marketing world will likely begin in a marketing or branding 101 course at fashion school. Just remember, this stuff is important to learn, even for die-hard creative types.

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About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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