For High and Low Fashion Design, Look to Ralph Lauren


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by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

November 26, 2007


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Do you want a career in fashion that appeals to the masses but exudes the cachet of a luxury brand? If so, Ralph Lauren is the fashion design mogul to watch. He's succeeded in keeping his luxury brand strong while making big money off the mass market.

So enviable is Ralph Lauren's fashion design empire that the Wall Street Journal reported on it. The May 2007 article focused on how Lauren has been able to saturate the department and discount store market with his clothing without diluting his high-end Black Label brand.

What Makes Lauren's Career in Fashion Stand Out?
How has the fashion mogul done it? Start by thinking about your own perception of the brand. It's probably mostly positive, particularly if you're into the preppy, snobby style that's so meticulously represented in Polo's advertising campaigns for its luxury lines. Lauren seems never to have taken his image for granted, consistently investing in glossy fashion spreads in Vogue, high-end fashion shows in top fashion design capitals, and tony boutiques in exclusive shopping districts.

Your Career in Fashion: Study Marketing in Fashion School
Don't make the mistake of neglecting the business side of fashion design while you hone your design skills. As Ralph Lauren's example proves, knowing how to market a brand is central to the success of any designer who aspires to a career in fashion on a national or global scale.

Some fashion schools focus on the business side of fashion more than others, so make sure you research schools carefully. Find a fashion school that offers courses in branding, marketing, and merchandising. If your school of choice doesn't offer a class you'd like to take, consider supplementing your education with online courses. Of course, having a multi-million dollar clothing empire is not for everyone. If you want a low-profile career, that's fine too. But everyone can benefit from courses in fashion business--use them to take you closer to whatever type of career in fashion most appeals to you.

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

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