Your first steps towards understanding the fashion industry

A misunderstood and often overlooked Industry

The fashion industry and businesses related to fashion are usually viewed through a superficial lens. There is more to fashion than fashion designers and models. Fashion forms one of the larger components of GDP in numerous countries around the world. According to the British Fashion Council, the direct value of the UK fashion industry to the UK economy is nearly £26 billion. However, even that being so, there is a significant amount of opacity when it comes to understanding the industry.

The fashion industry - 39898398
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When you start taking a look at the fashion industry, you’ll notice that there are a lot of jobs that people who are not familiar with the industry might not understand. These include costumiers, fashion critics, stylists and more. Understanding each of these positions is often a key to understanding the fashion industry as a whole. However it doesn’t stop there… in the fashion industry it is difficult to keep track of all the terminology and industry lingo you have to use.

There are so many terms that are thrown around and it is easy to get overwhelmed by the number of terms you have to learn.

Where do you begin your journey towards understanding the fashion industry?

So, indeed how do you get started on your path to understanding the industry… There are a number of great resources to start you on your way. A good and easy method to begin this journey is to listen to podcasts on the fashion industry. A great fashion industry podcast to start with is Blazon, they interview people in the fashion industry, giving you a first hand account of the various roles available and what they are like.

Why should you start with a podcast? It makes it more accessible at the beginning. Listening into and about fashion designers, garment technologists, textile designers, fashion illustrators, pattern cutters/graders, stylists, personal stylists/personal shoppers, fashion buyers, the list goes on… can become overwhelming pretty quickly if you try and tackle it all at once.

Podcasts are a great way to gather a lot of information on a specific topic in a very short time. You can subscribe to a podcast and even have episodes sent to you by email. It’s a lot like getting an audio magazine.

That doesn’t mean you can’t start digging into actual magazines, industry periodicals and even courses. If you want to focus on and get taught a specific topic then there are numerous courses on the various aspects of the industry that are either free or close to free.

A search of Coursera, Future Learn or EDX will quickly allow you to find a range of courses that you can both pay to get a certificate, or audit for free. There are also a range of local resources these days where you can learn fashion, including local colleges.

However a gentle introduction usually helps to give a firmer grounding and foundation on which to build on.

There is more to the fashion industry than many of us realize

What do you do once you have a base understanding?

Well, this is when you take your new understanding of the industry on the road, both virtual and physical (after lockdown)! In the previous paragraph I mentioned courses on platforms such as Coursera, Future Learn and EDX, another advantage of doing a fashion course on these platforms is that the courses have great forums that allow you to meet and discuss the topics with people who are equally interested in the subject.

It is a great way to drive your interest forward. And finally another great option (once lockdown allows) is to find meetup groups that allow you to practically immerse yourself in the subject area. Interestingly on the Blazon podcast it was great to hear a couple of the artists mention how local meetup groups helped them build their networks and learn more about the subject area.

So there you have it! Now go and dive into this amazing industry…

Interesting related article: “What is a Podcast?