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FASHION ADVISOR #2 – The departments into which a fashion company is divided


FASHION ADVISOR #2 – The departments into which a fashion company is divided

So many people aspire to work in the fashion industry…but what are the skills and characteristics that we should possess to approach the world of fashion? Is passion for fashion enough? Of course it is necessary to have it, but it is not always enough. Passion for style, curiosity about the past and the future, the ability to interpret social phenomena, attention to detail, the desire to experiment and to put oneself to the test…all these characteristics, albeit with different intensity, linked to different functions, must be present together.

We live in a country that is considered a reference point in the world, our style and Italian designers are internationally known and represent models to follow. Fashion comes and goes cyclically; on the one hand it is extremely brief and ephemeral, but on the other hand it is a source of great effort and hard work, even if a trend or a collection vanishes within a season, sometimes without a trace…

It is essential to know the fashion industry and the various professional roles to be able to understand what you want to do. The greatest satisfaction is being able to find the job that satisfies us and makes us satisfied. The important factor is to find the right job, selecting it among the different possible ones, which despite their diversity are all united by passion, creativity, open-mindedness and cross knowledge. Each of us has different aptitudes and can be brought to a specific role for which it is necessary to align our inclinations and improve skills through a solid and continuous training.
To begin with, it is necessary to analyze a hypothetical company structure, which often appears more complex than one can imagine.

To understand the professions, it is necessary to understand how the different departments with their respective roles are organized.
To this end, a list can facilitate understanding.

Externally to the company we certainly have the agencies that develop research on future trends, from which the whole fashion process starts.
Internally instead we can frame the following departments (some can be outsourced: Styling, Art Direction, Photo, Graphics, Pr, Social media):

  • CEO: in the Business and Management segment (sets objectives, indicates budgets, identifies profits and makes management decisions).
  • FASHION DESIGN DEPARTMENT: is composed of the Head Designer and the whole team that designs and works on the different collections, categories, accessories (senior designers, juniors and assistants).
  • PRODUCT OFFICE: develops the product from design to model to sample, keeps relations with suppliers and departments that participate in production (model maker, prototypist, etc.).
  • MANUFACTURING OFFICE: plans and organizes the production if internal or subdivides the different articles at the subcontractors, controlling quality, times and correct deliveries.

  • MERCHANDISING & BUYING: analyzes sales, trends, directs the collection, elaborates the grid of the collection, moreover it can be very focused on the different retailers and their assortment and acts as a buyer deciding the pieces for each store based on historical performance, taking care of inventories and planning the budget.
  • MARKETING: studies the reference market and develops activities related to branding, promotion to maintain and improve brand awareness and direct it towards its target. Specifically, marketing also works on new products, launches, events, collaborations and licenses.
  • STYLING (internal or external): composes the image for the print campaign for e-commerce to make it more attractive, showing and suggesting combinations.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY-ART DIRECTION (internal or external): finalizes the best image for the corporate communication in close collaboration with stylists.
  • PR: allow the growth of the brand and its fame through the construction of a solid network of public relations with press, influencers and opinion leaders (celebrities, vip, etc.).

  • COMMUNICATION – DIGITAL – SOCIAL MEDIA: it develops communication processes both on the traditional printed paper channel and through e-commerce and social media with newsletters and other digital tools, as well as defining strategies related to social media, to their specific language and to their users.
  • COMMERCIAL: it is the area of direct sales or through agents and showrooms.
  • E-COMMERCE: it concerns the communication and sale of products online.

  • HUMAN RESOURCES: needs analysis, recruitment, selection, hiring and management of personnel.
  • SUSTAINABILITY: a department in strong trend that aims to make companies more sustainable.
  • LEGAL AND FINANCIAL AREA: found in the reality of every company.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to delve into each of these macro areas, the processes that characterize the fashion system and the various professional figures.

by Stefano Sacchi
09th April, 2022