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14-02-2011
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Join Date: Jun 2009
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Fashion Consulting
Surprisingly, there has yet to be a forum dedicated to fashion consulting in this forum!

I've been researching the topic a little bit for the past month. Personally, I'd like to try to find an internship, and eventually a job, with a fashion consulting agency. There are many NYC-based agencies that specialize in creative consulting for the fashion industry that I'll name later.

Does anyone have any experience in fashion consulting or a similar field? Has anyone ever interned for a fashion consulting company? Many of the agencies also work in marketing, design, PR, advertising, and art direction, which makes me think that it's a pretty fluid and well-rounded side of the industry.

In terms of education, would anyone suggest anything to study? I don't think a specialized degree is necessary for it, at least not on the bachelor level. But should I take a few communications or graphic design courses? Is a master's degree at all necessary?

Lastly, what is a typical career trajectory into fashion consulting? Do people usually start off in other parts of the industry, such as editorial or PR? Do people from separate industries typically move into brand consulting jobs? Or is it possible to jump straight into this aspect of the industry?

Here are a few sample agencies (as I said earlier, they're not all strictly consulting. Many could be considered advertising firms, too.):
http://arnewyork.com/
http://www.dolfinc.com/
http://www.hlgrp.com/#/home/hl_group/
http://www.belloandco.com/index.html?showintro=false
http://www.karenharveyconsulting.com/home.html
http://www.catherinesadlergroup.com/csg_main.html
http://www.baron-baron.com/flash/2/flash.html

Thanks!

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14-02-2011
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I am assuming that you do not mean what a personal wardrobe stylist does ... which is often called "fashion consulting" ... one on one advice about someone's wardrobe. Or "image consulting" which includes fashion but may also include hair, makeup, how they carry themselves and speak ... the overall public image of a person.

I have not heard of this as a career ... so I am curious. Can you or anyone post a description of what this type of fashion consultant would do for a company ... and who would they work for? Is it freelance or salaried?

To me, it sounds like it would be working with ad agencies and pulbicists, etc. to advise them of current trends, colors, and how to get the message across by using fashion. Sort of like an art director, but just directing the fashion in an ad, ect. And the fashion stylist would report to this person, perhaps, when planning a shoot? Am I even close?

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Last edited by BetteT; 14-02-2011 at 01:49 PM.
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14-02-2011
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I have taken a few classes that sound similar to what Bette is describing, all which are titled forecasting, fashion trend analysis etc. If so, your title would be a Trend Forecaster or something along those lines depending on the place you work. Is this what you mean?

As I poke around the websites though it seems to be different. I'm curious to hear about this as well.

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Last edited by ibarrac; 14-02-2011 at 05:16 PM.
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14-02-2011
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I don't think it's quite trend forecasting either but it sounds similar.


I don't think trend forecasters work for PR and advertsing companies and set the look of the media that goes out to the public. Instead, they work for actual trend forecasting companies, who designers and clothing manufacturers hire to ensure that they are on trend for the following year ... and it includes colors, shapes, moods, fabrics. We have a couple of threads about forecasting: How are trends decided/ where do they come from? and A Career in Fashion Forecasting .

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Last edited by BetteT; 14-02-2011 at 11:14 PM.
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15-02-2011
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I always thought a fashion consultant was someone who advises a fashion company on the direction they're going, sort of like a mentor? I do freelance fashion consulting on the side -- it's something I just fell into; I started a blog documenting how I started my boutique, I had people regularly asking me questions and then eventually people wanted to hire me for more intensive work. So I'll go to market with a buyer and kind of advise her on what lines would be good for her type of store, sizes, etc., or talk with a potential buyer on skype about linesheet terminology and just how the business works in general. I also worked with an up and coming t shirt line about the direction of his women's line, because he really didn't know much about future (or current). We basically went over his samples and what would be good to add/delete, different types of fabrics and treatments, etc.

From what I've seen, it seems like most consultants consult on top of their job (or perhaps theyve retired) -- essentially, they've made a name for themselves in a certain area of the industry and now they're helping other companies. Even fashion bloggers are doing it now (which is...interesting).

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19-02-2011
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So what is the customer target of these companies ? Aspiring designers/start-up boutique or already-huge companies ? (Apparel like H&M, Zara or high fashion like PPR and LVMH)

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09-03-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunshowers View Post
Surprisingly, there has yet to be a forum dedicated to fashion consulting in this forum!...Thanks!
*sunshowers*:

Usually a consultant would be an expert in a particular field and has lots of knowledge about his/her subject (in the fashion industry you can find them all over the value chain from textile design, to manufacturing, to trend forecasting, to retail, to fashion incubators, to etc.).

But what is the thing about fashion consultancy that you feel attracts you?

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09-03-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBonChic View Post
So what is the customer target of these companies ? Aspiring designers/start-up boutique or already-huge companies ? (Apparel like H&M, Zara or high fashion like PPR and LVMH)

You can always go and check their clients in their websites. But I'd say it can be any corporation/individual, any size. So it can range from a small independent designer working with a mentor in a fashion incubator or participating in a business support scheme (i.e. Elle/British Fashion Council), or a brand manager from a world leader company learning from an e-marketer the latest tricks on digital visual merchandising.

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09-03-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimberwyn View Post
...I started a blog documenting how I started my boutique, I had people regularly asking me questions and then eventually people wanted to hire me for more intensive work...
You should bring the document here as it will add a lot of value to the tFS Archive! Perhaps we can turn it into an e-manual? I can contribute to it as I have experience in creating e-manuals!


Last edited by F0F0; 09-03-2011 at 07:51 AM.
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09-03-2011
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She basically has brought most of the information to tFS already. You'll see her in the blog thread and the Boutique/Store thread contributing a lot of information in additon to various other places.

If you wish to discuss that further, please PM her ... personal conversations are a bit off topic here. And before you post anything ... please connect with the moderator team ... to make sure whatever you do is not breaching the "no self promotion" rules.

Thanks!

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12-06-2011
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Sunshowers, I always thought of fashion consulting as someone who guides on brand communication such as Mary Portas? http://www.maryportas.com/

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12-06-2011
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I agree with the Portas reference, and find that most 'consultants' have an equal strength in both journalism and styling.

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16-06-2011
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Thanks for the responses everyone. From what I understand, fashion forecasting and what I'm thinking of as fashion consulting are two completely different areas. And I'm also not sure if Mary Portas really fits the description, either--she seems to work exclusively with retail. (I've actually never heard of her before now--is she like a Gordon Ramsey for boutiques?)

If you look at the websites for some of the firms I showed you many of them are run by influential figures in the industry, such as Fabien Baron or Hamilton South. They work with creative & brand consulting for all kinds of companies, from brands like Banana Republic or Zara to Dolce & Gabbana or Calvin Klein. I think a lot of it consists of working to develop a concrete image and identity for a fashion brand, and then using that image to create complementary marketing materials, design, and communications strategies. They take the raw materials of a company and turn it into a full-fledged brand.

If I can get an internship with one of these companies I will come back and give a description of how they all work. I'm still interested in finding out if anyone has experience either working in or with a firm like the ones I've listed--it definitely seems to be a hidden aspect of the industry, and it took a bit of searching for me to find them all.

Thanks!

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17-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunshowers View Post
Thanks for the responses everyone. From what I understand, fashion forecasting and what I'm thinking of as fashion consulting are two completely different areas. And I'm also not sure if Mary Portas really fits the description, either--she seems to work exclusively with retail. (I've actually never heard of her before now--is she like a Gordon Ramsey for boutiques?)

If you look at the websites for some of the firms I showed you many of them are run by influential figures in the industry, such as Fabien Baron or Hamilton South. They work with creative & brand consulting for all kinds of companies, from brands like Banana Republic or Zara to Dolce & Gabbana or Calvin Klein. I think a lot of it consists of working to develop a concrete image and identity for a fashion brand, and then using that image to create complementary marketing materials, design, and communications strategies. They take the raw materials of a company and turn it into a full-fledged brand.

If I can get an internship with one of these companies I will come back and give a description of how they all work. I'm still interested in finding out if anyone has experience either working in or with a firm like the ones I've listed--it definitely seems to be a hidden aspect of the industry, and it took a bit of searching for me to find them all.

Thanks!
Hey, sunshowers!

I think fashion consulting is a broad term --and can convey different meanings for different people-- just as marketing. Perhaps you are talking about fashion brand management (also known as fashion branding, fashion communication, fashion imaging, etc.) which deals with creating, developing and managing one or several fashion brands. In other words, Fashion brand managers or brand consultants (used when label outsources this activity to a branding consulting agency) develop a brand strategy, design a brand architecture (brands, sub-brands), construct a brand (its image, identity and/or positioning/re-positioning), and align its communications strategies with the overall marketing plan, all whilst organising, managing and evaluating the whole brand management process. Yes, they are brand 's!

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17-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunshowers View Post
...And I'm also not sure if Mary Portas really fits the description, either--she seems to work exclusively with retail. (I've actually never heard of her before now--is she like a Gordon Ramsey for boutiques?)
I've been into her site several times and I still don't get what is she exactly about ( she's difficult to define :p). But she's definitely NOT a fashion branding consultant from a purist point of view. I think she goes beyond being a simple brand consultant strategist because she also deals with retail and, in particular, visual merchandising consulting. She is also like the UK's Super Secret Shopper that even some British retailers are scare of. I don't know why they should worry because at the end of the day idea is to improve consumer service and the overall UK consumer experience in retail.

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