Fashion Careers

Fashion Careers: Guide to Fashion Communications

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21st October 2022

Fashion communication can mean many things. Generally speaking, it is the process of presenting a certain image of a brand. Fashion communication roles are often highly creative but are also heavily engrained in the business aspect of fashion. Striking a balance between the two is the key to success.

A fashion communications career is ideal for those who thrive in fast-paced environments. You must be able to react to changes in the industry; something which is constant in fashion. There are many different opportunities for those interested in fashion communication, allowing you to specialise in a particular area.

Our guide to fashion communication explores the different areas you could specialise in, responsibilities, key skills and salary expectations.

WHAT IS FASHION COMMUNICATION?

Fashion communication is the process of understanding how different media types can be used to communicate with a desired audience. You may do this by projecting a lifestyle image or creating a feeling. This process could involve many areas like branding, styling, photography, copywriting, PR and visual merchandising

Fashion communication is one of the underlying principles that supports other aspects of a fashion business. For example, without fashion communication, designs may not be seen by the desired target audience. 

Fashion communications help brands to stand out in a competitive and saturated industry. How you communicate a brand can set it apart from competitors and creates a distinct "space" in customers' minds.

To be successful as a fashion communicator, you must be innovative. There are thousands and thousands of brands constantly vying for our attention, through social media, TV advertisements and product placements. To capture the attention of your audience, you must understand consumer behaviour and integrate this into your strategy.

FASHION COMMUNICATION JOBS

Whilst fashion communication itself is not a job role, there are many areas that you can specialise in. Some of the most common areas that fashion communication graduates choose to go into include:

  • Art direction
  • Fashion photography
  • Styling
  • Fashion journalism or PR
  • Branding
  • Social media

ART DIRECTION

Art directors are essentially visionaries. They use different media types to create images of a brand that tell a story, appeal to the desired target audience and sell products. As an art director, you may direct photoshoots, consult on marketing strategies and styling options and oversee any other visual aspects of a campaign. 

FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY

Fashion is built on visuals; it's a fashion photographer's job to capture the images. 

As a fashion photographer, you may capture product shots, editorial imagery, fashion shows and events. Whilst product shots are mainly used to sell fashion items, editorial images may be used to promote the brand and enhance consumer perceptions. Understanding the difference between these communication types is essential for a fashion photographer.

You'll need to work closely with clients, art directors and stylists to help realise their intended vision. The world of fashion photography can be competitive so technical skills are also essential for this role.

STYLING

The way you style products can completely transform the look and feel of clothes. Styling helps products to evoke an aesthetic that falls in line with the brand image, helping them to appeal to a desired target audience. Stylists may also work with other fashion communicators, such as art directors and visual merchandisers, to create a cohesive and consistent brand image across departments.

FASHION JOURNALISM OR PR

Fashion journalists or PR professionals may work within fashion businesses or externally, freelance or in an agency setting. Fashion journalists often work for magazines reporting on stories such as new trends, fashion shows and events, as well as celebrity fashion. PR professionals are often employed by fashion houses, tasked with raising their brand profile by highlighting and creating certain stories. The two areas are very closely linked, with PR agents sending products to journalists to get their brand featured in magazines and newspapers.

BRANDING 

Branding helps to cement how a business is perceived by the consumer. A fashion business's brand should tell a story of its values, creating an identity that appeals to its target customer. Branding can help to show whether you sell luxury fashion, haute couture or high-street fashion. It can also give insight into the style of your products - are they edgy, romantic or tailored and timeless? Your brand is often the very first thing a customer sees so making sure this is communicated effectively is essential.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is one of the most transformative marketing tools to emerge in recent years. Consumers now expect to be able to interact with brands via social media. This help to promote trust, and it offers businesses the opportunity to give their brand a voice through features such as live streaming and Q&As. It also boasts a much wider reach than many other marketing activities.

To capitalise on this area, a company’s online presence should perfectly align with the brand. This makes sure customers have a seamless experience whether they're interacting via social media, on a website or in a physical store. 

FASHION COMMUNICATION JOB DESCRIPTION

There is no set job role or description for fashion communication; it will depend on which area you choose to specialise in. However, most employers and businesses will require similar, transferable skills across all the different areas.

FASHION COMMUNICATION SKILLS

1. Creativity

Creativity is one of the most important skills needed for a successful career in fashion communication! The industry itself is highly competitive, with thousands of brands trying to gain attention. In order to cut through the noise and effectively communicate with your audience, you'll need to think of creative ideas that can help you to stand out!

2. Attention to detail

When crafting a brand’s image, attention to detail is vital. The smallest inconsistencies can ruin the illusion and damage your brand message. It's the small details that create the bigger picture. From styling to text, you must carefully consider even the finest details.

3. Communication

As the name suggests, the ability to communicate is one of the most important skills needed for a role in fashion communications. Not only must you be able to communicate with your customers, but you must also be able to effectively communicate with other departments to realise your vision.

4. Teamwork

As a fashion communicator, you'll work with a wide range of people and departments in order to create a cohesive, visual experience for your customers. Whether you’re a stylist or photographer, you'll need to work with other departments including marketing and merchandising, as well as with models and other external agencies.

FASHION COMMUNICATION SALARY

Salaries for a role in fashion communications can vary significantly depending on your area of specialisation.

  • Average salary for an Art Director: around £60,000
  • Average salary for a Fashion Photographer: around £35,000
  • Average salary for a Stylist: around £26,500
  • Average salary for a Fashion Journalist: around £26,500
  • Average salary for Fashion Marketing: around £31,500
  • Average salary for a Social Media Assistant: around £26,500

HOW TO SECURE A FASHION COMMUNICATIONs JOB

To secure a role in fashion communication, you'll need to decide which area you'd like to specialise in. You can then look at potential career routes. 

Qualifications

To help you decide which area of fashion communication is right for you, you can take a course that covers many of the different aspects. 

Our BA (Hons) Marketing & Communications For Fashion undergraduate degree course helps you master the technical and aesthetic skills needed to implement effective visual marketing campaigns. Covering areas such as PR and social media to creative digital skills, this course prepares you for roles in marketing, social media, as well as styling and PR.

We also offer a Level 3 Visual Communications and Styling diploma course that teaches you how to create visual stories for a brand. You'll learn about the creative process and develop your own creative practice preparing you for roles in styling, photography or art direction.

Internships and Work Experience

Internships and work experience are some of the best ways to boost your CV and prepare for a role in fashion communications. Because the world of fashion communications can be so wide-ranging, work experience can help you to discover the area most suited to you!

At the Fashion Retail Academy, we work with over 140 retail partners, allowing you to build your network and experience the real world of fashion. You will learn more about day-to-day duties, helping you to build fundamental skills that can't be learned anywhere else.

Throughout our courses, you'll also be tasked with live briefs set by our retail partners. This allows you to work on real-world issues affecting the fashion industry right now, giving you up-to-date, transferable knowledge.

Think a role in fashion communications is right for you? Take the first step to your dream career and study with the Fashion Retail Academy!

If you have any questions about the courses on offer at the Fashion Retail Academy, send us an email at info@fra.ac.uk. We’d love to hear from you! 

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