Fashionistas style the business of the fashion industry

Anywhere you go today, followers of fashion carry designer bags, wear printed shirts and rock the craziest shoes. But how did all of that come about? Why does something as simple as a piece of material grab consumer’s attention?

According to Grab Stats, the fashion industry has employed over 4 million people, from distribution and marketing to publishing and consulting. Different industries and businesses are using fashion to improve their products and services.

Apple is creating the stylish Watch Edition, sport stores are selling colorful Nike basketball socks and even politicians are hiring stylists to pick out their next campaign outfit.

Three Arizona State University students, marketing and journalism senior Audree Lopez, design studies and business marketing senior Chloe Bosmeny and Entrepreneurship alum Lindsay Viker started the Business of Fashion club in the fall of 2013.

The girls created the Business of Fashion with $100 from each of their pockets.

“When we [Bosmeny and Lopez] came into ASU, there was no fashion program, club or resources for students who wanted to enter the industry,” says club president Lopez. “It [the club] was a resource to bring students, like-minded about fashion, together and start creating our own path into the industry.”

Business of Fashion is designed to network, create and learn more about the business aspect in the fashion industry. Before graduating, students have the opportunity to not only meet with people in the industry, but also get hands-on experience.

“Coming in as a freshman, I was really concerned about how I was going to work fashion into my education and keep that going throughout my college years to prepare me for the industry… so I joined the club and it provided me with so many amazing opportunities,” says club brand director and marketing sophomore Leah Tsonis. “My dream career would be celebrity stylists. So [for the spring fashion show] they let me forefront the styling committee and style an entire runway show … now I can put on my resume I styled a runway show and I have awesome photography to show it.”

Photo by Giselle Vazquez ASU Business of Fashion holds weekly meetings to discuss updates within the fashion industry. Photo by Giselle Vazquez

During the club’s weekly meeting, members and directors explained the different ways to start working for businesses in the fashion industry.

Lopez explained the importance of organizing your resume, creating a LinkedIn Profile and simply making a list of goals for yourself.

Some members interned for Stella McCartney and Giorgio Armani. Other students are currently interning for boutiques or fashion blogs around the area.

The club participates in Phoenix Fashion Week. From Oct. 1 to 4, local designers showcase their latest collections. The show’s ultimate goal is to “garner global exposure” for Arizona’s fashion industry.

Phoenix Fashion Week founder Brian Hill spoke on the club’s first meeting. He discussed with members about starting a brand and working in a fashion week. This year, Hill donated 50 free tickets so members could attend the fashion show.

The organization has “multifaceted” involvement, which means that students from different majors can get involved. Members learn not only about their field, but how to use that knowledge in the fashion world.

Whether it’s becoming a buyer or producing a commercial for the latest brand, the fashion industry is growing and so are the opportunities.

As opportunities in the industry grow, schools also develop programs surrounding fashion. "They might not understand it or what goes on behind it, but it’s about taking that leap of faith and meeting other individuals that are just as passionate as you are to help push you forward,” says Lopez. “I would probably still be lost in my college career figuring out what my major was but something so core as Business of Fashion has really helped me and made me excited for after college.”

Lopez explains how it is not only a necessity, but it will be beneficial for students to have a merchandise retail program here at ASU to further educate those who want to get involved in the industry’s business.

Bosmeny, the club’s co-president, adds that while studying abroad, she saw a different country take their fashion more seriously as a profession than they do here and believes that will spread.

“Looking at other schools that are already building up their fashion programs, it’s going to be a valuable skill for ASU,” says Bosmeny. “Multiple colleges within ASU have already shown interest in creating these fashion programs, so really it’s just a matter of us getting resources together and proving a point.”

Fashion is becoming more than just shopping and what you wear. It’s a business that involve many specializations.

The next time you see that simple top or an accessory laying around, remember that an industry boasting 4 million people is behind it.

Reach the writer at @iamgisellevr



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