How to Become a Marketing Manager in the Fashion Industry

Marketing professionals working in the fashion industry must be knowledgeable about customer needs and fashion trends.
Marketing professionals working in the fashion industry must be knowledgeable about customer needs and fashion trends. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Marketing professionals working in the fashion industry perform similar duties as marketing experts in other industries. In addition to conducting market research and managing the e-commerce activities for company products, marketing professionals maintain websites, compose newsletters and handle internal communications for their organization. However, additional credentials such as previous experience in the fashion industry or a degree in a related discipline are necessary for obtaining a position with a clothing, shoe or retail company.

Things You'll Need

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Minimum three to five years of work experience

Obtain a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, fashion merchandising, business administration, management or an industry-related discipline. Take classes covering fashion merchandising, textile sciences, public relations, finance and accounting. Participate in internships with boutiques, fashion outlets, department stores or clothing companies that offer hands-on training and work experience.

Apply for an entry-level position as a marketing coordinator or sales assistant with a fashion company. Shadow experienced employees and build your experience by working on projects that cover all areas of marketing. Volunteer for projects involving sales analysis, advertising, promotions, consumer behavior and graphic design. Become familiar with Internet technologies such as search engine optimization, display advertising and social media.

Spend at least three to five years developing expertise in the fashion sector. Learn the latest marketing and fashion trends as well as marketing tools used to monitor and measure media in major fashion publications. Accumulate experience by planning and executing marketing campaigns; writing email newsletters; handling investor relations; supervising subordinates; and working closely with management to improve business processes. Work on strengthening your project management, communication, leadership and analytical skills to improve your chances for promotion to positions with greater responsibility.

Apply for marketing manager roles internally or with an outside company that better matches your career interests, skill set and long-term goals. Demonstrate your experience in the fashion industry by developing a well-organized resume. Consider maintaining an online blog on the fashion industry, or a Web portfolio that displays work and achievements from previous fashion marketing positions. Use your resume, blog and online portfolio to distinguish yourself from other job candidates.

Tips & Warnings

  • Often, college internships with fashion companies are unpaid. Consider working out an arrangement with your school and internship coordinator that involves receiving school credit toward your degree. Some companies will also provide a stipend that covers lunch or public transportation to and from the internship.
  • Because marketing positions within the fashion industry are extremely competitive, some professionals get their foot in the door by working first as an administrative or executive assistant. Accumulate experience in the industry and network with industry professionals as an admin assistant to increase your chances of moving into a marketing-related role.
  • Start your fashion marketing career by focusing your experience in the niche where you want to work. For instance, if you want to eventually work as a marketing manager for a children's company, obtain internships and positions in firms that specialize in toddler fashion or pre-teen apparel.

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