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What roles does a fashion designer play in the production process?

Fashion designers work on the design of a clothing range. While many are generalist, working across a wide field, some fashion designers may focus completely on a specialist area, such as sportswear, childrenswear, womenswear, menswear or accessories.

The main markets you will work in as a fashion designer are haute couture, designer ready-to-wear and high street fashion. Developments in technology mean that a designer ready-to-wear product can be produced as a high street version in less than six weeks.
Depending on level of responsibility and the company, a fashion designer may work to their own brief or be given a brief to work towards (including specifications in relation to colour and fabric) and develop a product from this.

Tasks depend on the market the fashion designer is producing for, but core responsibilities include creating/visualising an idea and making a sketch by hand or using computer aided design, keeping up to date with emerging fashion trends, liaising closely with sales, buying and production teams to ensure the item complements other products, negotiating with customers and suppliers and overseeing production.

Experienced fashion designers with larger companies may focus more on the design aspect, with pattern cutters and machinists preparing sample garments. In smaller companies these, and other tasks, may be part of the fashion designer's role.

Merchandising is about planning and developing a strategy to enable a company to sell a range of products that delivers sales and profit targets. A Merchandiser will work closely with a Buyer to ensure the product that's bought will enable them to achieve the sales plan.

It is essential that you have the following:

* A numerate degree i.e. Maths, Statistics, Finance, Business Studies, Geography, etc.
* Some solid retail experience
* Analytical Skills
* Communication Skills
* Resilience under Pressure
* Commercial Awareness

Store Manager
While seemingly obvious, the job of store manager is a job title with many connotations. A store manager can also be called a branch manager or general manager and the size of business unit being managed can also vary massively.

Store managers will often be involved in a number of disciplines such as advertising campaigns and sales promotions. It is likely that they will be involved, to varying degrees, with the recruitment and training of personnel. The store manger job may also include responsibility for stock control and stock levels, budget drafting, and the recommendation or implementation of store procedures and policies. Managers may also oversee the refitting or opening of a store, plan store layouts and design displays, decide selling strategies, and in some cases, represent the store in negotiations with manufacturers.

In some companies, the store management job includes the requirement to stock shelves and work in a very "hands-on" way. A good manager, will work with their team, organising their time so that everyone is working together.

Account Manager
The general duties of an account manager include costing products, researching the market, negotiating prices and deliveries and briefing designers on the requirements of the customer. In addition to these tasks, an account manager is expected to have a good level of commercial awareness gained through competitive shop visits and keeping up to date with reading material, for example trade press, to develop the business.

Developing and maintaining a broad base of suppliers is essential in this role, as a successful relationship between supplier and account manager can be vital. Effective communication is essential to this relationship, as is a sharp eye for using the right supplier for the right product area. A good account manager should not be afraid, however, to continually explore new supplier opportunities to get the best result for their customer.

As an account manager, you will be expected to use negotiation effectively using your natural ability to influence internal and external parties. You will be able to work within a team, offering support where necessary, but also be able to work on your own initiative and prioritise your own workload. A successful account manager will be self motivated and able to motivate and inspire others as well as being highly driven and able to work under high pressure to meet deadlines.



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