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Friday, May 16, 2014 at 1am

Seven Steps to Fashion Industry Success: MBA News

Seven Steps to Fashion Industry Success: MBA News main image

MBA students at London Business School have produced a guide to achieving fashion industry success, in a report commissioned by the British Fashion Council (BFC).

The new report, ‘Commercialising Creativity – Creating a Model for Success for British Fashion Designers’ stems from insights gleaned through interviews with fashion industry designers, businesses and stakeholders – among them Saks Fifth Avenue and Harrods.

The authors, Alessandra Basso and Alejandra Caro, are MBA students at London Business School. They stressed the importance of having a business perspective in making the following seven key recommendations for designers looking to achieve lasting success in the fashion industry:

  1. Behave as a business
  2. Recognize the importance of product development
  3. Develop the brand’s identity and support it with a marketing and communications plan
  4. Understand and address the challenges of production
  5. Develop a focused sales and distribution strategy
  6. Understand the importance of cash flow, funding and financing
  7. Secure specialist business partners

London Business School students aim to share industry knowledge

In compiling these recommendations, the report also draws upon the London Business School authors’ views on how British global brands Jimmy Choo and Stella McCartney found their unique selling points, as well as case studies looking at the success of designers, such as Mary Katrantzou – whose collection for Topshop sold out within days of its release in 2011.

“The aim of this report is to share the knowledge and experience that exists within the fashion industry with young designers who are starting their own businesses. We hope that our findings will support our creative peers in achieving commercial success,” said the London Business School students.

British Fashion Council wants to increase understanding

In the interests of making these findings accessible to young designers, the report will become available as an online guide. Having commissioned the report, the British Fashion Council said they hoped it could help decide what kind of business they aspire to be and the questions they need to address as a result.

“Our ambition is that future generations of designers will understand how to create a business plan and source investment in the same way the tech industry does,” explained the British Fashion Council’s CEO, Caroline Rush.

The overriding sense here is that the British Fashion Council is reluctant to see talented designers fail in their endeavors due to a lack of business acumen. However, the fashion industry is big business and its demand for leaders who understand its complexities has led to the emergence of a number of specialized MBA programs for those interested in working in fashion management, or the related field of luxury brand management. Indeed, interest in MBA programs focused on the latter has been particularly strong among applicants in China, in view of the country’s increasing appetite for luxury goods.

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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