THE FASHION REPORT: THE BUSINESS OF FASHION

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In the coming months, in addition to our regular musings on all things lifestyle, luxury, fashion, design and leisure, The Luxury Lifestyle Guide will explore the business side of fashion. We will not only explore what it takes to be creatively successful but also how to establish a financially successful fashion business in the South African fashion market.

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Whilst it is true that the South African fashion industry has experienced unprecedented development since the advent of the South African democracy, it is also true that fashion designers and their businesses have also encountered corresponding challenges and frustrations regarding issues such as starting a fashion business, securing the necessary funding and putting into place the required infrastructure. In spite of the increased demand for collections from emerging designers by fashion consumers locally and abroad, it is no secret that at least 95% of fashion start-ups fail. Even the best laid plans of business-ignorant, remarkably creative fashion designers come to naught.

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It is a common feature of the South African fashion fraternity to hear (independent) fashion designers lament the lack of support from the government, private sector and consumers – and not without some degree of justification – but I often wonder if the demanded support was given how many of our local designers have the business savvy to build a truly successful fashion business. Let us be frank: our designers don’t go to fashion school to learn about the business of fashion, to their detriment. At best, most possess a very juvenile and useless understanding of the how-to of fashion business.

So, as an interested party in the fashion fraternity, I am beginning this series in an effort to lay down as introductory guideline on how start-up a fashion business and develop it into a successful enterprise. This guideline will provide a logical and systematic progression common in the lifecycle of all businesses.

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Do I have what it takes to start-up a fashion business? How can I get funding? What are the traits of a successful fashion business? Which takes precedence, creative or operational and sales personnel? How do I choose suitable investors and partners? These are but a few of the topics and issues we will explore and for which we hope to propose meaningful and practical solutions.

As we go on this journey of inquiry together, I look forward to your questions, points of contention and feedback. For now, however, you can begin to contemplate about what you can expect to see in the coming weeks:

  • Forecast: 7 South African Fashion Brands of the Future
  • An Overview of the South Africa Fashion Scenario
  • Back to Business Basics
  • The Value Traits of Successful Fashion Businesses
  • Setting-up Shop (The How-to Guide of Fashion Business)
  • Business Planning: The Foundation of Successful Fashion Businesses
  • Overcoming the Challenge of Funding
  • Design & Development Management
  • Marketing & Sales Management
  • Production & Supply Management
  • Retail Management
  • Fashion Business Leadership & Management
  • Planning for Succession: The Challenge of Independent Fashion Businesses
  • Analysis: 7 South African Fashion Businesses that are Doing It Right

Live the life!

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