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Pros and Cons of a Career in Fashion Management

If you are interested in the fashion industry, a management career will allow you to collaborate with designers, merchandisers, retailers and manufacturers around the world. You can learn more about these professions at a glance here:

Fashion Product Manager Fashion Brand Manager Fashion Marketing Manager Career Overview Product managers use trend analysis to focus on the development of fashion products that will appeal to consumers. Brand managers study the marketplace and work to create successful strategies for product placement in the fashion, textile and retail industries. Marketing managers create marketing strategies and campaigns to generate consumer interest in fashion and textile products. Education Requirement Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Program Length Four years full-time Four years full-time Four years full-time Experience Requirement 1-2 years of experience in a related field 1-2 years of experience in a related field 1-2 years of experience in a related field Job Outlook for 2012-2022 Average growth (12%) compared to all occupations Average growth (12%) compared to all occupations Average growth (12%) compared to all occupations Mean Yearly Salary ,515 - 7,758 (2014) ,929 - 4,523 (2014) ,718 - 3,800 (2014)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Product Manager

Product managers design and develop products based on trend analysis and other skill sets. Typically, these professionals in the fashion and textile industries have an understanding of fashion design and development, legal aspects of the trade and merchandising. As a type of advertising, promotions and marketing manager, essential job duties for product mangers include selecting necessary media, negotiating contracts, analyzing market research and developing pricing strategies. In addition, professionals usually work full-time in an office setting. Travel may be necessary when meeting with clients.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), advertising, promotions and marketing managers must have at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as marketing, advertising or sales. Undergraduate degrees in fashion and/or textile management are also available. Advancement in this field is gained through work experience. Internships and summer jobs are highly recommended. Certification and licensure is not necessary.

In November 2012, some employers of product managers were looking for the following:

  • A power-sports apparel company wants to hire a product manager to work full-time at the Tennessee office. Responsibilities include developing a marketing strategy through collaboration with other managers, managing brand identity, conducting market surveys, identifying trends and driving sales. Candidates must be high achievers with strong project management and communication skills.
  • A jewelry company is seeking a product development manager to research and develop new concepts and ideas. Responsibilities include managing administrative functions, updating databases, distributing reports, brainstorming with the product development team and expanding the design pool. Candidates must have either a bachelor's or master's degree in an art-related field with at least two years experience. Experience with jewelry materials, Illustrator and a creative work environment are essential.
  • A textile company in New Jersey is seeking a product development manager willing to travel to China on occasion to oversee product quality in a manufacturing factory. Duties include analyzing product lines, presenting merchandising ideas, coordinating with the in-house buying team and managing accounts. Candidates must have experience in either apparel or home textiles. In addition, a technical background in fashion design with an understanding of both manufacturing and product development are essential.

Standing Out

A background in design as well as business can enable you to stand out amongst your peers. An understanding of statistics and mathematics can also help you gain an edge when analyzing market research data. Participate in multiple internships during your undergraduate studies, and try to gain work experience with reputable fashion houses over your summer breaks.

Brand Manager

Brand managers position products of the fashion and textile industries within the marketplace. Professionals study trends and utilize branding strategies to gain an understanding of consumers and maintain their brand loyalty. An understanding of brand management, marketing, consumer behavior, retail buying and merchandising are key to this profession. Professionals typically work full-time in an office setting, and advancement is obtained through work experience.


Brand managers can be categorized as advertising, promotions and marketing managers. According to the BLS, these professionals need a bachelor's degree to gain entry-level employment in this field. Areas of study include fashion management, advertising, marketing and sales. Internships and summer jobs are highly recommended in order to gain valuable work experience that can help you gain entrance into this highly competitive field. Certification and licensure is not necessary.

In November 2012, some employers of brand managers were looking for the following:

  • A luxury brand management company in New York is looking to hire a fashion production manager to oversee all development processes. Duties include conducting both product and market analysis, attending garment meetings, selecting manufacturers and analyzing the environment of this industry. Candidates must have more than five years experience with an haute couture company and a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.
  • A retail company based in Florida wants to hire a brand manager for the marketing department. Responsibilities include developing marketing programs coordinated around product launches involving sports events and athletes, executing retail programs, coordinating special in-store events and utilizing administrative skills. The employer prefers candidates with experience using Microsoft Office and social media, as well as working with creative agencies.
  • A fashion boutique in Texas wants to hire a brand manager with at least an associate's degree. Duties include overseeing consistent customer service, coaching employees, controlling payroll hours and directing merchandise presentations. Additional responsibilities include developing business strategies, analyzing business reports and representing the brand. Candidates must have at least one year of experience within the retail industry as either an assistant manager or supervisor.

Standing Out

To stand out as a brand manager, you should gain a deep understanding of product development, public relations, retail buying and fashion publishing. Courses in business law, statistics, mathematics and computer science can also be beneficial, especially when you are responsible for analyzing business statistics and research. Internships with prominent fashion houses and retailers can improve your chances of finding employment within this competitive industry.

Marketing Manager

Advertising, promotions and marketing managers analyze relevant market research to develop effective campaigns, pricing strategies and marketing plans. The main task of a marketing manager is to discover new markets, predict demand for products and generate interest with consumers. An understanding of design trends, fashion cycles and global culture is essential. Professionals work full-time in office settings, and this career can be particularly stressful as deadlines approach. Travel may be required.


A bachelor's degree is the entry-level requirement for this field in combination with valuable work experience in marketing, sales, advertising and/or promotions. A background in statistics, finance, marketing, economics, business law and accounting would be beneficial. Internships and work experience with reputable retailers, marketing firms and fashion houses are essential in this competitive field. Certification and licensure is not necessary.

In November 2012, some employers of marketing managers were looking for the following:

  • A retailer in Massachusetts wants to hire a director/senior manager of brand marketing. Candidates must have a college degree with more than 12 years of experience, at least five of which should be related to marketing, advertising or retail. Strong marketing skills focused on the retail and fashion industries are essential.
  • A contemporary fashion company in California wants to hire a marketing manager with at least a bachelor's degree and five to seven years of experience in advertising, branding and marketing. Responsibilities include writing reports and executing marketing programs. Experience with social media and business-to-customer marketing are preferred.
  • A dance wear company in Missouri is seeking a marketing manager to develop and oversee marketing plans along with the merchandising team. Duties include managing the direct mail production process, coordinating catalog development, managing marketing interns and executing market research. Candidates must have between eight to 10 years of experience in catalog production management and a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.

Standing Out

To stand out as a marketing manager within the fashion industry, you may wish to gain a background and understanding in the business aspects of this particular industry through courses and internships. In addition, courses in strategic management, the history of fashion, fashion merchandising, global sources and visual communication could be beneficial. As this is a global industry, knowledge of a foreign language, such as French or Italian, could help you gain an edge amongst your peers.

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