Retail Dogma

Fashion Business Management

Fashion business management involves the end-to-end process of designing, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and retailing of fashion products. These fashion products could be apparel, footwear, leather goods or accessories.

The process mixes the creativity of the fashion industry, with the commerciality of running a retail business.

What are The Different Departments in a Fashion Company?

A fashion business will typically have the following departments:

  • Fashion Design: This department comes up with the new concepts and designs for each collection
  • Sourcing: The sourcing department is responsible for the procurement of the different materials and overseeing the manufacturing of the products that have been designed in house.
  • Fashion Buying: In many fashion businesses, the products are not designed in house, and the buying department goes to different designers and buys the collections from them, to sell them at the company’s stores.
  • Merchandising: The merchandising department is responsible for having the right products at the right locations at the right time in the right quantities.
  • Retail Operations: This department is responsible for running the retail stores on a day to day basis.
  • Fashion Marketing: The marketing department promotes the brand to the final consumers, through social media marketing, fashion influencers, event management, brand collaborations and advertising campaigns
  • Visual Merchandising: The VM department is responsible for the visual display of merchandise in the stores
Retail Management Courses

Fashion Business Management Characteristics

Fashion business management differs from other retail businesses in that it is highly seasonal and requires constant newness of products to be launched in the stores.

This typically happened on a biannual basis, with the launch of Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections, but with the rise of fast fashion retailing, new products are being launched almost every month in the stores, which has been increasing the number of styles on sale at any given time.

Product offering in fast fashion business
This artwork by Retail Dogma, Inc. is licensed under CC BY 4.0 
You are allowed to share it on your website with attribution.

Collections are planned for in advance (as far as 9 months in advance) and need to be carefully planned and executed, so that they can be launched on time in the stores and reap the benefit of the season’s window to sell all the merchandise.

The other characteristic of managing a fashion business is that it is closely related to the current trends and pop culture. So buyers, fashion designers and fashion marketers should always be up to date with the latest trends in general and specifically trends in fabrics, colors and styles.

Read Also: Fashion Buying

How Do You Pursue a Career in Fashion Business Management?

You can start by learning about the fashion industry and the different departments inside a fashion business, as well as the retail industry in general.

You will find a lot of free resources here

Then choose which aspect of the business you’re more attracted to.

Are you more of a creative person? Then you might be interested in fashion design, fashion buying, visual merchandising or marketing.


Are you more of an analytical or commercial person? Then you could be fit for roles in merchandise planning and merchandising.

Do you like interacting with people? Then a career at fashion stores in operations might be good for you.

Then you can start applying for the career opportunities related to your chosen department, and build your career upwards into managerial level. from there.

Career Opportunities in Fashion Include:

  • Fashion Designer
  • Fashion Buyer
  • Planner
  • Merchandiser
  • Fashion Brand Manager
  • Fashion Store Manager
  • Visual Merchandiser
  • Fashion Marketer

join the academy

Retail Management Courses

Fashion Business Management Resources

Join our learning program and learn about the different aspects of running a fashion retail business.

You will get deep into the technical sides of managing retail businesses, and learn about retail math, retail operations, pricing, merchandising and inventory management.

In addition to that, you will also learn fundamental business knowledge that is essential to managing retail businesses, such as marketing, economics, consumer behavior and strategy.

Check out what’s inside the program from here.

Read MoreOn