Every aspect of the fashion industry from editorial to PR to styling to buying and even designing is all time sensitive. If you want to be in this industry, you are always going to be under pressure and you need to grow a thick skin. The Fashion industry is a ruthless world and people are quick to call you out if you don’t know what you are talking about.
While it seems like the world is fascinated by African Fashion and designs, I don’t understand why the African fashion industry isn’t blowing up. Designers in Africa are still trying to find a sustainable market locally although some are thriving. I think a problem with fashion today is that everyone feels they can do it, there is too much fashion. Some people believe that they can easily create a brand or set up a fashion business although they come from a non-fashion background. They have the love for clothing but really don’t understand what goes into it. Fashion is a business, it’s about generating money, giving a new direction in society, and it is about creativity. When you explain the process and the time it takes to create or deliver a physical product to someone who has never been through the stages or seen the development process, you are at times are faced with a lack of understanding or appreciation.
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Cheap Mass Production at the Expense of Craft and Quality. Because of international mass production, consumers these days don’t appreciate high quality fashion that much anymore, and are not willing to pay for it. Appreciation for timeless design and the desire for long-lasting garments is sadly becoming more and more seldom. There is a lot of competition in the industry and many people are willing to sacrifice quality and creativity in order to change their wardrobe. It is really difficult to be a designer nowadays simply because there are so many brands existing and competing out there. The industry is crowded and consequently it gets harder and harder to sell and make your mark. The budget to manage a fashion business has increased as fashion markets have grown exponentially, and it is becoming more difficult for new brands and emerging designers to survive in the current fashion market. As a result, we are losing out on the opportunity to see up-and-coming, new brands and designers, and it also incurs a loss of diversity in fashion. . Fashion designers play a big role in the fashion industry, they are the reason we wear what we wear. There are so many talented up-and-coming fashion designers with great ideas; however, there are challenges that hinder their success in the fashion industry. It is hard for up-and-coming designers to find a platform to showcase their work. It is all about being well connected in the fashion industry, who you know counts. Getting your work out there alone may be difficult if you do not have the right connections
Lack of international presence is also a big challenge. Our fabrics, our textiles and our prints are being showcased on the international market by Western designers. Due to lack of international exposure we can’t do anything about that. While African designers can become famous and successful on the continent, those who are most competitive and who are garnering more support are the ones who are able to travel internationally.
Stealing of ideas.
For an industry that’s supposed to be rooted in originality and creative expression, fashion sure has a lot of copycats. Designers are constantly accused of ripping off each other’s work. This issue is so common that designers have even begun focusing more on fabric quality and cut in order to prevent this rampant forgery.
Cash for coverage.
Publications have always relied on advertisers to provide funding for content.
Editorial favors, like highlighting certain products in shoots, or even writing entire articles about a brand, have become the norm. In fact, advertisers that pay more money tend to get more coverage, period. Magazines even go so far as to feature brands they normally wouldn’t, simply because they pay. This happens far more than most industry players would like to admit.
The creative director is the one who gets to take the runway bow and give dozens of interviews, but the success of a fashion brand often times relies on a whole team of people who work under him or her. Usually a deputy designer or design director works alongside the creative director, but because they don’t speak to the press, they hardly ever get any recognition. Other hardworking unsung heroes include the PR teams, studio assistants, and more, who make the production and publicity machines, run smoothly. The fashion industry loves to spotlight its star players but can ignore those working assiduously out of the spotlight in order to make the clothes or produce the content that the industry is all about in the first place.
Exploitation and Greed. With the sewing machine, People saw the speed at which garments could be produced, and time equals money. Factory production has pushed humans to the limit, with disastrous consequences. Today there is too much fashion, and everybody wants a piece of it. The cost of luxury fashion is absurd and there is the issue of underpaid models, photographers, stylist, PR etc.
Although in recent times there is been some development and opportunities, i believe there is much room for improvement. The lack of business skills and funds, availability of fabrics, distribution challenge, lack of international exposure and platforms, getting good manufacturers are all things that contribute to make this industry a tough one. Designers need to get PR, as a beginner you might not see the importance of this but as time goes on you will realize that you need a PR to help balance things. Working in this industry takes more than knowing fashion. This industry chews and spits out countless hopefuls. It’s hard to make a successful career in fashion without serious hard work and perseverance. You have to be so tough just like the industry.