Obviously there must be leaders in the world of fashion; if there weren’t then who would we follow? These are people who are making noteworthy changes in the world of wearable design, whether that’s creating something fresh and exciting or always showcasing the latest trends.
But how did they get to where they are today and who decided that they could dictate what we should be wearing and how we should style it?
Primarily, it is designers that first come to mind when considering fashion leaders, those who have earned the right to be constantly treading the boards of the catwalk, deciding what clothes constitute as ‘fashionable’. From Vivienne Westwood and Donatella Versace to the likes of the celebrity-turned-fashion designers, such as Victoria Beckham.
But there are also members of the media that have earned the credibility to pass their opinion of fashion trends on to potential consumers. Fashions most famous Editor, Anna Wintour, has been at Vogue for 25-years, in which time she has built up such a reputation that she received the Outstanding Achievement Award at last year’s British Fashion Awards for her tremendous contribution to the industry. Why? Well, she is also a businesswoman as well as having fantastic knowledge of fashion.
Much like many other thought leader, along with hard work and determination in the cut-throat world of fashion, Wintour will have made bold business moves that played an integral part in reaching the top. So what exactly did she and people like her do, to get there?
They have built a brand
This is probably the most important thing to do and something that has taken many from followers of fashion to leaders in their field. They have built a brand and created a community.
For example, Burberry became iconic for their print with, which their brand was built around; that distinctive tartan pattern that adorns their range means that it is instantly recognisable. It is the whole package that will attract an audience and keep them coming back to hear what you have to offer next.
They are forward thinking
Fashion leaders are not thinking about now, they are thinking about next year and the year after. While fashion followers are deciding what to wear this summer, fashion leaders will already be thinking about what they should be wearing the following season.
They create amazing content
This includes blogs, product descriptions, visual communication including images and video. The climb to the top requires more than simply wearing great clothes. They need to be backed up with content, displayed through the correct imagery and described in a way that sells the item but also reflects the brand.
You need to be shown more than just a skirt, but rather THE skirt. There is a huge difference between seeing it on a hanger and being shown it on a ‘cool girl’ at a festival and picturing yourself as her. Whether it’s kids watches, ladies shoes or men’s suits, those who excel in the world of fashion know who their audience is and then target them directly.
They are ALWAYS new
This goes without saying, in the ever-changing world of fashion you need to not only keep up with your competitors but get ahead of them. Constantly coming up with new and innovative ideas, all while holding on to your uniqueness and the essence of your brand.
For example, Victoria Beckham had to shake off her Posh Spice/girl power image and work to be taken seriously in the fashion industry, she was criticised for sticking to a tried-and-tested formula of chic black, but has since silenced the critics with a circus-inspired collection for Spring 2016.
They use their connections
Fashion leaders cross over, building connections, which in turn help to put them at the forefront of the industry. Returning to Anna Wintour, as an example of someone regularly considered part of the “FRow” at fashion weeks, she is often pictured with the likes of Chanel’s Karl Lagerfield, as well as playing an active role in fundraising and supporting creative talent.
She was also responsible for founding the careers of esteemed designers such as Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen, which proves that using connections goes both ways.
These are just a few examples of what it takes to get to the top of the fashion chain, but also confirms that the key makings of a fashion leader come from having good business sense alongside your knowledge of fashion.