• Vyy Bui

FASHION DESIGN VS. FASHION MARKETING: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

When I share my experience in taking a double degree, many of you have shown interest in the distinction between Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing. Originating from a sole interest in fashion design, it took me quite a while to get familiar with a second major and balancing the two was nowhere short of difficult.


In today’s article, I would like to share in deeper detail these experiences so that those who are still wondering what major to choose can have more direction. Let’s find out!

IMAGE: @VOGUE

1. CREATIVE DIFFERENCES

In a general artistic field or in fashion, creativity is a given. However, creativity in fashion design and fashion marketing are two different things. How do they differ?

IMAGE: @WESTMINSTER FASHION

Creativity in fashion design is a process of developing concepts, forms and material processing. Creative thinking in fashion design is mostly about the structure of the collection and the trend(s) it follows. This job requires expert knowledge of fabrics, accessories, illustrative skills and all the materials needed to build the collection. Design also comes with a lot of different styles; factors like stage design and commercial benefits must be balanced by students and designers alike. It is important that designs are updated to the needs and body types of consumers.








IMAGE: @THE FASHION BUSINESS COACH

Conversely, creative thinking in fashion marketing is heavily commercial-based and profit driven. If fashion design deals with creating a collection, fashion marketing answers the question of whether that collection reaches the audience. Content creation, as such, helps us create stories and meaningful messages for that collection. Marketing is precisely the mode of artistic communication to the masses. To achieve this, a Marketer must have a way with their words. The challenging part of content creation is making that content approachable to the audience of the collection.








2. EMOTION OR LOGIC


I don’t know about anyone else, but to me, Design is the heart and Marketing is the mind. Emotion and logic here don’t necessarily mean I prefer one major over another, but I want to delineate their key differences.


For Fashion Design, perhaps we listen to our heart more. Each designer has their own style with unique, eccentric personalities and sometimes their creativity is highly fantastical. When designing, we tend to be less calculative and go where our imagination takes us. Creativity in fashion design comes from spurs of inspiration, so you need personal feelings to come up with groundbreaking ideas. A design can go through several changes, but for the original ideas to come to life, you need to listen to yourself and what you truly like.


IMAGE: @ZANDRA

For Fashion Marketing, it’s an entirely different conversation with “logic”. We have to cater to the market and the customer, sometimes with things that aren’t aesthetically appealing but bring profit. Before, when I read brand ads or online articles, I don’t think much of them any more than their entertainment value. Now I realized that every action, sentence and imagery in Marketing needs to have a purpose, and that purpose is the emotion of the consumers.


Of course, I don’t deny that there is logic in the design process as well. In fact, as I said before, you need logic and reasoning to create a collection that meets the customer’s needs. But did you know that the reasoning aspect still comes from a Marketing perspective. That is approaching the customer and selling the product. To balance the creative and commercial aspects of the collection is hard, and balancing between Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing is harder. But sooner or later we need to master it to establish a personal, individual brand.


3. PHOTOGRAPHIC CREATIVITY DIFFERENCES

When I first studied Fashion Marketing, I felt a little pressure to be creative in photography. Actually, because I was only starting out, I didn’t fully comprehend the nuances and niches of each field (and I was a little reluctant to fully embrace studying Marketing) so I didn’t really like the graphic design criteria in my new major.


IMAGE: @PIXELIFY, @ART COUTURE


It can be seen that fashion design portfolio boards (concept board, moodboard, line-up, fabric & color board…) are generally presented in highly creative and sometimes unconventional ways. You can be taken aback by the color changes and the eye-catching layers of design students in many of their assignments. I used to be like that, not holding back with my layouts and sometimes getting a tad bit chaotic. I told myself that it was the only way to be truly creative and leave a strong impression. That was why I felt discouraged and uninspired when Marketing brought rigid design criteria with standardized layouts and calculative choices.

  • White negative space, minimal text.

  • Ratios and spatial balance.

  • Only choose 1-2 of the most impressive pictures per page.

  • Minimalist and contemporary.

  • Distance effects.


But my boss once said something that I still remember to this day "if you give me a blank sheet of paper, then find a way to create impressive things from that white background". At that time, I understood that I needed to change my mind and adapt to the situation. It's not as boring as I thought, it's all because I haven't really invested my "gray matter" to make a breakthrough. Up to the present time, the layout of Marketing (logical - clean - balanced - clear) has been applied by me to the graphic style of fashion design. It helps me learn the necessary moderation so others can fully comprehend my work. In addition, I feel extremely interested in this way of making images and in fact the "gaps" on the page can create a special visual story.


4. WORKING SPACE AND MATERIALS

Whereas fashion design students are generally cooped up in their sewing spaces, fabric markets with their staplers, fabric scissors, mannequins… then fashion marketing students cannot go without their laptop with 1001 tabs open and applications that help with research and planning. The domain of a fashion marketing student includes social media and specific sites alike. As well as fashion design, fashion marketing needs to continually update on trends on more so research competitors and their marketing strategies. Nowadays, Digital Marketing is heavily researched and strategized in Fashion Marketing. This is a field that truly requires a lot of brain power because each social media has its unique selling points and thus different marketing strategies required. Some people think that Marketing in fashion would be “easier” than Design, because of the reduction in materials needed. In reality, each major has their challenges and cannot be compared as such.

IMAGE: @PAULE KA


5. CAREER PATHS

There are people who have approached me not knowing whether to study Fashion Design or Fashion Marketing because they aren’t sure of the career paths led by each major. Let’s find out possible positions you could look into!

IMAGE: @THECUADRO

1. Career paths related to Fashion Design

  • Fashion designer

  • Assistant fashion designer

  • Material design

  • Pattern design

  • Fashion illustration

  • Production management

  • Costume design

  • Accessory design

2. Career paths related to Fashion Marketing

  • Fashion marketing expert

  • Sales expert

  • Creative director

  • Display expert

  • Journalist, reporter, fashion critic

  • Fashion blogger

  • Brand ambassador/manager

  • Stylist




HOWEVER, THE FIELDS/MAJORS HAVE A DEEPLY INTIMATE CONNECTION

IMAGE: @VOGUE MAGAZINE

It can be said that Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing are fundamentally different in brainstorming and development. But there cannot be one without the other, because the fashion brand would quickly deteriorate without the interlink of the two.


Creativity and artistry of design in the foundation of marketing and conversely, realism and logic of marketing completes the design.


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