As a third year student, I’m often asked what I want to do when I graduate from my fashion marketing degree. And my reply?
I want to work in sportswear.
People are often surprised at not only how definite my answer is but the area I want to go into. Surely if I’ve studied fashion, I’d want to work in fashion, and ladieswear at that?
Let me explain. In my degree I’ve studied marketing, financial management, international business, product design, corporate strategy, and business simulation. Throughout, we had to relate the theory back to fashion practice, but it’s basically prepared me for a career within any business and marketing sphere, with knowledge thrown in about fibres, threads, quality control, and garment construction. In that respect clothes are the same as underwear, the same as kidswear, the same as underwear, the same as bedding, and so on.
I admit, at one point I dreamt of working for the luxurious Chanel, or the ever-youthful, fast-moving Topshop. Over time, though, I have become jaded with the passing fashion seasons. They seem to pass quicker each year – and indeed they do, with the new fashion seasons, cruise and pre-fall, being pushed on customers, encouraging them to spend even more money. And on what? The same stuff they were pushed into buying last year but were then told was out of fashion, hence the clothes being stuffed into bags and sent to the charity shop, or worse – forgotten about in the back of a wardrobe.
Now, I’m not saying sportswear is perfect, not by a long stretch. Normally, though, much-hyped new releases are because of new technologies and developments in fabric that complement your existing workout kit. It’s a slower-moving industry, that allows more time on quality control, product development, and consequently marketing. That’s why you will find that, cared for well, your gym stuff will last longer than similarly-priced fast fashion. And, normally when you buy performance gear, it’s because you want or need it – and not because a celebrity has been spotted wearing it. How novel!
Sportswear is not so far away from fashion nowadays, anyway. Thanks to runway designers like Alexander Wang and Philip Lim showcasing sports luxe trends, with mesh, lycra and sleek cuts trickling down to Topshop and Zara; on the flipside, brands like Nike, Sweaty Betty and Charli Cohen creating street-ready looks just as at home at Fashion Week as in the gym.
So where will I get with my desire to work in sportswear? Watch this space – only time and hard work will tell.