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Updated Jan 03, 2024

10 Business Ideas for Fashion Fanatics

Ready to build the next fashion design startup? Here's what you need to know to break into the fashion industry.

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Sean Peek, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Analyst
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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We’ve come a long way since the days when the only coveted jobs in fashion were designer, photographer or model. People desiring to work in the industry today have a plethora of career options tailor-made to fit their expertise.

If the world of fashion excites you, there is a unique opportunity just waiting for you. Here are 10 business opportunities for fashion fanatics that can help you make a name for yourself in the field. 

Business opportunities for fashion lovers

Fashion event producer

Running a fashion show isn’t easy. Fashion event producers work with designers and models, and occasionally coach them pre-runway.

“You would help the designer with runway show casting and have an understanding of how clothes should be portrayed on the body and how the models should carry themselves,” said Kerry Bannigan, co-founder of Nolcha Shows, a New York-based fashion event production company. 

While startup costs are minimal – you won’t need employees or an office – you will need to do some heavy self-promotion. Relationships and referrals are key for this type of work, Bannigan said. Business cards, a user-friendly website showing an online portfolio and a printed portfolio are musts. Networking through industry-related websites is also essential, she added. 

Before you embark on this career, you should understand fashion shows, work with creative people and be flexible enough to deal with diverse personalities, Bannigan said. Income potential is based on the number of clients you have and how prestigious they are.

TipTip
Before you start your fashion business, there are a few things you need to consider. Check out these resources to help you launch your business successfully.

Fashion business coach

This profession is ideal for someone with a corporate background who wants to make a move into fashion. A fashion business coach guides design firms in how to run their business, including growth opportunities and everyday tasks such as invoice collection and bookkeeping. It can involve coaching the creative designer on how to perform and interact in different business settings, Bannigan explained.

Startup costs for a fashion coaching business are minimal, but earning potential is significant, Bannigan said. “Research consultancy services with established businesses can make six-figure salaries with constant clientele.”

Trademark attorney

Fashion is an industry built on creativity, and protecting the fruits of that creativity is extremely important. Attorneys who represent business owners on copyright and trademark matters are key players in the field. 

“I previously owned a women’s boutique before opening up my own law practice,” said Andrea Sager, attorney at Andrea Sager Law PLLC. “I have been able to remain in the industry by representing owners and designers on their copyright and trademark matters. I’ve been able to exclusively serve the fashion industry ever since I opened my own practice.”

A legal background is clearly necessary for this type of fashion career, but so is the desire to “help small business owners by giving them the representation they deserve,” Sager said. 

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
While it’s not a requirement, trademarking your business is a simple three-step process that can protect your brand from misuse.

Blogger

Some of today’s influential fashion websites – like The Sartorialist – debuted as small fashion blogs. They’ve since come into their own as thought leaders, and they sell plenty of advertising space. 

A fashion blog doesn’t require a large investment, as website development and hosting can be quite inexpensive. However, becoming a successful blogger requires significant legwork: Whether you’re stalking the city streets in search of fashionable photo-ops or following the moves of leading designers, you’ll need to track the trends at every moment. 

A benefit to fashion blogging is that it can complement your existing job, said Angie Wojak, director of career development at the School of Visual Arts. “You can start a blog on your own while looking for a job, and it doesn’t take a big outlay of cash.” 

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
Starting a fashion blog doesn’t have a large upfront cost, with affordable options for website creation and hosting.

Photo stylist

Photo stylists work with photographers to scout shoot locations, transport clothing to shoots, buy furniture and accessories, and make sure events go as planned. The role requires a good sense of fashion, an understanding of fashion history and the smarts to know where to source your products, according to Sara Petitt, coordinator of the fabric styling program at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Successful photo stylists can come from any background. They usually make their mark by performing well and gain business through word-of-mouth recommendations. Photo stylists can be paid hourly or by the project.

Public relations rep

Do you love to talk up your favorite designer brands to friends and family? Are you always searching for the latest fashion news and sample sales? If so, consider starting your own fashion public relations business. Fashion PR is a difficult field to break into, but with the right skill set and connections, you can help designers and other fashion businesses get noticed by the media and fashionistas.

There are several key components to success as a fashion PR professional: You must create strong brands for your clients to differentiate them from other designers, know how to work with fashion editors to gain magazine placements, coordinate with models and celebrities to get your clients’ work in the public eye, have a keen understanding of media trends, and be able to prove the value of your work.

As with any PR job, fashion publicists must be ready to put out fires and handle any crises that arise involving unhappy clients, models and editors. [Interested in doing PR yourself? Learn how to complement your marketing and advertising efforts with a DIY PR campaign.]

Personal stylist

You’d be surprised by the number of people willing to pay someone good money to scour their closet and replace dreary clothing with stylish items. You can run your own personal shopping service and revamp your clients’ entire wardrobe, all while getting paid by the hour.

As a fashionista, this job will keep you inspired as you help those who are unsatisfied with their own fashion sense. Using your passions and knowledge in the industry, you can help someone go from drab to fab. 

Fashion illustrator

If you’re artistic, you may find success as a fashion illustrator. Using pastels, pencils, oils, paints, markers and computers, you can create sketches to express designs and ideas.

There are many options for illustrators. For instance, you can work strictly for a designer or fashion company. Alternatively, you could freelance – working with high-end clients from home or at a studio. You may also sell your illustrations yourself or through a third party. Whichever avenue you choose, invest in the best material for your sketches, and have a strong social media presence to promote your content.

Retail analyst

The ability to identify emerging trends will make you popular in any fashion circle, but it can make you an indispensable asset for merchants and stores. Retail analysts use their passion for fashion and data to help retailers make crucial buying and selling decisions. [Read more about retail trends for 2024.]

According to Emily Bezzant, vice president of research and analysis at EDITED, the “role varies and changes daily depending on the time of year. The most important aspect of the job is to be as knowledgeable [as possible] about the calendar, which consists of notable events and holidays, so reports are timed correctly to help retailers.”

This role is a great one to consider for fashion fanatics who stay on top of trends and use their analytical minds. Successful retail analysts are detail-oriented, as they have to plan events and help retailers stay current on trends.

Fashion design company owner

Combine a love of fashion and business by starting a clothing line or fashion design firm. Owning your own business will not only cultivate your creativity, but it’ll also help you become an authority within the fashion industry. If you are a fashionista with an entrepreneurial spirit, this role is perfect for fashion designers who want to spread their clothing designs to a wide audience, grow their network and build upon business opportunities.

Make your entrepreneurial endeavor stylish

Breaking into the fashion industry is no small task, but for dedicated entrepreneurs with an eye for style, it could be the opportunity of a lifetime. And there are plenty of roles to choose from in the space, allowing you to pursue your passion however it best fits your skills. So, whether you see yourself on the catwalk or designing this season’s hottest apparel, the fashion industry may be the place for you. 

Tejas Vemparala contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

author image
Sean Peek, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Analyst
Sean Peek is the co-founder of a self-funded small business that employs more than a dozen team members. His years of hands-on entrepreneurial experience in bootstrapping, operations management, process automation and leadership have strengthened his knowledge of the B2B world and the most pressing issues facing business owners today. Peek uses his expertise to guide fellow small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the areas of marketing, finance and software technology. Peek excels at developing customer bases and fostering long-term client relationships, using lean principles to drive efficiency and cost-saving, and identifying growth areas. He has demonstrated his business savvy through collaborations with Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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