Who: Laura Egeln, PhD, is a professor in the College of Business at Johnson & Wales University Charlotte, as well as an online faculty member.
Agree or Disagree with Article: Agree
Her Take: Business of Fashion, a respected and influential industry blog, completed their annual survey of fashion students and alumni and found that the majority of students felt that they didn’t receive enough business education. Lack of business education was indicated as a key weakness of the fashion education.
These findings represent the long-standing tension of the perfect balance between creative and business education. Oftentimes, students are drawn to fashion because of the creative aspects of the industry and seek jobs in design, styling, and marketing. In order to be sustainable for the future, however, it is necessary to develop an understanding of the business of how fashion works.
If the goal is to design a beautiful garment, then creative education alone serves the purpose. BUT if the goals is to design a beautiful garment that customers will purchase, it is essential to also deliver business education.
A great illustration of this is reflected in the need for business majors to take an accounting class. While they will not necessarily become accountants, it is vital that as a manager or executive they have a basic understanding of the numbers so that the resources they are responsible for aren’t being taken from under them.
There are schools who are already getting it right: At Johnson & Wales University, the bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising & Retailing has a business foundation.
Students take courses such as Financial Accounting, Contemporary Business Management, Principles of Marketing, Human Resource Management, and more.
Overall, additional business education is needed in response to changes in the fashion industry related to jobs and careers. Just 20 years ago, a creative person would seek a creative education and spend their career solely on the creative side, designing and sewing garments. Now a creative person will only spend a small fraction of their time on creativity with a greater amount of time on implementation processes and management. Understanding how to manage a successful process, as well as people, is key to becoming a successful professional in the fashion industry. Taking even an introduction to business will be beneficial, but to be one of the best qualified candidates in the industry, it is necessary to take multiple business courses.
Learn more about the online Fashion Merchandising & Retailing bachelor’s degree at Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education. For more information, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.