Business in fashion. 35 careers, which is for you?

In this blog, I would love us to explore the business in fashion. I believe it is high time this issue is addressed so that you can be clear about the type of business you want to build and also know how to establish a business in fashion. In our Joadre Lab program term 2019/2020, we currently have over 6 businesses in the fashion industry in Nigeria and Ghana. Coaching these African entrepreneurs in our coaching room, has provided me with more knowledge about the diverse significant challenges they face and the misunderstandings they have about business in fashion. 

If you are or want to be either a fashion designer or build a business in the fashion industry, this blog article series “Business in fashion” and the upcoming podcasts is for you. It will help you get more clarity about the industry, about how to build your business and what paths are available to you in the 21st century global fashion market. Before we dive into some more business technical stuff, let us understand what fashion is all about. What it truly means. 


What does fashion actually mean?

The term “Fashion”, it is sometimes vague, as everything is considered either fashionable, in fashion or out of fashion. But for you and me looking at the business in fashion, here is a universal definition. Fashion is a popular aesthetic expression in a certain time and context, popularly attributed to in clothing, footwear, lifestyle, accessories, makeup, hairstyle and body proportions. So you see that that word “Fashion” is broad. Accessories is fashion. Footwear is fashion. Makeup is fashion. Which means that, being a fashion designer does not restrict you to designing and selling clothes. 

You can be a footwear designer, a jewellery designer, a makeup artist, a hair stylist and a bag designer. As a fashion designer, your core calling is to develop an aesthetic expression that defines your taste as a designer. An expression that is you. A reflection of  your world, your experiences. A portrayal your hope, your vision. An aesthetics that you are proud to market and put your name in front. So what are we talking about? We mean every detail matters.  The quality, the look, the statement, the message, the uniqueness and every other element you intend to ignore right now. That’s what makes you a fashion designer. Those little, simply unique edges you create.

So when you design your pieces or fashion products, you are communicating your unique aesthetics and in return, you want a specific audience to pay for it, to be your customer. Business in fashion is vast and opens doors to so many other sectors, cutting across the art industry, event industry, graphic design among other industries. Within the fashion industry, there are so many paths you can take. 

Here are some, not all, but some of the professions or business you can build in the fashion industry; 
  • Hairdresser
  • Personal shopper
  • Stylist, style specialist
  • Perfumer
  • Model
  • Image consultant
  • Show director
  • Pattern maker
  • Textile designer
  • Raw materials producer – textiles, findings etc.
  • Tailor/Seamstress/Dressmaker
  • Fashion editor
  • Creative director
  • Graphic artist, graphic designer
  • Photographer – editorial, commercial, products, studios photographer
  • Fashion promoter
  • Retailer
  • Fair organiser
  • Fashion marketing
  • Costume designer
  • Showroom designer/Architect, window stylist
  • Fashion blogger
  • Fashion photographer
  • Garment technologist
  • Fashion illustrator
  • Merchandiser
  • Fashion PR
  • Creative director
  • Apparel Production Coordinator
  • Brand coordinator, brand strategist
  • Fashion Buyer
  • Manager – showroom, sales, store, marketing
  • Designer – associate, bedding, technical
  • Textile Fabric Colorist
  • Trend Forecaster
Do not think clothes only when you think of business in fashion!
business in fashion. 25 career

So when you think about fashion and you say you want to get into the industry, do not just think clothes. Think deeper and broad. Actually, you can start a business by combining some of these and offering them as a service. For example, a fashion agency can offer the following: Fashion photography with great studio and good photographers, model casting for shoot, graphic and editorial design, makeup, hairdressing and fashion PR. If you create a business in fashion that offers these service package at an affordable rate to upcoming designers, so they do not have to break their heads about where to shoot, how to organise the stuff, get the models, do the editing and creating the content for their postings, then you are solving a real problem. 

These designers can then refocus and reinvest that time into developing new collections. The key here is to specialise in a nice of service. But if designing clothes is what you want and fashion designer is the title you crave for, then let us explore more about what every fashion designer in Africa must know in part 2 of this series. 


We opened this new series “business in fashion” because many of our Lab students and alumni are working hard to build their fashion venture. I too have spent a couple of years in the industry in Europe, producing in Africa and that is how we launched the Joadre fashion. Now, it is important not to forget that fashion is all about the unique aesthetics you create. Also that the fashion industry offers you a great opportunity to explore different jobs, services or professions. 

Being smart means you have to carve out your own niche and build a business around it. And guess what, there are a couple of ways to actually start this business from home, with very little investment needed. In future blog under this series, we will talk about how to start some businesses with little capital. I also would love to invite you to read some of my old blogs, especially this one – start a business with little capital

Thank you so much for staying till the end and I look forward to a free coaching session with you in my Lab. If you want to get hold of our 3 months free coaching session, then visit our lab page nor to know the 2 minutessteps you need to get on board. By the way, we will be launching a business journal before the year runs out. It is a “must-have resource”. Stay connected on instagram (link icon beneath) and subscribe to my newsletter not to miss out on my updates. 

I love you and stay blessed!


I am Joana, a Nigerian-born Austrian-based entrepreneur and activist. Founded Joadre in 2012 and continue to develop content to engage and empower African SMEs.

The Joadre Analysis & Industry Journal

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