Durban Fashion Fair panel discussing the business of fashion
DURBAN - At the Durban Fashion Fair this year, the business of fashion was the topic of discussion amongst a panel of people from the fashion industry.

The panel included Linda Makanya from Linda Makhanya Tailored Suits, Paledi Segapo from Palse, Noel Paulson who is General Manager Quality Assurance for EDCON and Peta-Lee Matjaola who is the fashion editor for Drum Magazine

The panel discussed in length about the things that is needed from young fashion designers in order to become successful entrepreneurs. From costing of the product to what is needed to become a fashion designer.

Here are some tips for budding fashion entrepreneurs from the panel:

  • Get some experience working for other designers or working for a magazine as a stylist.

  • Get investors to invest in your brand. Although there is a lack of investment in emerging designers, investment and capital is aways needed.

  • Have a business model to show potential investors so they know that you have a plan.

  • Produce good clothes using the best textiles that are out there. People will pay good money if you clothes are of the highest quality.

  • When costing your clothes ensure that the prices are worthy of the product that you make and make sure that the pricing makes your clothes accessible to everyone.

  • Get your potential customers to believe in your brand, vision and product.

  • Build your brand using social media platforms to promote your products and to show people what you and your brand are all about.

  • Have the capacity to do produce especially when working for retail brands like EDCON. Noel Paulson said that sometimes designers are asked to produce up to 10000 units.

  • Fashion is a business where you have to understand your target market. Know your target market and aim your collection towards your target market.

The fashion industry in South Africa relatively small to the compared to the fashion industry in Milan, New York and London. According to Segapo designers that have to pay top dollar to be a part of an international fashion week. Designers would have to pay at least R150000 and get a fashion publicist to invite celebrities and famous people to your show.

Young designers need to work hard and have a plan to be successful entrepreneurs and to realise that overnight success in fashion is impossible.