The Importance of Defining “Who You Hang With” in Fashion

In a democratic fashion world, it seems like everyone can be a player. Online retailers and startups have launched with an influx of concepts and models. There’s also trade shows, organizations, communities and businesses that have exploded into the marketplace. With that said, it’s become easier for a designer to feel a part of something in hopes of sales, exposure and a sense of belonging.

As you make decisions about your business and try to build your company, it’s important to determine “who you hang with”, a fashion industry term that’s used as a way to quickly assess where a brand associates itself. If you’re pitching a retailer, this is a question you should answer with confidence and be able to back with support such as they carry similar price points, designers and match in aesthetic. And, that support should be relevant, ultimately showing that you know what that retailer is carrying for that season. You should also ask yourself this question for media, brand partners, organizations and communities.

As you begin to map out where you want to position your brand and the key relationships you should foster, here are some filters to consider:

– Aesthetic, assortment of brands, price point and target market

– Fit with your company’s sales strategy. For example, does a potential retailer place wholesale orders, do consignment or take a percentage and can your company afford to do business with them?

– Like-minded beliefs

– Professionalism and credibility

– Fit with your goals

– A partnership that can be long-lasting

– Associations and people on their team and network

Asking yourself these questions to understand your brand’s DNA and where you want it to go, will help you build a stronger identity.

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