With it mixture of creativity and business savvy, fashion merchandising is an appealing career for many young people.
However, a love of fashion and an understanding of finance might not be enough to succeed in this increasingly competitive market.
The growth potential of domestic market
Walking down any of the major shopping strips in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City it is easy to see the explosion of fashion retailers, including major international brands, here in Vietnam.
However, with the domestic market growing significantly it is also becoming increasingly sophisticated. This is the phase when the industry becomes more challenging and sidelines anyone who cannot meet the expected levels of knowledge and professionalism. Most people starting out in the industry say they were attracted because of their inclination towards aesthetic pursuits and an interest in business, but that might not be enough to sustain a successful career.
This is a point of view shared by fashion designer Thieu Vy, whose creations have been showcased in major events such as the Miss Vietnam and Miss Vietnam World pageants. “In order to become a successful business leader in fashion, we need not only exceptional talents in design but also a wide knowledge in different fields including marketing, brand management and production management,” Thieu says.
From an international perspective
University programs specialising in fashion merchandising are becoming increasingly common in countries around the world. Students who study this major are well-prepared to take on important roles in the development of a successful fashion brand. They will acquire knowledge and skills in marketing fundamentals, which enables them to promote, adjust and connect fashion trends from all over the world with their domestic market as well as promote domestic brands internationally. Students also learn how to create impressive brand stories, evaluate fashion trends, negotiate with clients and develop effective strategic plans for their businesses.
Becoming a well-rounded professional is something that can only be achieved gradually through a long-term training process. Students who want to have a life-long career in the fashion business have to master the skills and unique characteristics of this industry.
Learn from the best
Having a study program specialising in the fashion business is crucial to answering the increased needs in this emerging industry.
“After a great deal of analysis and discussion, we realised that opening a specialised discipline in fashion brand management in Vietnam would be well received,” says Yuping Li, a lecturer in the Fashion Brand Management course at RMIT University. “For any fashion brand, either wholesale or retail, there is always a need for a professional team who have expertise and experience in fashion management.”
The Bachelor of Fashion and Textiles Merchandising program taught at RMIT Vietnam is of an equivalent standard to any international program. The graduates of the same program taught at RMIT in Australia have generally been very successful at finding positions with major players in the fashion industry there.
Chu Nguyen Phuong Thao, a current student of the Bachelor of Fashion and Textiles Merchandising program at RMIT Vietnam, says the students are not only equipped with the basic knowledge of business but also learn how to be creative in fashion. “Our lecturers also share their valuable experiences working in the fashion industry. Having both knowledge and practical experience is very beneficial when it comes to being a successful fashion entrepreneur.”
As the boundaries between countries’ markets increasingly become blurred, graduating from an international program will increase the opportunities for young people to be part of the global fashion industry right here in Vietnam.