By Calynn M. Lawrence

Many people feel like working retail is not a worthwhile career in fashion, or that it wont get them anywhere. Yet, a career in retail can actually simultaneously teach a person many skills that are valuable for working in a more concentrated fashion industry job. Don’t see how? Consider these four things that you can learn from working in a clothing store that easily transcend to the fashion industry.


Sales is one of the most important things that you get out of working in a clothing store. You must learn how to sell the garments to consumers. This is much more difficult than one might think. You need to grasp the concepts of drawing interest, persuasive speech and really closing the deal with consumers. This skill is vital whether you are a sales associate or a New York fashion designer. If you can’t drive profits or make a good pitch, then you are likely to fail in almost any career.


Merchanidising is the art of setting the layout for the store, the clothing on the mannequins and what gets to be front and center in the window. This gives you a sense of styling so that you can become strong in your outfit composition but it teaches you great marketing and advertising. For example, learning which items sell faster when put on a mannequin versus on a hanger is showing you how to best advertise the items. This tool is good for a career in merchandising, fashion advertisement or fashion branding.


Management is something that you will learn working in retail as long as you get promoted past a sales associate. You learn how to effectively manage a team, complete a task and meet a goal. You have to have these skills in any career but it is even better to learn them in retail. This is because deadlines are often very tight and it strengthen you to work under pressure. That same sense of management is beneficial whether you are a fashion editor, leading a team over a publication, or a CEO of fashion company.


At a clothing store, it is very obvious to pick up on things that are trends versus things that are classics even if no one is explicitly telling you. How? Well, you’ll notice that certain items are present year round and others only come and go. For example, you may notice that black leggings, white tees and sweaters are always available at the store. But you may see that striped jeans and polka dot blazers only come around every so often. That is how you can spot a trend versus a classic. Things that recieve a lot of purchase from your store are classics. Things that don’t are trends. This is something that would be very beneficial to someone who wanted to pursue a career as a Fashion Buyer or a designer so that they knwo what would sell at what time.

Still feel like a career in retail isn’t good for an aspiring fashionista? Think again because you are obviously mistaken.