4 Things to Know About the Fashion Industry’s Business Side

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Let’s say you want to get into the fashion industry. Maybe you want to be a model, or perhaps you want to be a makeup artist or clothing designer. Maybe you want to manage models or work as a modeling industry bodyguard.

The critical thing to know is that fashion is a business, and it’s not all glitz and glamor. You can use fashion to make money, but it’s seldom easy. It’s a lot of hard work, and, like most industries, the cream rises to the top.  

In this article, we’ll go over a few fashion industry business topics.

Some Companies Will Try to Exploit You

Let’s imagine for a moment that you want to be a model. Before you start to think about an LA vs. NYC fashion career and choices like that, one thing you need to comprehend is that some companies will take advantage of you any way they can. As a model:

  • They can always replace you
  • They’ll try to take as much money from you as they can if you don’t have anyone representing you

If you’re going to get into the modeling world, one of the first things you should do is get a manager. They can handle your bookings, so you don’t have to do that yourself.

Your manager can look into various venues and companies and see which ones will pay you the best. However, you should also know that some managers will try to fleece you as well, so you might use a family member or someone you trust implicitly.


You Always Need Airtight Contracts

Like Hollywood, fashion is not a “handshake Industry.” Maybe you meet with a fashion designer who wants to use you for a runway show they’re putting on. You cement the deal with a handshake over cocktails.

Then, you fly to Rome or Paris for the shoot, only to have the designer tell you they don’t remember ever having that meeting. Perhaps, since that time, they promised someone else could have your spot.

To keep this from happening, you should:

Like most other industries, relationships govern the fashion world. You might think you know a designer or photographer quite well, and because of that, you can trust them.

These relationships can turn on a dime. You can fall out of a designer’s favor, and then they won’t care about that handshake deal you made. If you want steady work, get it in writing, every time.

You Need a Trustworthy Accountant

You can be an independent contractor in the fashion industry, or you can sign an exclusive deal. Each situation has drawbacks and positives.

There can be some confusing aspects in either case, though, when tax time rolls around. Maybe you can handle all the money and paperwork yourself, but most models don’t do that. They rely on their manager and accountant to keep track of all that.

Like a trustworthy manager, you need an accountant who won’t try to steal any of your earnings or get you in IRS trouble. If your accountant says something like you don’t have to pay any taxes one year, or almost no taxes, that’s a definite red flag.

If you’re not sure about your accountant, get someone else to double-check their work. Like a manager who’s not doing a good job for you, if you need to make a change, you have every right to do so.

You Should Save for the Future

As a model, your looks are your primary asset. It’s a sad fact that they will not last forever.

It’s true that some models keep working into their sixties or seventies. They keep right on strolling down the runway and selling hair and skin products on TV.

That’s not the case with most models, though, unless you get extremely lucky. Because of this, you should not spend frivolously.

When you make it big, you might want mansions, yachts, and sports cars, but if you spend on that sort of thing, you’re not going to have much left for your Golden Years. It’s better if you have a couple of splurges here or there, but you save most of your money.You can invest it wisely, and it will work for you. You can buy stocks, or you can diversify by buying CDs, opening up an IRA, or looking into some mutual fund investments.

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