Stakeholders in the fashion industry
This is a comprehensive analysis of the stakeholders in the fashion industry. The fashion industry is a complex ecosystem with multiple stakeholders. These stakeholders have their own unique goals and objectives that help shape the fashion market as it is known today. Understanding these roles helps businesses better realise the industry at large and devise their communication strategies accordingly.
Who are the stakeholders in the fashion industry?
The design of clothing is a key function in the fashion industry. Fashion designers are the creative minds behind the designs. They create designs with the seasons and trends in mind. They also create designs with the future in mind.
Fashion designers explore current fashion trends and forecast what will be popular with consumers in the future. They usually decide on the colour of fabrics and produce samples for the clients to verify (Prospects, 2022). Once the clients are happy, they produce the final designs.
In any industry, the supply chain is very important. In the fashion industry, this holds true as well. The suppliers play a crucial role in this industry. The design of the garment is not enough to make a product. There are many other things that go into making it.
Most fashion products are not made in the country where they are sold. They are manufactured in other countries. There are many types of suppliers e.g. fabric suppliers, dye suppliers, metal suppliers, garment-making machines suppliers, garment factories etc.
Famous fashion brands such as H&M, Primark, Gap, New Look, Zara, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Lee, Supreme, and Tommy Hilfiger get their products manufactured by suppliers in countries such as Bangladesh, China, India, and Pakistan. Many suppliers from other countries such as Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Turkey, Cambodia, Vietnam, Argentina, and Brazil also work with global fashion brands.
However, the fashion brands need to monitor the working practices adopted by their suppliers. Suppliers in many countries have been accused of using child labour, and expecting people to work with hazardous chemicals. Many adult workers are also the victims of labour rights violations or forced labour in cotton fields or garment factories (European Commission, 2021).
Pressure groups are also important stakeholders in the fashion industry. In recent times, environmental and social issues have gained importance among consumers. This has resulted in the rise of many pressure groups. These groups try to influence fashion companies to be more sustainable and responsible.
Pressure groups exist in different forms and shapes. Some are very vocal, and others are more discreet but influence businesses behind the scenes. Some of the famous pressure groups in the fashion industry are Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, WWF, and Oxfam.
The retailers sell fashion products to the customers. They must figure out what customers will have an interest in buying. They also need to decide what to do with the unsold garments after the sale season is over. Without them, the fashion industry cannot function at all. The top fashion retailers in the world are Zara, H&M, UNIQLO, GAP, Limited Brands, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Next, American Eagle Outfitters, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Esprit (Smith, 2021).
Customers are the most important stakeholders in the fashion industry. They decide which garments to buy from the retailers. They indeed create the demand for the garments. They buy garments for different reasons and for different occasions. For example, they buy warm clothes for winter and cool clothes for summer.
Customers also buy garments for different activities such as sporting events, weddings, and other special occasions. They decide what they want to buy. Therefore, retailers constantly send marketing messages to persuade them to buy their products.
The employees work at all levels in a fashion business. They work in design, retail, marketing, and other departments. They have a wide range of skills and knowledge. Without them, retailers, and suppliers can not deliver what they have promised.
Governments play an important role in the fashion industry. They set the laws, policies, and regulations for different aspects of the industry. They decide what can be done and what cannot be done. However, it is worth mentioning that in a mixed economy, the government does not much interfere with the industry.
Importance of stakeholders in the fashion industry
Understanding various stakeholders in the fashion industry can help businesses better understand and navigate the fashion industry. This can prove incredibly helpful when it comes to marketing, strategizing, and finding new customers for the business. This can also help businesses increase sales and enhance brand recognition.
Summary of stakeholders in the fashion industry
As shown above, the fashion industry has a wide variety of stakeholders with many different interests and concerns. By understanding them, fashion retailers can better position their business to meet consumer demands, and needs. However, it is worth mentioning that there are several challenging issues facing the fashion industry today. Therefore, all stakeholders need to do their best to help it grow and survive the global economic and other macro environmental challenges.
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Last update: 31 May 2022
European Commission (2021) Are the clothes you are wearing free from child labour? Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/international-partnerships/stories/are-clothes-you-are-wearing-free-child-labour_en (accessed 30 May 2022)
Prospects (2022) Fashion designer, available at: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/fashion-designer (accessed 31 May 2022)
Smith, P. (2021) Sales of selected fashion manufacturers/retailers worldwide, available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/242114/sales-of-the-leading-10-apparel-retailers-worldwide/ (accessed 31 May 2022)
Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.