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Q: I am attempting to start a fashion line and am having a great deal of difficulty getting things off the ground. I have a company name in mind and I know what market I want to target, but I need to know where to start.
–E. Artis. Norfolk, Virginia
A: The fashion design industry is highly competitive, requiring education and technological training as well as a significant amount of networking with other professionals in the industry. To succeed youll have to commit yourself to learning all you can about the fashion industry and how it works. If you havent done so already, you might want to consider the following:
Take courses in fashion design, manufacturing/production, and merchandising, perhaps at a local college or university.
Read fashion trade publications. Start by going to www.Google.com and doing a search with the words: fashion industry trade publication.
Check out fashion industry Websites such as InfoMat (www.infomat.com), which is billed as the largest fashion industry search engine.
Seek out other fashion design professionals and entrepreneurs, both locally and through national trade groups. Two associations based in Atlanta are the American Apparel Contractors Association and the American Apparel Producers Network. Information on both organizations can be found at www.usawear.org or by calling 404-843-3171.
You should also visit www.fashion.about .com/cs/cooljobs for more information on fashion careers and links to information and resources on the industry.