The Assemblist Letter 10 - Contemporary Fashion Index

In the many conversations I have with industry insiders about Brand Assembly I find myself coming back to distinct words or phrases that I now believe every fashion professional should have in their vocabulary. Today I'm sharing a few of those terms along with some tips and tricks I've learned over the years on how to improve your communication skills when speaking in the fashion industry.

So first, I think a word worth knowing is [a brand's] heritage/inspiration especially if one is trying to promote their brand. The story is so important and it's equally important to be engaging with whomever you're talking to about the inspiration of the brand and how it came to be.

If you're going further into the conversation a word to know is distribution or your hopes for distribution. It's important to understand where your product fits in or where you're selling. Engaging and relating to someone you're talking to whether in the industry or not. The next is thing to know has to do with operations - this get's a little more into the business side of things. I think when you're in a conversation speaking about your brand, a lot of the times people are going to ask how you're set up, or about how big your team is and how you produce your products. A lot of the times designers have interesting stories relating to this: whether it's a charitable cause that goes into the production of their goods, or supporting artisans across the world - so it's important to know how to speak about your supply chain.

Ever since we opened the Brand Assembly Square I feel like we've been trying to hone in on a lot of words that describe what we do, or ones that depict what we're trying to promote and cultivate here at Brand Assembly. One of them is discovery and we use the word a lot! Whether that's here at the Square or in Los Angeles [at our trade-show] we're all about discovering new brands and making sure everyone is on an even playing field so that buyers or editors can discover some new talent and fresh talent. Which leads me into fresh... We always want to keep our finger on the pulse of what's new, who is new and what's important. This industry can fall back into it's old antiquated ways and I feel like having a fresh approach really shakes things up and gets people engaging - whether it's the consumers or the buyers, a fresh approach keeps things moving.

Community is another word we like to use. At the end of the day we want to create a community where people can collaborate and collectively better their businesses. It's so tough out there, so everyone has to band together to really get anywhere in this industry. Finally we use emerging. We started Brand Assembly because we had a primary purpose of helping emerging designers get their product to market. This idea continues to drive what we do no matter how much we evolve.

3 Go-To Tips for having informed and engaging conversations in the fashion industry

My number one tip is to ease into the business talk:

This was a learning experience for me because I'm personally always so serious and want to get down to business right away! But, it's important to engage in conversation whether it's small talk or asking people how their day was - this is a good way to ease into things.

Read and Research: 

I've said this before but it's so important to read and research. When in conversation it helps to be knowledgeable and educated about what's going on in the industry. You have to allocate time for this, but it's worth it in the long-haul.

Honesty is the best policy:

Everyone is in the same boat, so being honest about how your business is going leads to a lot more opportunities. Whether bad or good, everyone can commiserate together on how to improve or capitalize on this. It's hard, but if you're talking about generalizations about how this industry is doing, you have to be transparent because otherwise you're not going to move the needle either way.

- Hillary France, co-founder and CEO of Brand Assembly