fashion

A Beginner’s Guide to Writing for the Fashion Industry

By: Sam Beebe

Judith C. Everett and Kristen K. Swanson, co-authors of the book ‘Writing for the Fashion Business, share their tips for writing in the fashion industry. This article will provide more information on the writing process.

Writing in fashion requires structure in creativity as you will be passing on fashion messages from the latest trends to reviewing the latest plus size shapewear. Mandell and Kirszner outline the structure of this creative writing process into six core stages:

  • Planning – the first step is to consider the audience, purpose, and tone of the piece. Choose a topic and discover which ideas you will be writing about.
  • Shaping – decide on how to organize the writing material.
  • Drafting – develop a first draft of the article.
  • Revising – review or ‘re-see’ the article and make any changes in additional drafts.
  • Editing – check your grammar, punctuation, spelling, and other writing mechanics.
  • Proofreading – review the article for typographical mistakes.

The Planning and Purpose

Any good piece of writing is designed with a specific purpose, a target audience, and a tone in mind. The best method of beginning a writing sample is to choose the topic, conduct research and decide how you will write about the topic. As you read and learn about the topic, you must consider what you want to say. In all cases, the writer – that’s you – needs to have a strong understanding of the topic before any information is communicated to readers.

When thinking logically about the topic, it is important that you identify the core purpose statement or idea. Writing a purpose statement helps you identify why you are writing the article and the response you wish to gauge from your target audience. A purpose statement can be the lead-in sentence for an outline, or merely the first words of a document. The purpose statement can be indirect drawing a reader into the topic with an attention-grabbing statement, but it can also be direct beginning the article with purpose.

The Audience

All good writing is completed with a target audience in mind. The specific group of viewers or readers are individual that the article is targeted to and this is known as the audience. According to Eakins (2005), a writer must answer four different questions when choosing an audience:

1. Who will read the article?

It is important to be specific when choosing the readers of the article. Eakins recommends that you form a picture of the readers in your head as you begin composing a piece of writing. While you may not put a name to the readers, you should be able to develop a general characteristic profile of them. The profile can include some of all of the following traits:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Culture
  • Occupational background
  • The reader’s expectations
  • The relationship with the reader
  • The needs of the reader

2. What do the readers know about the topic?

To develop a strong connection with the target audience, it is important that you understand their knowledge of the topic or subject matter. Audiences range from having a high level of understanding regarding topics to having little or no knowledge of a topic. A writer’s goal is to identify where the audience fits and writer based on their level of knowledge.

3. What is the relationship between the writer and the reader?

The different fashion messages shared illustrate diverse relationships between the target audience and the reader. Television show hosts demonstrate this clearly when speaking to an audience as if they are chatting with long-time friends. They are able to use conversational approaches to address the audience and make the audience feel comfortable. On the other hand, a letter informing stockholder of yearly meetings demonstrates a more formal relationship. While stockholders may have a vested interested in the business, the letter is not casual and they are strangers to the writer.

4. What is the reading style of the target audience?

It is not possible for all readers to view a single piece of writing in the same manner. When reading fiction, one reader may read it slowly absorbing all words and becoming immersed in the plot. However, the same reader may read a newspaper’s headlines quickly skimming the highlights and not paying much attention.

It is important that one takes this into account when writing for a target audience. For example, if you are writing an article that you expect readers to skim, it is recommended that the purpose of the article is direct and placed in the first paragraph. Be concise in the writing style so the reader can locate information effectively and efficiently.