Do you want to work in the fashion world? Learn a foreign language!


 

 

 

 Languages and fashion – SIMONA VERRAZZOfashionweek_london

From the 14th to the 18th of February, the London Fashion Week (Autumn-Winter 2014) will take place. We are pleased to discover that there is a deep correlation between languages and fashion. Speaking more than one language is a huge advantage inside this glamorous world too. Katie Forster (Guardian) wrote a very interesting article about it and – of course – when you talk about fashion, you have to talk also about the Italian language.

The title of the article is  “Languages are in vogue in the fashion industry”.

Here is a short extract;

Native Russian speaker Jana Reynolds works as the international development manager at the exclusive N°10_Showroom in Paris, where her mother tongue is invaluable: “If I did not speak Russian 98% of my Russian clients would not be my clients.”

Yet she has found that speaking fluent French and Italian, as well as English, has been useful when building her international career. “If you speak French or Italian, or you’re a designer showing in France or Italy, you show you belong. Fashion is an industry that survives on symbolic value so heavily.”

Just after we speak, she emails to let me know she has just sealed a large deal at a trade show with an elderly Italian customer who owns multiple stores in Udine and speaks zero English, which “would have been a massive opportunity missed if I couldn’t communicate”.

The more languages, the better, it would seem, but which to learn? “Most of the trade happens in France and Italy, but the real money is not in Europe – the buyers are from China and Japan,” says Jana. Patrick agrees, noting that many people working in Milan showrooms speak Russian and Chinese to attract high spenders from the East.

So you have to speak the fashion industry’s languages (first of all Italian and French), but at the same time also those languages of countries that are the so called “emerging markets”.

To help us it can be useful have a look at the British Council’s new Languages for the Future report, with the top 10 must know languages, besides English of course.

This is the list:

Spanish

Arabic

French

Mandarin Chinese

German

Portuguese

Italian

Russian

Turkish

Japanese

Reference links

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jan/17/languages-career-fashion-industry

http://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/publications/languages-future

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