Working in the fashion world is like a daily UN convention. The different languages,accents and cultures definitely keep things interesting! One thing that I have learned working in the industry is, knowledge of another language will more than likely come in handy. I remember when I did Market Week with LANVIN, half of the employees and some of the business executives were French while others were Italian. My point? You just never know when a second language will be useful! So, having said that, what are the top languages to consider learning to add value to your resume?
Well, in no particular order, let’s check out what they are:
FRENCH ( Fashion Terms, Luxury Goods, Business)
Believe it or not, many of the common terms in design are French.Over 50% of the words we use in English are borrowed from the French. For example the word "lingerie" comes to mind along with chic, avant-garde and vogue to name a few. If you are going to work in Europe, please note that most business is conducted in French as an alternate to English.
ITALIAN (Leather Accessories, Luxury & Wool Textiles)
Brooks Brothers once an American company, is now owned by Italian billionaire, Claudio Del Vecchio. He is the son of Leonardo Del Vecchio, the founder of the Luxottica group which, owns Sunglasses Hut and Lenscrafters. During my stint at the company, Italian was spoken around the office regularly. It was like living in a bilingual household. Their leather accessories and many of their wool textiles are developed in Italy. As a result, much of our work required daily interaction with our team in Milan.
If you work in fashion and want to get the “goods” on your goods, more than likely you will be contacting mills in various parts of China to do that. It's the way of the world since they are responsible for more than half of the worlds garment production although, Vietnam is gaining serious traction, but that is for another post.
RUSSIAN (Luxury Market & Production)
Russia has become a MAJOR player in the game of luxury goods. The country has seen a surge in millionaires in recent years so they have beaucoup money to spend! Some luxury brands who don’t want to schlep to China for production manufacture many of their goods in Russia.
AND OF COURSE.........
However, don’t rely solely on your English skills just to survive. The more you know, the better so, it couldn’t hurt to learn another language. The goal in this industry is to become indispensable. What that means is, your boss should feel like your department can’t go on without you. Become the go-to person for things and you will go far!
Do you know any additional languages?