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10 professional figures that represent the future of fashion

The new roles you need to know to decide (now) which path to take

10 professional figures that represent the future of fashion The new roles you need to know to decide (now) which path to take

The most difficult decision for those who dream of a career in fashion is choosing a profession. Even if legend has it that this will never be one and only, because the greatest need of editors, recruiters and HR is versatility, having a precise competence has become the real prerogative to make it. Entering the fashion system doesn't necessarily require a degree in fashion, but it's good to pave the way as soon as possible by choosing the most suitable academic area, from graphics to design or communication. The next step, therefore, is fundamental. On the borderline between freelancing and hiring, when the desire arises from a great passion the goal is always the best possible perspective: to get there, it is important to always consider which figures the industry needs most.


Digital, sustainability, and inclusivity are just a few of the areas of expertise around which there is the most interest at the job demand level. The growing relevance of fashion, which has partly replaced music and cinema as the cultural industry driving the changes, has made a deep change necessary on any level - artistic, economic and strategic. This is why, in the creative field as well as in the commercial one, every professional profile in demand increasingly includes a connection with the 3D world, with multiculturalism and sustainability. A CGI artist and a sustainability manager are the perfect example: isn't it incredible to think of being able to design a small metaverse or to take the field to defeat pollution? In this sense, everything is ready to discover the secret of success. That's why we have listed below the 10 professional figures that will be most in demand in the future of fashion.

3D Artist

After a year in the virtual world, the fashion industry is no longer willing to give up the advantage (and the glamour) of a garment, an editorial project or a digital event based on CGI technology. Time, money and space saver, the role of the 3D artist has become indispensable in the contemporary landscape. His or her task is to create computer-generated images, in perfect balance between technical and creative work: it's no coincidence that, in addition to a solid background in graphics, an art director's eye is required. Among the fashion schools, Naba offers two three-year courses and one master's degree within the area of Media Design, while the official website of the IED has a dedicated page that, among other things, introduces the courses of CG Animation in Rome and Milan; not to mention a training course on CLO3D software in Turin.

Data Editor

This professional figure has the power to predict the future. Come to think of it, at a time like the one we're experiencing, a luxury holding company couldn't ask for anything better. Out of the tunnel of dark times, a data editor is able to study the market, analyzing consumer behavior and anticipating the plan for the best investment. Conversely, his or her role can play on the side of the most passionate shoppers who like to learn about the ever-changing trends. Doing this job is a bit like being a detective: curiosity and determination are the trump cards for becoming an analyst. To begin with, you can take this path with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics, but also in economics and finance. For a second time, Bocconi University is always presenting new specialization courses in Data Analysis.

Virtual Showroom Designer / Virtual Visual Merchandiser

The beauty of setting up in a virtual space is that there are no limits to creativity. Rapidly evolving throughout the pandemic, showrooms and digital stores have grown exponentially today. A virtual showroom designer is tasked with designing an ideal, yet extremely real environment that can be simpler, more convenient and quicker to use for the customer, while at the same time managing to facilitate business communication. At his side, the figure of the visual merchandiser has a valid reason to move into the virtual world. The graphic preparation, in both cases, must be completed with a strong aesthetic sense and a good dose of applied psychology. In order to start from the basics and study visual merchandising, Naba and Accademia del Lusso promote specific training courses. Moreover, by choosing to take the BA Degree in Fashion Styling at Istituto Marangoni, it is possible to specialize in the subject from the second year onwards.

Fashion Lawyer

Without any doubt, that of the "fashion lawyer" is one of the most fascinating new professional figures. The raison d'être of its rise is to be found in the constant growth of cases of plagiarism, counterfeiting or unfair competition, but also of cultural appropriation and collaborations that require to be regulated at a legal level. Balancing commercial, civil and criminal law, the fashion lawyer can work in a studio or be hired by a company: in both cases, in addition to legal competence, a deep knowledge of the sector is required. With a large number of possible occupations, further specialization is desirable: privacy and protection of Made in Italy are some examples. From the Milan Fashion Institute, which presents an intensive course lasting one month, to the Master's degree at LUISS University and the Chamber of Italian Fashion, which will debut in 2021 with its first edition, the number of study paths for aspiring fashion lawyers is constantly increasing. With a degree in Law or Legal Sciences behind you, success is assured.

Sustainability Manager

Sustainability is now a fundamental parameter, in newsrooms as well as in companies. And although the cup of tea of this symbolic role on the contemporary scene may seem obvious, its contribution is not taken for granted. The sustainability manager follows the entire production process of a collection from the beginning, making sure that everything respects environmental regulations with the aim of reducing (or eliminating) any kind of pollution or waste. What not everyone knows is that he or she also plays a role of general coordination and often sits at the table of major corporate decisions. Given that in fashion, especially in these cases, there is no linear path, most of the time these professionals have a degree in Management Engineering or other related academic fields - see Environmental Sciences. Schools such as Polimoda present specialized Master's degrees, but since they deal with managerial skills, if there is a fundamental step it concerns the achievement of internationally recognized certifications. In Italy, CEPAS is the main point of reference.

Customer Experience Manager

As digital consumers become more and more demanding - between untraceable products, rare services and two-sided shipping - brands need someone who can take care of them. Given the competition between the big industry leaders, ensuring the best possible online shopping experience has become the prerogative of brands and luxury retailers. As a result, the professional figure of the customer experience manager has taken on a new relevance. But the beauty of this job lies not only in the knowledge of customers and their behaviors: in a continuous challenge with oneself, the fundamental competence concerns the ability to beat any problem in time. It is useful to start with a three-year course in Fashion Business and/or Brand Management, while the most suitable study programs for this role are those that, after graduation, see omnichannel communication and e-commerce as protagonists, such as the Master at Istituto Marangoni and the one in Retail Brand & Customer Experience Management at IULM. In December 2021, the Master at the 24 Ore Business School starts and, at managerial level, Bocconi University offers a targeted training course on the subject.

Metaverse Expert

If the arrival of the metaverse is getting closer and closer, every brand will need a professional able to manage (and govern) the change as soon as possible: that's why the interest in those who have skills in graphics, IT and videogames is constantly increasing. Between avatars, NFT and virtual stores, the people in charge of the sector of the future will have to know how to transfer the imagery of a brand into the digital universe where Gen Z consumers will spend an increasing amount of time. The go-to figure for those who feel drawn to the idea of filling this professional role in fashion is Cathy Hackl, Metaverse Expert and Brand Consultant - the two titles go hand in hand. For specialized higher education curricula it's still early days, but the advice is to start learning about the subject by choosing academic programs focused on design, innovation and new technologies, as well as always inquiring about the world of gaming, digital art and the metaverse.

Chief Diversity Officer

The professional who is in charge of keeping the most beautiful promise of fashion, between equity and inclusion, has the name of chief diversity officer. The number of brands and holding companies that choose to give more and more value to the issue of inclusion is constantly growing, but it is not just a question of image: the role of this managerial figure on the rise is to create a real cultural change that fights any form of discrimination, promoting integration within the company. Among the skills required, there is a deep knowledge of gender, political and social issues, along with problem solving and strong communication and interpersonal skills. The path passes through the faculties inherent to the academic field of human resources, to be completed with masters and advanced training courses because also in this case it is necessary to take into account to obtain a series of professional certifications. At Bocconi there is a course dedicated to professionals who have already started and want to become CDOs.

Corporate Responsibility Expert

In the contemporary fashion scene, it is imperative to keep up with the times. In recent years, there has often been talk of cultural appropriation and social representation. How many times has it happened that a brand has had to apologize for being unfair or superficial towards a minority? In order to keep promises and improve corporate communication, the figure of the corporate responsibility expert plays a key role. Choosing this profession requires training on a global scale - historical, political and environmental - as well as quick inventiveness, great empathy and excellent interpersonal skills. After obtaining a degree in Political and/or Social Sciences, Economics, Sociology or Foreign Languages and Literature, it is a good idea to enroll in a specific course that will project the path into the world of fashion. The Fashion Socialite module of the Fashion Critique and Curation course at Polimoda could provide an excellent introduction.

Smart Inventory Manager

Optimizing space is always a good idea. Among the most in-demand industry insiders of the moment - especially after the pandemic period - stand out those who can revolutionize inventory management by reducing or neutralizing waste better than anyone else. Not surprisingly, the task of a smart inventory manager is to plan the movement of in-store merchandise by realistically considering the speed with which trends are born, grow and die out in recent times. Among the Italian schools, the LIUC Business School offers an entire training course on Demand, Inventory & Supply Planning, where the Inventory Management module stands out. Also interesting is the Master in Supply Chain and Operations for 2022 at Bologna Business School.