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APM’s Project explores how the fashion sector is ripe for project management

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This week sees the return of London Fashion Week (16-21 September) as a hybrid event, with a combination of physical and digital activity.  Some 130 designers will be showcasing their Spring/Summer 2022 collection via both catwalk and digital presentations.

In the Autumn issue of Project – the official journal for APM – editor Emma De Vita investigates the increasing appetite for project management within the fashion industry and speaks to senior figures across the fashion and creative sectors.

It has been a tumultuous 18 months in fashion, from luxury design houses and high street stalwarts to small, designer led firms, all dealing with the disruptive change brought about by the pandemic, digitisation, Brexit and sustainability concerns. The industry is waking up to the benefits that project managers can bring.

Kim Winser, CEO of fashion brand Winder London and former CEO of Aquascutum says: “There are plenty of opportunities for strong project managers to work with brands and businesses to develop more appropriate business models for the future.

“In periods of substantial change, project managers can bring terrific experience, talent and objective thought, but as we know, ownership from the top down will help this be more constructive.”

Madeleine Marcella-Hood, lecturer in the school of creative and cultural business at Robert Gordon University (RGU), and co-author of a recent APM research paper looking into project management in the creative industries, says: “Project management is playing an increasingly critical role in the fashion industry, although it isn’t a term that is broadly used as in industries like construction and engineering. What’s more common is the word ‘project’. Projects are a vital part of the fashion industry.

“Accidental project managers have been a more common feature of fashion, probably because fashion businesses are often SMEs, where a founder has become a project manager when launching and managing new designs and processes, marketing their products and selling them.”

Marcella-Hood identifies that despite a growing appetite for project management techniques and tools across the fashion industry, challenges in implementing project management remain.

“If project management is to make further inroads into the business of fashion, then flexible approaches must be championed…. planning is still needed and incredibly important, but the process of doing so needs to be more flexible and open to change.” Marcella-Hood advises.

Marie Lowe, a content marketer and systems practitioner for Sustainable Fashion Scotland (SFS) believes the fashion sector is ripe for project management. “You can be good at project management because you’re creative, because you have to be agile and you have to be open to opportunities that might happen.”

Members of APM can read the full article ‘Striding into Fashion’ in the Autumn 2021 issue of Project. The quarterly journal covers the latest news, opinions and insights for those in the project community.


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