Fashion production assistants keep the wheels of fashion rolling. Employed by design houses, manufacturers and agencies, these individuals are well-organised multitasking experts. Deadlines, shipments, samples, materials and orders are some of the elements they deal with on any given workday. Their payoff usually includes a generous salary and the excitement of day-to-day immersion in the realm of fashion.
Fashion production assistants commonly track inventory, assist with product design, oversee shipping, take care of correspondence, handle research, orchestrate fashion events, field phone calls, keep on top of e-mail correspondence, monitor expenses and sometimes coordinate travel.
A typical job description may read: "fashion production company seeking hardworking, organised, detail-oriented person to assist in interfacing with factory. Will manage production, track inventory, assist with product design and pattern management. Duties also to include shipping out product and tracking payments."
Obtain a four-year bachelor of science degree in either apparel development, apparel manufacturing or apparel product management to satisfy common educational requirements. Expect core classes to cover manufacturing and production, fashion design and textile sciences. Learning Spanish is also recommended. Companies look for a history in production or some sort of fashion-industry experience as well. Typically, job postings request multiple years of experience in the field. An internship combined with your degree can be used to break into this position.
A cost-cutting trend to move fashion production out of the U.S. began in the mid 1970s and into the 90s when Mexico became an offshore production centre. This maquiladora movement lured noted lines still producing in the U.S. to move their production south of the border. Garment and textile production jobs are continuing to dwindle.
Labor Department Info
The United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines the production assistant's job as one who "coordinates and expedites the flow of work and materials within or between departments of an establishment, according to a production schedule." The BLS pegs the average wage as of May 2010 at £13 per hour and indicates £42,250 to be the high-end annual salary.
New York and Los Angeles are the fashion production capitals of the United States. Fashion production assistants who work within the garment manufacturing trade often live in or commute to one of these two fashion hubs. Some assistants are hired in the U.S. and charged with overseeing offshore production.
A fashion production assistant's bottom line is overseeing efficient production for the garment trade. Production quotas, filling orders promptly and shipping merchandise on time are typical measurements of success. There is a day-to-day crisis mode the trade routinely operates under. This is, in part, due to offshore sourcing, labour disputes, material shortages and fluctuating consumer demand.