The fashion industry is currently facing a talent shortage, making it more challenging for brands to find and retain skilled professionals. This blog will explore the causes of the talent shortage and provide strategies for successful recruitment in this competitive landscape.

Understanding the Talent Shortage

Identifying the Causes

Industry Growth and Demand: The rapid growth of the fashion industry, particularly in e-commerce and sustainable fashion, has increased the demand for skilled professionals. This growth has outpaced the supply of qualified candidates.

Example: Brands like Reformation have experienced significant growth in demand for sustainable fashion, increasing their need for skilled designers and production managers.

Changing Skill Requirements: The shift towards digital and sustainable practices has changed the skill requirements for many fashion roles. Brands now need professionals with expertise in areas such as digital marketing, data analytics, and sustainable sourcing.

Example: Everlane focuses on transparent and ethical sourcing, requiring employees with specialized skills in sustainability and supply chain management.

Expanding Talent Pools

Looking Beyond Traditional Sources: Expand your talent pool by considering candidates from non-traditional backgrounds and industries. Look for transferable skills that can be applied to fashion roles.

Example: Outdoor Voices recruits candidates with backgrounds in technology and wellness, leveraging their unique skills to innovate in the activewear market.

Leveraging Remote Work: Consider remote work options to expand your talent pool geographically. Remote work allows you to access a wider range of candidates who may not be able to relocate but possess the necessary skills and experience.

Example: Allbirds has successfully implemented remote work policies, enabling them to attract top talent from across the globe.

Enhancing Employer Branding

Attracting Top Talent: A strong employer brand can help attract top talent even in a competitive market. Highlight your company’s culture, values, and the unique benefits you offer to stand out from competitors.

Example: Warby Parker showcases its fun and inclusive work culture, attracting top talent who are passionate about innovation and social responsibility.

Promoting Sustainability Initiatives: As sustainability becomes increasingly important, emphasize your brand’s commitment to sustainable practices in your employer branding efforts. Highlighting your sustainability initiatives can attract candidates who value environmental responsibility.

Example: Patagonia promotes its environmental initiatives and commitment to sustainability, making it a top choice for environmentally conscious professionals.

Offering Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Meeting Candidate Expectations: Ensure that your compensation packages are competitive and align with industry standards. Include attractive benefits such as flexible working hours, remote work options, and professional development opportunities.

Example: Bonobos offers competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits, including health insurance and opportunities for career advancement, making it an attractive employer in the fashion industry.

Tailoring Benefits to Employee Needs: Consider offering customized benefits packages that cater to the diverse needs of your employees. This could include wellness programs, childcare support, and mental health resources.

Example: Tory Burch provides tailored benefits packages that include wellness programs and flexible working arrangements, attracting a diverse range of top talent.

Investing in Employee Development

Fostering Growth and Retention: Invest in your employees’ development through training programs, mentorship, and clear career paths. This not only helps retain top talent but also prepares them for future leadership roles within the company.

Example: Rent the Runway provides extensive training and development programs, helping employees grow their skills and advance their careers within the company.

Implementing Leadership Development Programs: Create leadership development programs to identify and nurture future leaders within your organization. These programs can help ensure a steady pipeline of talent ready to take on key roles as the company grows.

Example: Eileen Fisher offers leadership development programs that empower employees to take on leadership roles and drive the company’s success.

Utilizing Recruitment Technology

Streamlining the Hiring Process: Leverage recruitment technology such as applicant tracking systems (ATS) and data analytics to streamline the hiring process and identify the best candidates more efficiently.

Example: Glossier uses advanced recruitment technology to manage applications and track candidate performance, ensuring they find the best talent for their needs.

Enhancing Candidate Experience: Use technology to enhance the candidate experience by providing timely updates, easy application processes, and virtual interviews. A positive candidate experience can improve your employer brand and attract top talent.

Example: Madewell uses recruitment technology to streamline the application process and enhance the candidate experience, making it easier for top talent to apply and stay engaged.

Building Relationships with Educational Institutions

Connecting with Emerging Talent: Partner with fashion schools and universities to connect with emerging talent. Offer internships, sponsor events, and participate in campus recruitment to identify and nurture future industry leaders.

Example: Tommy Hilfiger collaborates with top fashion schools to offer internships and scholarships, connecting with talented students and providing them with valuable industry experience.

Hosting Workshops and Seminars: Engage with students through workshops, seminars, and guest lectures. These activities can help build your brand presence on campuses and attract top students to your internship and job opportunities.

Example: TOMS hosts workshops and seminars at various fashion schools, providing students with insights into the industry and attracting top talent to their internship programs.


The talent shortage in the fashion industry presents significant challenges, but with the right strategies, brands can successfully navigate this landscape. By expanding talent pools, enhancing employer branding, offering competitive compensation, investing in employee development, utilizing recruitment technology, and building relationships with educational institutions, fashion brands can attract and retain the skilled professionals they need to thrive.

Categories: Employers