Looking for the secrets of being successful in international strategic fashion management? London College of Fashion and Harvard Business School alumnus Ranjit Thind has compiled nearly two decades of brand management experience for iconic brands, including Fortune 500 sportswear, lifestyle and luxury goods companies into a book providing a unique view into the inner-workings of the industry.
His latest book, Strategic Fashion Management: Concept, Models & Strategies for Competitive Advantage has been published by Routledge, and explores the fashion ecosystem and how management works across different countries. Ranjit studied BSc (Hons) Fashion Management and MA Strategic Fashion Marketing at LCF, before going on to ply his trade at brands from Ralph Lauren to Nike. With over 15 years of experience in global planning, product merchandising and brand management, Ranjit is a leading voice in the fashion business world. We talk to him about his career and the secrets of being an international fashion business mind below.
What role has LCF played in life and fashion outlook?
Both my undergraduate (BSC Fashion Management) and postgraduate (MA Strategic Fashion Marketing) studies provided me with a comprehensive introduction to the business side of the industry. This specialist platform was incredibly valuable and this gave me a competitive advantage over other graduates and employees who came from other fashion schools and backgrounds. LCF is a prestigious institution with a world-renowned reputation and this helped to open the door for my internship at Louis Vuitton. Not bad for someone who came to London and had no contacts in the industry!
Life after LCF: Can you talk us through your career?
A progressive and varied international career across six countries with iconic brands such as Nike, Asprey and Ralph Lauren in senior merchandising and brand management roles. I also have been lucky to stay in touch with LCF as a visiting associate lecturer at the Fashion Business School as well undertake consultancy assignments as an industry expert for several well-known management consultancies. In 2012, I went “back to school” and attended Harvard Business School to strengthen and update my leadership and management knowledge.
Can you briefly describe your ‘Strategic Fashion Management’ book and what made you want to write it?
I wanted to fill the void in the marketplace for students on business management courses that are searching for an advanced understanding of the fashion industry and its drivers. ‘Strategic Fashion Management’ covers many contemporary and global issues such as implementing winning strategy, managing brands, understanding mergers and acquisitions, creating innovation and strengthening your leadership. There is no other book that exists that covers the fashion industry from this strategic perspective and is underpinned with industry-specific examples, numerous global case studies and academic rigour.
What do you hope people can learn from your book and life experiences?
Firstly, that to be successful in the industry you need to apply winning strategic thinking to your organisation from a variety of perspectives. This is particularly true as you move from a functional role to a more general management role. Secondly, you need to look after yourself as this industry is tough and constantly changing, so you need to manage your work/life balance and keep your skills up to date. My book provides proven concepts, models and strategies to do this and create a competitive advantage for yourself, team and your organisation.
How has the industry and expectations changed during your lifetime?
Four main drivers continue to disrupt the industry – increased geopolitical uncertainty, the rapid pace of technological development, increasing globalisation and ever-changing consumer demands. The scale, scope and significance of these factors cannot be underestimated and only the nimblest organisations who can attract and keep talent will survive.
What made you want to be a fashion business mentor at The Prince’s Trust, and what sort of support have you given over the years?
I’ve always been interested in giving back to others who are less fortunate and this was one way I could utilise my skills and experience to benefit others who are looking for a second chance or just need a nudge in the right direction. I spent 10 years doing this and it was a valuable and humbling experience – it is good to stay grounded, especially in this industry!
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