I’m super excited to have Alan Hau, an internationally acclaim designer, creative, entrepreneur, and speaker to share with us on this 2 part special issues of The Fashion Knowledge Report™! This regular publication will provide you with ideas, strategies and information to help you succeed in your fashion business.

Successful entrepreneurs have done their market research and identify the market need. Can you tell us what market research in fashion industry should consist of and what are the common pitfalls?

Market research is absolutely fundamental, whether it is the fashion industry or any industry for that matter. A few years back I created the Five Pillar Model of launching and building a fashion brand, this model is a fundamental step by step blueprint of the ‘manifestation’, and market research is embedded into this process which accounts for at least 70% of the work to be done. You can see that Pillar 1 is product, means your product idea, Pillar 2 is market research, and Pillar 3 is consumer. You go from Pillar 1 through 3 and if it doesn’t resonate with the consumer then you have to go back to Pillar 1 again until you can “get through Pillar 3” and manifest into the Branding Pillar.


When I co-founded my first startup brand, it took us over a year to wrap up the research and developmental work before we were ready for brand roll out drive mode. It is a process that is inherent to the manifestation of a successful brand, and a process that we have to be relentless and totally committed to, cause without market research, there is no substance, only the shell and besides how do we know there is a market niche for this brand. The complete market take-down, with the data, facts, information, visual research that we gather, we can then extract the key touch points and implement into the brand DNA. This way, ‘no stones are left unturned.’

Market research should include touch points, such as which city they live, kind of work they do, income level, the brands your target audience will buy from, comparable items they own from your competitors, where they eat, go for entertainment, hangout, do workout, the exercise that they do, and what their aspirations are, so on and so forth. Identify your competitors’ product offerings, price levels, unique selling points, margins, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Finally, ascertain the market you have pinpointed, its past, present and how it is evolving.  These are just some examples of what you should include in the market research. As I always say there is never enough research, but the purpose is down to knowing the key market information to extract and embed into the brand DNA, and once the overall creative strategy is formulated, then it is all about implementing the step by step blueprint, and then we’re ready to go, you really can’t go wrong. It is paramount to never fall into the trap thinking you have this fantastic idea for a brand, and that will be enough, like I said, it is about the manifestation, and market research is fundamental to the entire machine running smoothly.

Thanks Alan for sharing with us!

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