By LIZ KUMAR, AP Fashion design is no longer the domain of a handful of designers and brands, and the gap between the genders is closing, according to a report released Tuesday by the influential Fashion Marketing Institute.
The report said women make up about 80% of the fashion buying public and are responsible for about two-thirds of all fashion designers.
About 80% have a degree from an accredited fashion school and 75% have at least a bachelor’s degree.
But women make just 10% of fashion design graduates and earn about a quarter of all design and marketing jobs, the report said.
The institute also said women were the majority purchasers of women’s clothing in 2011, with the average sale price of a dress at $30,000 and the average price of an accessory at $8,000.
The survey was conducted by the institute’s research group in March of 2011 and surveyed about 600 fashion professionals.
The study comes as President Donald Trump continues to push a more gender-balanced agenda in the fashion industry.
Women make up a growing share of the apparel, fashion, footwear and accessories markets, the Institute said.
Women made up an estimated 20% of all sales for women’s shoes, clothing and accessories in 2012, according the institute.
“Women make up 80% to 90% of women in the retail and wholesale markets, yet only 10% are in fashion design,” said Kunal Bhatia, the institute president and founder.
“The gender wage gap remains the highest of any major industry and a growing one.”
The institute said women account for 85% of clothing purchases and 80% for apparel purchases.
“We are seeing the beginning of a trend that will change the way women view fashion,” Bhatias said.
“As we continue to make inroads into the fashion world, we need to start thinking about how we can be more inclusive in the industry.”
The survey showed that women were more likely to purchase accessories and other accessories.
The majority of women, 65%, purchased necklaces, earrings and other necklacing, while only 30% of men did.
Women were more willing to purchase more than one item, but not as much as men.
About 70% of buyers of accessories and accessories for women were women, compared with only 37% of those for men.
“In the past, we thought accessories were a male thing and men could afford them, but now women are buying them more than ever,” said Lisa Sjoberg, president and CEO of the Fashion Institute.
“If we’re going to continue to create the kind of products that women value and want, we can’t have that gap in design.
The industry needs to be more like men, where we have to be able to afford what they’re asking for, but also be more welcoming and open to their ideas and needs.”
The Institute surveyed more than 5,000 fashion professionals in 2011.
The findings are based on a survey of 1,000 women in 2011 and 2012 who owned clothing.
Bhati said the results should be viewed as a snapshot of the industry’s demographics.