Schools Training

Languages are in vogue in the fashion industry

17 JAN 2014

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Aldo Liguori couldn’t do his job without languages. Liguori is global head of PR at Fast Retailing, the Japanese company behind international clothing giants Uniqlo and French label Comptoir des Cotonniers. He is fluent in five languages, including Japanese, which he says gives him “a complete advantage” when liaising with the media and his senior colleagues around the world.

We meet at the Uniqlo headquarters in Tokyo’s tallest office building, looking out over the city of people in bright T-shirts and puffer jackets below. Aldo believes his language skills have elevated his career by giving him the flexibility and adaptability to work in many locations. He has expanded his knowledge of companies, products and media “by being able to speak their language and not assuming that everybody’s going to be speaking mine”.

Although English is widely spoken in the fashion industry, foreign language skills are becoming increasingly important for those aiming for the top of this highly globalised trade. The UK’s second and third favourite high street shops, Zara and H&M, are based overseas, while New Look, currently at number one, recently announced plans to expand its presence in Europe and enter the Chinese market for the first time.

International brands like Uniqlo look for language skills when recruiting. Total fluency is not always necessary: the company offers language training for employees who need to improve and Aldo advises against pretending you know it all. “If you are not able to fully understand what someone is asking or telling you, take a step back and ask them to repeat. Even though I started many years ago, that has been a true success factor for me”.

 

Read full article:  The Guardian