top of page
  • Writer's pictureMaría Palomares Tarí


Despite being known as a “universal language”, the fashion industry needs translation to exist. Actually, as one of the world’s most profitable business, fashion is also one of the industries most reliant on exports to increase revenues and profits.

Globalization has increased competition for online fashion retailers, there’s no doubt about that. On top of it, it has also provided them with a huge opportunity to grow their website traffic and online sales. For that, the reasons and aims of translating within the fashion industry are very varied, but it is easy to get an idea when you try to understand the way fashion travels around the world.

Fashion creates routes that cross many borders… and many languages! Think for example that, in general, designs are normally created in Europe, but manufacturing is done in specific areas of the East. Later, it is distributed and ends up in large chains or small stores. And don’t forget about catwalks, events, social media, etc. It is a whole world with many peculiarities and specifics! We cannot ignore that we are talking about multibillion-dollar global enterprise devoted to the business of making and selling clothes.

When it comes to translation, the fashion industry is quite tricky: changes take place very fast, so sometimes foreign terminology is adopted in the absence of words in the language itself.

Fashion Jargon and Trendy Words

As we have mentioned above, foreign words are the order of the day in fashion. Just have a look at these three examples. Ever heard about them? Whether in English or French, content has many terms related to designs, cuts, colors, fabrics or shapes:

  • Haute couture: This term is French for high sewing or high dressmaking and often refers to exclusive designer creations. The exclusivity comes from the fact that haute couture outfits are constructed by hand from start to finish.

  • Silhouette: In fashion, a silhouette is essentially the basic shape or outline of an outfit.

  • Off-the-rack: There are designer and custom-made clothes, and then there are off-the-rack outfits that refer to clothing that is made in a large number and is readily available in stores. Off-the-rack also means readymade garments that made in standard sizes.

Deciding when to use English or French and when it is better to translate the terms is something that only a specialized fashion translator will know.

Multilingual Fashion E-commerce: The Case of SHEIN

There is no doubt also that the fashion industry came to stay in the digital universe. Just in Spain, for instance, it is making the transition to e-commerce as the most purchased tangible good on the Internet.

Take the case of SHEIN, an online-only fashion brand. Just SHEIN sells over 600,000 products to more than 220 countries and has won the heart of Gen-Z through its social media marketing strategies and localization. By utilizing this ‘superpower’, Shein created Instagram pages for each major country, such as Japan, Singapore, the US, and Malaysia. Based on the clothing styles and trending looks in each region, Shein creates a unique catalogue to match the locals’ preferences. How amazing is that?

Need translation and localization services? Reach out to us!


bottom of page