Fashion Institute of Technology : The business of perfume


Whilst in New York with NTU, I was lucky enough to be part of a group invited to the Fashion Institute of Technology to join an introduction into the study of perfume, how it is designed and how it is marketed. We took a short walk around the corner from our hotel to the FIT building which currently was empty as all the students were still on their holidays. We were sat in a lab room, the walls were lined with bottles of scents and the desks had a lot of fancy looking equipment I could not begin to understand.

The lecturer spoke us through each scent basis and how the classic scents get built up. The most common scents were Vanilla, Soft Florals and Citrus scents. She explained the current consumer are very health conscious and have the idea that healthy scents made only with natural products will lead to internal health, even though this has no truth behind it and is actually much more environmentally taxing to the world as it uses up resources unlike chemicals do.

We were also informed on the biggest scent consumers around the world and how the scent desired in each country is vastly different. The biggest consumer went in the order of:
1. US
2. Brazil
3. Saudi Arabia
4. UK
5. Germany

Although the biggest consumers, scents that suit one population may not suit another one due to differences in diet and climate affecting natural scent that has to work well with the perfume. When it does not, a certain perfume may not do well on a county. In addition, we discussed how perfume is seen internationally. Whilst in the UK perfume is a luxury product but not unaffordable to most and the majority of the population own it where as in countries such as China, perfume bottles are used mainly as display and the scent is not often worn.

The small introduction to the course was really fascinating and I really enjoyed getting to witness what the students there study! We got to smell samples of all the different pure scent types and even some perfumes that matched the stereotypes of these scents. I found the mock ups of perfume bottles to be particularly fascination and we even got a sample of a scent made at FIT to take home, it was a really enjoyable session.

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