Who's a Fashion Designer?
Picture supermodels walking down the ramp, wearing clothes you’ve designed. Celebrities show off your latest creations at different events, as reporters yell “You look fabulous! Who are you wearing?” People rush to stores every time you release a new line of clothing. That’s what a day in the life of a successful fashion designer looks like!
As a fashion designer, you would create your own designs or rework on popular designs to give them your personal touch. You would even work with celebrities to help them look their best! You’re not just a part of the glam; you decide what ‘glam’ looks like! And if you’re truly passionate, you could be the next Coco Chanel or Burberry!
What will you do?
Analysing fashion trends
Before you begin designing, find out if people will like what you’re creating. You can do this by studying what people like and what they don’t, doing plenty of online research to see what’s hot and what’s not in fashion. Follow the right fashion and style pages on Instagram and Pinterest, go through local and international fashion blogs. Find out what colours, patterns, styles and fabrics are trending before you start sketching.
Example: If linens are the new craze for the season, you might want to create a trendy collection of work linens.
Designing the product
Before you begin snipping and stitching, sketch your designs on paper. Sketches make it easier for you to explain colours and patterns to your vendors. Finalise the fabric you want for your designs at this stage, and create patterns accordingly. Designers often use software like Illustrator to enhance their sketches by making them more life-like.
Example: Thinking about designing a sari? Create your sketch first; finalise a colour palette (monochrome, warm colours, etc.), pick a cloth (chiffon, silk, etc.), then source the materials and – finally – put it all together to create the sari.
Once your design is ready, source the materials you need to create it. Find the right vendors and build a relationship with them – you’re going to need their expertise!
Most materials have a variety of cloth in varying levels of quality and price. Choose one that fits your designs and budget perfectly.
Example: If you’re designing a silk dress, choose the type of silk you’d like to use and make sure it goes well with your designs.
What if your designs look gorgeous on mannequins but not all that great on your final customer? This is why fittings are important! You need to make sure your customer looks as good in the design as you expected when you designed the outfit.
Example: If you’re designing a sherwani for someone, call them for fittings to see how it looks on the buyer.
This involves explaining your designs to the tailor – maybe even creating one sample piece. Check-in with the tailors regularly as they go about stitching, and conduct quality checks on the material and accessories being used. If you want to mass produce your designs, create a guide or process your manufacturers can follow so they don’t miss out on important details.
Example: If you’re designing a pair of pants and want them to be stitched by someone else, you should specify if you want a straight fit or a boot cut; if you want it to be high waist or low waist, etc.
Attending and participating in fashion shows
Fashion shows are a great way to get noticed. Participate in fashion shows organised by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) like the India Fashion Week, Bangalore Fashion Week, Delhi Fashion Week, etc. To participate, get your designs professionally photographed and sent out to agencies that organise such events. These shows will tell you how what seasoned professionals and the crowds think of your designs.
Example: Ritu Beri was first discovered at the fashion show held by National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) for its students’ finals – she displayed her line called lavanya which she later launched as a label.
Take the Mentoria career assessment, to find out how well-suited you are as a Fashion Designer.
Where will you work?
When you enter the industry, you may begin working as an assistant with a senior designer or with a retail brand workshop. Here, you will make sure that products are being created as per the designs, and even help create products yourself. At first, you might also travel to meet different vendors and source different materials for your designs.
When you start your own fashion line, you may work from home to cut down on expenses, until you can rent or purchase the right space for your boutique or studio.
Once your business is up and running, you could set up your own boutique or online store. If it does well, you could even open up a chain of stores and feature your collections in top retail stores!
How do you get there?
How do you make it to the top ranks?
Pursuing your career locally VS abroad
Given how a lot of fashion startups and magazines are emerging in the country, there are quite a few career opportunities for fashion designers. If you pursue fashion designing in India, getting a job here would not be that difficult. Pursue your education from top fashion designing institutes like NIIT, Pearl, Vogue Institution of Fashion Designing, Army Institute of Fashion and Design, and others. The average fee for studying fashion designing in India is INR 75,000 – INR 3,00,000 per year. Appearing for the entrance exams is a must to pursue fashion designing.
Studying fashion designing abroad can open up exciting career opportunities abroad. An overseas course gives you global exposure to the world of fashion, and good practical and theoretical knowledge. Build a good network there and land a part-time job. The average cost of studying fashion designing abroad is INR 5,00,000 – 25,00,000, depending on the university you plan to study from. Universities abroad also offer campus selection for jobs and internships. You could choose to study at Central Saint Martins, Royal College of Art, Bunka Fashion College, The Fashion Institute of Technology and others. If you don’t want to move abroad, opt to master the course online by registering for fashion designing programmes conducted by various universities abroad.
How much would you get paid?
Your pay depends on who you’re working for, your talent, or the popularity of your label. Just like any other creative field, experience and skill play a strong role in this job. Once you have enough experience, you could start your own line. Your earnings would depend on your clients and the designs you produce. Designer Anita Dongre charges anywhere between INR 6,00,000 - INR 8,00,000 for a lehenga.
What are your career options?
This is one of the most popular professions in India. Your job would involve selecting clothing, accessories and props for celebrities and models featuring in TV campaigns, music videos, movies, etc. You would be part of a brand’s larger team and work closely with the makeup and hair stylist. You would directly source clothes and accessories from fashion designers. Fashion stylists also write columns for popular fashion magazines.
Textile designers usually design and develop appealing designs and prints for a variety of fabrics, including clothing, non-clothing materials, industrial and non-industrial settings. As a textile designer, you would specialise in fabric painting, dyeing, embroidery and design development. Your main job is to furnish the end product using the available raw material. You would have to understand client briefs, conduct research and know various colour trends. You would design using CAD (Computer-aided Design)software to visualise concepts and create samples.
As a fashion blogger, you would cover news and stories about the fashion industry. Fashion blogging is said to be a million-dollar business as fashion and lifestyle brands are spending big on marketing their product. You would run a website and social media handles, through which you would update your followers on the latest fashion trends, products, etc. Fashion tips, hacks, products, etc. can be promoted through videos, articles and stories.
Fashion Retail Management
As a fashion retail manager, you would be responsible for the swift functioning of a fashion store. The job involves hiring staff, maintaining financial records, overseeing stock, ensuring good customer relationships, maximising sales, etc. You would report to the fashion director and work closely with the sales team. You would also handle customer complaints effectively and provide good customer service.
A fashion writer is well-versed with the world of fashion and good at showcasing it through words. As a fashion writer, you should know the latest fashion trends and work closely with fashion and textile designers. Writing is a demanding job that requires you to have a good eye for detail and an in-depth understanding of your field. You would interview fashion designers, write stories about the latest fashion trends and attend various fashion shows and seminars. You could work for a magazine, newspaper or blog, covering the fashion industry as a whole.
Visual Merchandise Designing
As a visual merchandiser, you would develop floor plans and three-dimensional displays for store outlets to get your customers’ attention and maximise sales. You would work at promoting retail brands, products, in-store services, catalogues and online stores. You would work closely with the marketing team to create design themes and plans. You would play a major role in determining the brand’s retail and strategy. Your aim is to generate more sales for the brand by employing visually appealing displays.
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