By: Lalita Rani Taneja and Saroj S. Jeet Singh



Fashion is what we wear, through a constant process of selection, adoption and change. It is triggered by people, events and social, economic and technological change. No wonder fashion and apparel designing have become one of the fastest growing professions in India in recent years. The world of cloths and accessories has expanded into a giant industry, both for domestic requirements and for export. Today, the Fashion industry in India is a high growth sector with a multi-core turn over.


There is an ever-growing demand for more designers who can come up with the innovative designs that are commercially Viable in the export market. With fashion becoming a big business and India emerging as one of the major players in the global garment market, the need for qualified professionals in this field has increased tremendously.


Fashion designing offers unlimited opportunities for those who are good at it. The status and income of the person goes up as he establishes a reputation of his own. Exposure to the fashion industry abroad may help in widening horizons since Indians still tend to copy western styles. With beauty pageants, fashion shows, foreign labels and a public that is increasingly becoming fashion conscious, you as a fashion designer have enough chances to exhibit your talent. If you are enterprising, you can set up your own manufacturing or export units, which will bring big financial benefits or you can find a lucrative job in the textile industry.


A fashion designer is no longer an anonymous entity- designer labels give him an identity. As long as people feel the urge to dress well, there will always be a need for more designers to provide a variety of clothing that is appealing, fascinating and up-to-date.


Export houses, domestic markets and manufacturing units throw up ample opportunities for you to work as a fashion designer in textile designing. It involves working with different fabrics and material. Textiles account for a major chunk of exports. The textile industry calls for technically skilled executives who are specialists in designing interpretation, pattern creation, gannent construction, grading, product development, marketing and computer aided design. So you could make a beginning with any of the export house or manufacturer.

More over, you can find a job in accessory designing- designing anything: from hair clips and sunglasses to footwear and luggage. There are a lot of opportunities for you in designing leather accessories.


How to become a professional in fashion designing?


The industry demands the vision to see beyond what is already there and the ability to see market trends. What you need is a flair for designing a willingness to learn, Imagination, manual dexterity, organizational skills, a sensibility for colors, textures and style and business acumen.


Like any other creative field, Fashion design does not depend so much on qualifications as on talent and creativity. Styles and tastes keep changing all the time and a good designer need to be on his toes to give the consumer the best and the latest. In the realm of designing, fashion is a business and it must not be misunderstood for an art fonn. Its dynamics are guided by conunerce.


Unlike popular belief, fashion design does involve a certain amount of technical knowledge, of types of material, their adaptability to weather, wear and tear etc. Production facilities and costs also need to be taken into account. hi the field of apparels, careers can be made in design, production, merchandising and marketing.


As a designer your job is to forecast fashion and translate the requirements of the market into saleable designs. It calls for a rare combination of talent and business acumen. If you want to be successful in this field, you need to have confidence and optimism, keen powers of observation, an eye for detail and a high level of creativity. You should be able to withstand the stress of failure and long and irregular hours.


 

There must be a flexibility to adapt a disorganized environment with day-today challenges and many ego problems. A flair for computers also helps since most design work in future will be done on computers.


Fashion Designing


Fashion designers develop new styles and products for clothing apparel and accessories by creating original designs or by adapting fashions to suit local conditions, trends and buyers. They are the ones who approve fmal samples before they go into production. The designer begins the designing process only after thorough market research. i.e., understanding the needs of the client/market in terms of changing trends, budget etc. Accessory Designers specialize in designing shoes, bags, scarves, jewellery, ties etc. which complete the look of the garment.


Personal Attributes: Fashion designers need to be artistic, creative and must posses ability to translate ideas in sketches, must have keen sense of color i.e. combination of shades and tones, visual imagination & knowledge of market trends.


Educational Qualification: Basic qualification for a course in fashion designing is 10+2, it varies depending on the course chosen.


Job Prospectus: They can find employment with professional designers as apprentices with manufacturing units, export houses, boutiques, media as costume designers, freelancing for fashion houses and boutiques and at the same time it is a rewarding possibility for self employment by opening your own boutique.


Fashion coordinators: atTange and supervise the marketing of fashion clothing for manufacturing houses, textile fums and retail stores. It is a highly competitive job involving a variety of functions. They advice on latest fashion trends, organize fashion shows, assist in advertising i.e. promoting sales and liaison with fabric dealers to ensure that the fabric, buttons and colors are of the correct shade, quality and design. Coordinates may be required to travel widely to get an idea of the fashion trends.

Personal Attributes: Must have high level of artistic and creative talents, a natural flair for fashion, sound judgment, excellent communication and organizational skills.


Illustrators draw free hand sketches of designer's ideas. They not only need outstanding sketching skills but also at the same time require excellent communication skills. Illustrator at times has to discuss with customers when new collection is introduced and this requires ability to interact.


He/she is a much sought-after person by big garment houses and organizations.

Fashion Consultant: must be aware of the trends and transitions in the fashion market along with knowledge about fashion designing. They are expected to offer ideas regularly on how to further develop a product to be readily absorbed in a market. He/she should be a sharp observer sensitive to changing trends.

Cutting Assistants: have to cut samples according to specifications of the designer. A cutting assistant cuts samples, makes and alters pattet11 S to see that the design visualized can be converted to a real dress.


Sketching Assistants: make the technical sketches of the garments and makes drawings for presentation. It is from this specification sketches one decides how a gannent has to be fabricated. The sketching assistant sometimes has to the select the fabric also.


Fashion Stylist: has to coordinate the entire wardrobe for a fashion show or programme to promote the sales of the products. It involves coordinating the dress, accessories, make up, hairstyle, even the color of the nail polish of the model according to the theme and the overall look of the show. Sometimes a stylist is even involved in fabric selection. He/she has to be well versed in the trends and happenings in the industry and also have a keen sense of current fashion trends.


 

Textile Designing


Textile Designer or Fabric Designer: designs woven, knitted or printed fabrics for clothing and other home ware items like carpets, tableware etc. They treat the yam through different types of processes to give it a particular finish. The textile designer also make drawings of initial concepts and work with various yarns and fabrics taking into account the final use of the fabric by translating the designs into marketable fabrics.

Textile designers work within and alongside industries such as fashion, interior design, and textiles. They may also work under professional designers or as freelance designers working with a client base.


Colorist: play a vital role in the textile-printers, artist team. They are involved in block printing or machine printing. They must keep a record of color samples and fabric pieces and have to work in a high paced environment, to meet deadlines. The colorist has to be very organized and must carefully follow precise instructions. The other career options in textile designing are weavers, embroidery designers, dying & printing consultant, fabric analyzer, textile lab manager, fabric resource manager etc.


Apparel Merchandising


Fashion Merchandisers are mainly responsible for marketing. He/she has 10 study past and current sales data and analyze trends. They have to collect specifications from the buyers, coordinate with fashion designers and production team to develop a product, which meets market requirement.


They must have knowledge of fashion trends. textures. materials and colors on one hand and understanding of market demand and the production processes on the other. At the same time have analytical ability and communication skills.


They can find employment with garment industries, export houses, manufacturing firms etc.


Visual merchandising a comparatively new career field which has sprung up with the growing popularity of window and floor displays. Visual merchandisers main area of work is to create impressive window displays. They can find employment with fashion boutiques, shopping malls, emporia etc.


They are also engaged as shop floor managers. They can also do freelancing on contract basis for window displays in exhibitions, fairs and other places.


Other career options under this head are production coordinator, quality control supervisor and fashion retailer, export manager etc.


Fashion Journalism and Presentation


Fashion Journalist is an overall in-charge of a fashion magazine. It is through them that the general public gets to know the latest fashion trends.

He/she should have excellent taste for fashion and keep themselves abreast with latest fashion news, consumer reaction to new collections, fashion shows, current and future trends in color, design and fabric. Today fashion journalist has a bright scope for employment as there is a need for exclusive articles and programmes with the development of fashion industry.


Fashion Photography is an extremely creative and well-paid profession. Fashion photographer needs to have a keen eye for aesthetic detail, a thorough knowledge of cameras and the teclmicalities involved in taking pictures of light, distance and perspective to be successful. He/she should be inventive and able to visualize and .communicate his ideas, at the same time must be sensitive to the moods of the models and interact freely with them.


Fashion photography is one of the choices that photographers can diversify into. They can do freelancing and find employment with fashion houses, designers, fashion journals and newspapers.

 

Modelling


If you have an attractive and outgoing personality and good communication skills, you can opt for modelling. Modelling is a highly paid job and is categorized into live modelling and photographic modelling. Live modelling is what we see in fashion shows, exhibitions where models display clothes and accessories for potential customers.


Photographic or still modelling is taking photographs for Magazines, newspapers, catalogues and films for advertisements. One must take care to maintain their figure and looks, as modelling is a highly competitive field. Good looks, height, an attractive physique combined with self-confidence and a trendy approach to life goes a long way to make a model popular. In addition they should be highly photogenic. Patience and the ability to stand criticism are vital for survival and progress. Models can find employment with designers, in design houses, advertisement firms etc.


Fashion Stylist has to coordinate the entire wardrobe for a fashion show or programme to promote the sales of the products. It involves coordinating the dress, accessories, make up, hairstyle, even the color of the nail polish of the model according to the theme and the overall look of the show. Sometimes a stylist is even involved in fabric selection. He/she has to be well versed in the trends and happenings in the industry and also have a keen sense of current fashion trends.


About the Author:


Lalita Rani Taneja is associated with SRF Deptt. of Clothing & Textiles. CCS HAU. Hisar.

Saroj S. Jeet Singh is associated with Deptt. of Clothing & Textiles, CCS HAU, Hisar.


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