Fashion designing can be loosely defined as 'the art of creating fashionable apparel'. With the passage of time, however, the concept of 'fashion designing' has extended to other things such as fashion accessories such as jewellery, bags, footwear, etc. Keeping in mind the evolution of fashion designing, it would not be wrong to define it as 'the creation of fashion'.


Fashion designing has indeed come a long way from the mere designing of clothing. Fashion designing has evolved into a full-fledged industry today. It is well accepted as a career option all over the world. Apart from designing, there are a number of other career alternatives that have emerged in this industry with the passage of time. This article seeks to study the evolution of the industry of fashion designing the then and now.


The origin of fashion designing dates as far back as 1826. Charles Frederick Worth is believed to be the first fashion designer of the world, from 1826 to 1895. Charles, who was earlier a draper, set up a fashion house in Paris. It was he who started the tradition of fashion houses and telling his customers what kind of clothing would suit them.


During this period, a number of design houses began to hire the services of artists to develop patterns for garments. Patterns would be presented to the clients, who would then place an order if they liked them. It was during this timeframe that the tradition of presenting patterns to the customers and then stitching them began, instead of the earlier system wherein the finished garments would be presented to them.


In the beginning of the 20th century, new developments in fashion would take place in Paris first, from where they would spread to the rest of the world. New designs of clothes would be born in Paris before they found their way to other parts of the world. In other words, Paris emerged as the 'fashion capital'. 'Fashion' during this period was mostly 'haute couture', exclusively designed for individuals.


Towards the mid-20th century, fashion garments began to be mass-produced. The bulk of production increased, and people began to have more choices of garments. Towards the end of the 20th century, fashion awareness among people increased, and they began choosing clothes for themselves based on comfort and their own style, instead of relying on the trends prevailing in the market.


Today, as stated above, fashion designing is well accepted as a career option. A number of institutes have come up the world over, offering courses in various arenas of fashion. The number of students who consider fashion as a serious career and who have gone in for courses in the same has gone on rising over the years.


Specializations in fashion designing have come into being. There is a wide range of options for a designer to choose from, such as lingerie, swimwear, women's wear, bridal wear, children's wear, men's wear, footwear, handbags, etc. Fashion designers used to be self-employed earlier now find a number of career opportunities open for them. They can work with garment firms and export houses. They may also be engaged in the job of remodeling haute couture and adapting them to the tastes of the mass market. They might also hold jobs in departmental stores or specialty stores.


Developments in the field of fashion designing have given rise to other related career paths such as hairstylist, make-up artist, fashion journalists, fashion advisors, fashion photographers, etc.


Another significant change that has come about in the fashion designing industry in recent times is the increased use of computers and technology. A number of software packages have come up to aid designers in the process of designing as well as other stages in the production of a garment, easily and speedily.