Clothes and accessories have been an integral part of human beings since the beginning of civilization. People have been fascinated with changing designs and styles of clothes and have shown interest in following the latest fashion and trends that prevail. A career in fashion design can be rewarding and stimulating, to those with a creative streak and love for fashion.
Tracing fashion design career
Fashion designers are people who design clothes and accessories which are later put on sale for the public. Charles Frederick Worth was the first ever known fashion designer; he set up a fashion designing house 'House of worth' in the mid 1800's. Prior to this people has exclusive seamstresses to make their clothes and many of these seamstresses were not necessarily well-known in the market.
With the establishment of exclusive fashion designing houses, people could identify their clothes with designers and their exclusive style. Talented fashion designers were hired by highly-placed people in society and these designers worked exclusively for these people. There were fashion designers who were hired by fashion houses and these people designed clothes for these houses for bulk manufacture.
Fashion designers are exclusively trained to design clothes either on a custom basis or for the mass market. They have to keep updating themselves with market requirements and prevailing trends in the market. This involves:
- Read fashion magazines and understand the prevailing taste and attend fashion shows organized by fashion designers.
- Fashion designers interact with the clients and customers, understand their requirement and design clothes according to the taste of the client. They also advice clients on how to improve their sense of style and choose clothes that flatter them.
- Fashion designers make rough sketches and copies of the garment design called patterns and they shape these pattern pieces to give the garment the final look.
- These pattern pieces are then made to the actual measurement on paper.
- The measurements and style of patterns are then used on a sample fabric and then they are sewn together and fitted on models. Any further alterations or design changes are made by studying the garment on the model.
- The sample garment is approved by either the head designer or the customer and details such as type of fabric, color schemes, sewing pattern are finalized. The final garment is sewed after prior approval from the client.
- CAD (Computer Aided Designing) techniques are used to make drawings and sketches and this data can be stored for future reference. With CAD it easy to alter the colors and the styles as per requirement.
Fashion designer career
To be a fashion designer, one must possess special skills in choosing colors and arranging combinations of colors. The candidate must be highly creative and possess an eye for detail and should be open to new, innovative and fresh ideas in their field of work.
- There are formal training programs that offer special training in this field. On completion of the course, a degree for fashion designing is awarded to the successful candidate.
- Training in the field of basic art and design might be mandatory as this will test the person's skill for drawing and designing.
- There are fashion design schools that offer formal degrees for either a two or three year period. People who have completed the two year course generally are absorbed as assistants to designers.
- Formal training in CAD is necessary as it helps in designing better.
- There are numerous areas of study that you can choose to specialize in before you choose fashion designing as your career.
Options in fashion design career
Fashion designing is not merely designing clothes; there are related sub-specialties in this field. Listed below are few popular choices in fashion design career:
Fashion designing: Students can choose to be specialists in either in knitwear or textiles or leather wear.
Accessory designing: Footwear, jewelry, costume jewelry etc are the wide options available in accessory designing. Clothes by themselves can never look complete without accessories, thus the market is equally demanding for these accessories.
Fashion photography: Fashion photographers are equally important in the fashion business, they bring out the best in a garment by the way it is pictured and presented. Thus fashion photographers are equally in demand.
Job prospects for fashion designers
Fashion design careers mainly relate to the following job prospects in the fashion design industry
- Retail or wholesale garment business for men, women, children, or in specialty clothing like sportswear, casual wear etc.
- Haute couture
- Export houses that deal with garment manufacturing or handloom manufacturing or textiles manufacturing.
- Fashion show related careers, like fashion photography, costume designers etc.
- Custom-made garments or accessories like exclusive designer wear for the rich and the famous.
Job specialization for fashion design careers
The fashion industry as a whole deals with a few departments in main focus:
Design division: This is the prime division of any fashion design house as the people here are the makers of new and innovative designs. They shape, draw, sew and try out fresh garment ideas on models and later apply it to original customer requirements.
Manufacturing division: This division mainly handles the manufacturing of the garment either in bulk or as per the individual's requirements for custom-designed wear.
Fashion coordinators: This division handles the customers/buyers and speaks to them on their requirements and relates these ideas to the design division and makes suggestions to the customers on improvement of the design they have already chosen. They act as a bridge between the client and the manufacturer.
Merchandising division: They are the people who give updates on the current trend and the changing market requirements. They relate to the fashion department/coordinators and also help in fixing prices of particular merchandise.
Special skills of Fashion Designer
To make a successful fashion design career, an eye for detail in the following areas will help:
Designing: Should possess a keen interest in developing new and innovative ideas and should have a fair idea on the type of tools used.
Uniqueness: Ideas generated have to be unique and not borrowed.
Suggestion making: Should have special skills to manage problems and give better suggestions to both clients and manufacturer.
Good learner: Should be open to fresh and new thoughts and should possess flair to learn new concepts.
Management: Should possess the skill of coordinating and relating ideas of both the client and the manufacturer to each other in an effective manner.