Beyond the stylish lifestyle, all the glamour and fame, the fashion industry proves to be quite fiercely competitive and challenging around the corner. Studying design is challenging but also rewarding. Design degree courses equip you with an ideal combination of both practical and theoretical skills. The majority of design graduates specialize in a specific area – for example 2D or 3D-design, product or web design, fashion or textiles, or photography these courses that give a broad overview of the design process. Design degrees now recognize the diversity of the creative industry and allow students to develop strong creative skills while exploring their own desired sensibilities.
Fashion market is booming and spreading its wings beyond traditional careers. The career prospects are now cutting across communications and marketing in fashion, apart from the core work of designing and manufacturing. The industry has seen a metamorphosis in the past few decades owing to brand awareness, consumerism and increase in disposable incomes. This scenario has resulted in more and more young people opting for different streams in fashion. While there are more avenues in jobs, there is a plethora of courses available both at vocational and scholarly level. There are inventions and innovations in fashion industry which are changing the old school ways and making it an excited and fulfilling career option.
Being a designer is obviously one of the most visible roles you can have in the industry that requires talent and skills. Every designer follows a design process which includes exploration and research. The original idea is sketched on paper to begin with it. The garment construction involves understanding the art of pattern making, stitching and of course proper fittings. Modifications of designs and patterns are done with the help of mocks and toiles. The final garment is then cut out on the original fabric and thus a design is completed.
Fashion designers in a production unit can specialize in producing certain types of clothes in a wide range of styles and fabrics, e.g., jeans, jackets, children’s wear, men’s wear, women’s wear, knitwear, sportswear, etc. where production is at a large scale with low costs.
Production Management is the front line of fashion. Production managers are responsible for getting textiles and clothing made at the manufacturing level. They work with suppliers and retailers to make sure quality production is attained. This field has potential to be challenging and exciting at the same time. There is a challenge to manufacture within the given resources without any wastage keeping in mind the design aspect also. Some fashion schools offer Production Management as a degree option. The job requires some business training and one should have the inclination towards understanding how things are made.
It’s a huge industry with multitude of jobs available for design students as per their personal interests, inclinations and fortes. Some of the most lucrative and interesting opportunities in the field of fashion today apart from the main stream designer and production jobs are Fashion Marketing, Retail & Fashion Consultant, Fashion styling and Visual Presentation, Fashion Journalism, Fashion Forecasting, Fashion Advertising etc.
Fashion Merchandising/Sales and Marketing is where design and business intersect. Designers ultimately need to get their product to the market. Merchandisers track and monitor fashion trends and consumer trends. A head for numbers and a ton of creativity are non-negotiable. There are many options that fall under the merchandising umbrella. While this is an under-appreciated career path, one can make decent money and get enough knowledge of a multitude of brands, marketing strategies, and how to manage people.
Fashion Forecasting is a global career that focuses on upcoming trends. A fashion forecaster predicts the colors, fabrics, textures, materials, prints, graphics, beauty/grooming, accessories, footwear, street style, and other styles that will be presented on the runway and in the stores for the upcoming seasons.
Fashion Advertising might be the one for those with artsy and creative minds. Fashion Advertising in today’s time is the juggernaut that never stops. There is an opportunity to work at a corporate level as well as at the retail level. Visual Presentation and Styling are although two separate but potentially overlapping professions. In terms of visibility, styling is on the rise as a profession. Besides a degree in Fashion having some understanding of numbers, business, communication, internships and networking are probably more important in styling than in the other professions. Visual presentation requires a creative, dramatic and theatrical thinking. Store windows are only one of many options for visual presentation. Museum exhibits, fashion shows, and showrooms all use this technique. There are specialty degrees at art and fashion schools specifically for visual presentation. It is about storytelling in three dimensions, creating environments that inspire, inform, and persuade.
Fashion Journalism is combination of passion for writing and fashion. It is the perfect opportunity to report what’s happening in the world of fashion. Magazines are expanding their online presence and hiring bloggers to report up-to-the minute news. There are requirements for fashion bloggers to write for e-commerce sites, PR firms, or trade publications. Creative writing, industry insight, proper research, rhetorical & interviewing skills and capability to network with industry experts etc. are the key requirements for a successful career in the field of Fashion Journalism.
Some of the most exciting opportunities are to work in the retail sector. Fashion retail offers fashion graduates a diverse range of career paths from roles in management to jobs in purchasing, merchandising and supply/logistics. Many retailers offer graduate training programs, and offer managerial positions with a prior three-to-five years’ experience. Retailers also offer positions to graduates from many backgrounds in creative arts and design. Preferred skills that are important in the fashion retail sector are relationship management and a strong customer service ethic. It is also vital to update oneself with current trends, keep a quick check on how retailers market and sell. The basic source to derive all updates knowledge is through reading relevant blogs and magazines.
In this competitive world of fashion being creative and artistic is not enough as one is expected to be original and inventive with ideas. Sensibilities in terms of colors, silhouettes, conceptualization etc. is of utmost importance. Designers are required to equip themselves with the ability to visualize their ideas in three dimensions and to also translate into garments. Design industry demands one to be a good communicator, goal oriented, observant, persuasive, fashion conscious, resilient and also have a clear understanding of the market, customer lifestyle and business acumen.
India, today, is at the forefront of fashion manufacturing and production. The industry is catching up with all fashion brands across the globe. The future will likely see brands originating from India, manufactured in India, and being adopted by the West with added impetus from the Make in India campaign and other fashion innovations. The year 2050 will see at least two dozen fashion brands from India with well-established worldwide distribution and retail. Fashion industry is poised to be more than just about appearances. With technology and innovation, it is reaching new levels and setting higher standards subsequently.