You want to be a fashion designer! First of all, take a moment to commend yourself on a great choice of career. Fashion Designers are instrumental in shaping the one form of art that all people partake in: clothing. Whether you’re going for custom-made clothing, or buying off the rack, the influence of fashion designers is all around us. One of the pioneers of this industry, Payal Jain, remembers the time when “nobody understood the specialised skill and education required to pursue a career in fashion”. Since her time, fashion design as a field of study has evolved to be much more structured. We can now identify skills and talents that every fashion designer needs. There are a lot more institutes now that help students build these specialisations.
Skills you need to inculcate
To be a successful as a fashion designer, you need to cultivate some skills from an early age. The following are some of the requisite skills that fashion designers must have.
- Creative bent of mind: Creativity is the bedrock of a career in fashion design. Inculcating an appreciation for fine arts, and design is a good place to start for those looking at fashion design as a long term career.
- Strong drawing skills: A career in fashion design requires you to sketch and visualise ideas. Taking courses to improve your drawing abilities will be immensely helpful before you embark upon your career.
- Interpersonal and communication skills: A fashion designer works with many stakeholders both within and outside the organization. Thus, being able to articulate your ideas and express them in meetings is an important skill to develop.
- An eye for detail: It’s the little things that make an amazing design. Being able to add intricate details to the little pleats and ruffles is very useful in distinguishing yourself as a great designer.
- Keeping up to date with trends: Fashion is all about understanding consumer tastes, and delivering upon them with your own creativity. You need to follow international and domestic fashion trends, to be able to be ahead of the curve.
Where to study
While each course is unique in terms of the minimum qualifications you need, most bachelor level fashion design courses will accept you with a 10+2 pass in any stream. While many students study fashion designing in their bachelors, a fashion design PG is likely to accept you with a degree in any field. Most bachelor level courses take between 3-4 years. If you have a diploma or a degree in a related field, many courses also offer lateral entry directly into the second year of study. There are many premier fashion design institutes where you can learn the trade. Among these are NIFT campuses in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai, Pearl Academy, Amity School of Fashion Technology, JD Institute of Fashion technology etc.
In these courses, you will be trained in design thinking, history of fashion, ways to incorporate what you see around you into your work, being able to understand the language of fashion, understanding the business side of fashion, among many other critical aspects of the trade.
Meeting industry standards
Studying to be a fashion designer is a constant process of adapting to the brief, and enriching it with your personal experiences, insights, and worldview. Some of the best fashion designers in India, like Payal Jain routinely mix genres, themes, and fuse Indian and western concepts together. In order to do this, you need to be well-versed with international fashion. Fashion designing courses ensure this perspective by helping you get international exchange programs and internships in leading companies in the industry. This experience is invaluable to young budding fashion designers who want to gain experience and build networks.
A myriad career paths
Once you have a comprehensive education in the nuances of the fashion industry, there are a wide range of career paths available to you. Through the course of study, you will identify your strengths and weaknesses that will help you select your career niche within the fashion industry. You can be a garment technologist if the analytical part of it is your forte, a fashion illustrator if art is your strong suit, or maybe a fashion blogger, if you love writing. Other fields open to you are Merchandising, Textile designing, accessory designing, serving as a Creative head, or being a retail buyer.
While the path to success may seem long and arduous, with ample guidance and training, you’ll be able to find your way to creating something truly magnificent. Remember, every great fashion designer once stood where you are, and sought to find their pedestal. You just have to knock on the right doors and find the right mentors.