The global fashion industry may have experienced a major setback in the financial year 2019-20, due to the pandemic, but as a McKinsey & Company report states, the industry is all set to make a recovery going forward. And considering the diversity of textiles, garments, styles and handicrafts that India has to offer, there is also a great diversity in the opportunities available.
Who is a fashion designer?
A fashion designer is one who designs apparel, shoes or accessories. They could be working for big retail companies, exclusive fashion boutiques or even run a label of their own. While they will be keeping up with the latest trends in fashion, there is also a lot of scope for one to use their creativity to create a new trend. With designers working in exclusive boutiques, there is also the need to understand a client’s needs and ideas and craft designs accordingly. So, are you wondering how to start a career in fashion designing, particularly in apparel? Well, we’ve got you covered, read on to know more.
What are the career prospects for a fashion designer?
With worldwide economic prosperity, overall average income has seen an increase, leading to better lifestyles and higher spending capacity. With this also comes an increase in demand for, among many other things, designer clothes, and of course designers. For a creative person, who is able to understand the demands of the industry well, a career in fashion designing could be personally and financially rewarding.
What courses to study to become a fashion designer?
Fashion designers create wearable art, and hence having an artistic and creative personality is a must. This is also important to have an inherent love for fashion and an eye for trends - but is a love for fashion all you need to make it?
The modern world’s fashion industry is highly competitive. To pursue a career in this field, you will not only have to work hard on honing your skills but also get the right qualifications and keep abreast with the latest trends. The best place to start is an undergraduate course in fashion design where you will learn fashion design history, the basics of sketching your ideas, understanding how the industry works, how to remain relevant, among other things. For students in Kolkata, some of the finest colleges of the city you can consider applying to, to kickstart your career in fashion designing are:
- J.D. BIRLA INSTITUTE, Kolkata
J.D. Birla Institute offers a 3 year B.Sc (Honours) Course in Textile Science, Clothing and Fashion Studies under affiliation to Jadavpur University. The course is divided into six semesters and the curriculum is based on the choice based credit system of the UGC. Students can select any four Discipline Selective Courses from among the 08 offered by the institute in the final two semesters. Students here gain exposure to the technical, design-related, managerial, and manufacturing components of the garment and textile sector through this comprehensive course. Various workshops and mandatory internship at the end of the course also provides them with the much required industry exposure. Students are even given placements by the institute's active placement unit.
- National Institute of Fashion Technology, Kolkata
The National Institute of Fashion Technology, Kolkata is one of the finest branches of NIFT across the country. At present the institute offers specialised courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the fields of design, management and technology. For UG students the college provides B.Des and B.F. Tech courses and at PG level it offers MFM.
- Amity University, Kolkata
The Amity School of Fashion Technology, Kolkata offers a 4 year B.Des course in Fashion Design. The course is divided into two semesters focusing on elements of design, art illustration, fashion appreciation and model drawing.
- INIFD, Kolkata
International Institute of Fashion Design is recognised universally for fashion designing. At present, the college offers three different certificate courses: advanced certificate, specialisation certificate and super specialisation certificate on fashion designing.
- NSHM Institute, Kolkata
NSHM Institute offers a 3 year B.Sc full time degree program in Fashion Designing that is also regarded as one of the best fashion designing programmes in Eastern India. The curriculum is a perfect blend of designing and managerial and manufacturing aspects of the apparel and textile industry.
- iLead Institute, Kolkata
iLead Kolkata offers a 3 year full time B.Sc course in Sustainable Fashion Design and Management. The course, with an internationally designed curriculum, provides a detailed insight on sustainable design with its research oriented syllabus.
A number of these institutes also offer certificate courses meant for graduates from other disciplines who have an innate interest and talent for fashion designing. These people can hone their skills by signing up for certification courses like:
- Certificate in Fashion Illustration and Design- 3 months
- Certificate in Creative Fashion Styling - 6 months
- Certificate in Fundamental of Fashion Designing - 6 months
- Certificate in Fashion Styling and Draping - 6 months
- Certificate course in Fashion Merchandising - 6 months
- Certificate in Pattern Design - 6 months
To be a fashion designer you need to have a combination of skills Source: Rawpixel
Skills needed to be a fashion designer
A course will give you the building blocks you need to build a career in fashion designing. But what will make you stand out from the crowd - and improve your prospects - will be the innate skills that you can bring to the table. And here are are list of 3 skills that are absolutely non-negotiable for any fashion designer:
Creativity: There are two kinds of designers - those who copy and those who create original ideas and designs. And it is the second category that make a name and profits for themselves and go down in history. Does creative interpretation - and the ability to translate that to wearable designs flow through you?
Authenticity: The ability to create patterns and apparel that are authentic - where your inspiration, the fabrics and cuts speak for themselves. Do fabrics, scenes and everything else around inspire them to create apparel designs that are truly your own.
Forethought: The third important skill is the ability to identify trends before they take off. Has it happened to you that you saw something new and thought to yourself that that was definitely going to take off as a trend? And then it actually did?
These may be innate skills, aor they may be nurtured and built up. Together with the education qualification - a person is in the prime position to go into a career in fashion design.
Career opportunities in fashion design
The fashion designers of the 21st century are blessed to have access to multiple fulfilling career options. Once you have completed your formal bachelor's degree or certificate course, there are a few excellent career options waiting for you, which include:
- Retail manager
- Fashion stylist
- Jewellery designer
- Fashion forecaster
- Costume designer
- Fashion journalist
- Fashion photographer
- Sketching assisting
- Fashion consultant
A career in fashion designing, like more creative career options, will come with its challenges. But when you go into a career in fashion with passion and dedication, it can be greatly rewarding as well. Ready with your sketchbook now?
Click here to read about Riddhima Kapoor Sahni's journey and her secrets to success in the world of fashion