At a young age, just out of high school or college, it can be daunting for many students and parents to decide what career path to select for an exciting yet stable future. Should that choice be Fashion? With options like fashion designer, fashion stylist, costume designer, fashion public relations expert, and fashion journalist, your question to yourself should not be whether a career in Fashion is the right choice, but rather which area of Fashion is right for you.
For example, fashion stylists and image designers equipped with 2 to 4 years of professional training should be able to work for brands as stylists or creative directors looking at in-store styling, look books, social media content, etc., or work in films and for TV shows/web series as costume designers, costume stylists, and art directors.
If a corporate setting appeals to the graduates, they can work in e-commerce as stylists, studio managers, and sometimes makeup artists or photographers. Styling graduates can also aspire to be independent entrepreneurs such as personal stylists and image consultants. All this is in addition to being able to become fashion influencers.
Similarly, the list of professional opportunities in every field of Fashion is endless, and making the right choice essentially involves having all the right kind of information first.
Representative Image Source: Shutterstock
Fashion has a long and complex value chain. From designers to manufacturers, to marketers, creative directors, stylists, PR, and journalists, all of whom play an integral role in what, how, and why consumers choose to buy certain products. Where a fashion designer looks at parameters like season, trends, form, and function to begin designing a range of products, a manufacturer will look at raw materials, optimising resources, and quality control.
Both play an equally important part in the creation of the final products. As you can imagine, no design can be worn unless it is actually produced, and no product can be produced without being conceptualised and designed. Within these two areas, there will be multiple sub-areas where one can choose to work in design, illustration, pattern cutting, sampling, textile design, print design, sourcing, production coordination, and quality control, to name only a few.
Once the garment is produced, it needs to be sold. Here again, there are merchandisers for inventory management and visual merchandisers who, in a physical store, will display the products most attractively. A stylist will create advertising and e-commerce content to appeal to the brand’s target audience. Visual storytellers and social media content creators will generate brand narratives, videos, etc, for their social platforms.
Creating such content will also require photographers, makeup artists, art directors, graphic designers, etc. Other subsidiaries of fashion promotion include fashion magazines, fashion show direction, packaging design, fashion blogging, and influencer marketing.
Shalini Gupta, Associate Dean, Fashion Styling & Image Designing, School of Fashion, Pearl Academy Source: Official
It is apparent from the examples above that fashion is a vast field with multiple moving parts, and each of these has to contribute fully for things to keep moving ahead.
In the early 2000s, the industry was still rather young. Freshers learned to do everything on the job. Learning the skills, deciding what one was good at, and moving up from there was essential.
Why then, is it important today to choose between all the options that the fashion domain offers? If one can adapt so quickly, then does one need to choose a specific course within the area of Fashion? The answer is yes. Today, with so many young people aspiring to be a part of the fashion industry, companies and employers are not always equipped or inclined to train people from scratch; therefore, aspirants need to fill certain specific requirements at the start of their careers.
Post-COVID-19, the world has changed entirely without notice! It has pushed the fast-forward button on technologies like AR, VR, and AI. Fashion and design domains have been some of the many areas that have used technology to communicate, innovate, and invent. Clothing is conceptualised, designed, styled, and marketed using virtual avatars.
Numerous platforms allow customers to virtually try on clothing, accessories, and other items using a mobile phone. Start-ups are using technology like AI and ML to reduce waste and fight the Anthropocene we find ourselves in. Students who are trained in such technology now will be at the forefront of leading the change that is already coming and will be the unicorns of the future.
Representative Image Source: Shutterstock
Institutions across the country offer multiple creative courses. They all teach aspirants how to adapt and solve current problems, keeping the user or consumer at the centre since empathy and user experience are a large part of the design process.
The courses range from Fashion Design to Fashion Styling, Fashion Communication to Fashion Business Management, and Fashion Photography to Fashion Makeup.
The best way to decide what course one wants to pursue is to find any information about all the fields and then choose where their passion lies and what they see themselves doing in 5 or 10 years.
About the author: Shalini Gupta is an Associate Dean of Fashion Styling & Image Designing, School of Fashion at Pearl Academy