India which has always been a centre for the textile and garment trade is also growing into a centre of innovation in garment and accessory design. Fashion technology has a wide scope for choosing a career. Now the fashion industry has become so specialized that it encompasses a vast field of studies in design, concept management, design production management, quality control, planning, fabric design, printing, fashion accessory design, fashion merchandising, textile science, colour mixing, marketing and so on.
The primary areas of work in the fashion industry are market research, designing and manufacturing of garments and textiles.
Fashion design is the most important area of work in fashion industry. Designing involves creating original designs after studying the changing trends of the market i.e market research. It has various fields of specialisation like garments, footwear, jewellery and even luggage. It is a challenging field as it requires the coordination of various jobs, in small concerns it is usually a one man show but in big organisations the jobs are specialised and allotted to different people.
Manufacturing involves purchasing textiles and fabrics required for the design and making the garment according to the master pattern. Manufacturing process requires employment of a large number of trained personnel.
Minimum eligibility for the Undergraduate course in this field is 10+2 with 50% marks and for Post Graduate courses graduation. In the prominent institutes, admission is strictly on merit- through written test, situation test, group discussion and interview. These courses are aimed at understanding concepts related to costume, jewellery, leather goods and many other similar products where fashion matters.
The courses include Graduate, Post graduate, Certificate and Diploma in the following areas:
While 10+2 is sufficient for Accessory designing and Fashion Designing, Graduates are preferred for other courses.
The training also includes internship in an organization which gives the students industry functions. Training is usually imparted keeping in mind the demands of the international market. Most training institutes have the latest technologies including laboratories, workshops, design and research centers, libraries, computers and information about the latest development in the industry.
Prominent institutes in Fashion Technology are National institute of Fashion technology (NIFT), National Institute of Design (NID), International Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi (IIFT); IEC School of Art and Fashion, New Delhi; Indian Institute of Art and Fashion Technology (IIAFT), Mumbai; Pearl Academy of fashion, New Delhi; J.D Institute of fashion Technology, New Delhi.
The candidates after successful completion of the course can find excellent placements in garment, leather and jewellery industry as merchandising executives, fashion designers, illustrators, fashion co-coordinators, etc. Export houses, textile mills, garment store chains, boutiques, leather companies, jewellery houses, fashion show organisers also look for such candidates.
Fashion designers develop new styles and products for clothing apparel and accessories by creating original designs or by adapting fashions to suit local conditions, trends and buyers. They are the ones who approve final samples before they go into production. The designer begins the designing process only after thorough market research, i.e., understanding the needs of the client/market in terms of changing trends, budget etc. Accessory Designers specialise in designing shoes, bags, scarves, jewellery, ties, etc which complete the look of the garment.
Personal Attributes: Fashion designers need to be artistic, creative and must posses ability to translate ideas in sketches, must have keen sense of colour i.e. combination of shades and tones, visual imagination & knowledge of market trends.
Educational Qualification: Basic qualification for a course in fashion designing is 10+2, it varies depending on the course chosen.
Job Prospectus: They can find employment with professional designers as apprentices, with manufacturing units, export houses, boutiques, media as costume designers, freelancing for fashion houses and boutiques and at the same time it is a rewarding possibility for self employment by opening your own boutique.
Fashion coordinators arrange and supervise the marketing of fashion clothing for manufacturing houses, textile firms and retail stores. It is a highly competitive job involving a variety of functions. They advice on latest fashion trends, organise fashion shows, assist in advertising i.e. promoting sales and liaison with fabric dealers to ensure that the fabric, buttons and colours are of the correct shade, quality and design. Coordinates may be required to travel widely to get an idea of the fashion trends.
Personal Attributes: Must have high level of artistic and creative talents, a natural flair for fashion, sound judgement, excellent communication and organisational skills.
Illustrator draw free hand sketches of designers ideas. They not only need outstanding sketching skills but at the same time requires excellent communication skills. Illustrator at times has to discuss with customers when new collection is introduced and this requires ability to interact.
He/she is a much sought-after person by big garment houses and organisations.
Fashion Consultant must be aware of the trends and transitions in the fashion market along with knowledge about fashion designing. They are expected to offer ideas regularly on how to further develop a product to be readily absorbed in a market. He/she should be a sharp observer sensitive to changing trends.
Cutting Assistants have to cut samples according to specifications of the designer. A cutting assistant cuts samples, makes and alters patterns to see that the design visualised can be converted to a real dress.
Sketching Assistants make the technical sketches of the garments and makes drawings for presentation. It is from this specification sketches one decide how a garment has to be fabricated. The sketching assistant sometimes have to the select the fabric also.
Fashion Stylist has to coordinate the entire wardrobe for a fashion show or programme to promote the sales of the products. It involves coordinating the dress, accessories, make up, hairstyle, even the colour of the nail polish of the model according to the theme and the overall look of the show. Sometimes a stylist is even involved in fabric selection. He/ she has to be well versed in the trends and happenings in the industry and also have a keen sense of current fashion trends.
Textile Designer or Fabric Designer: designs woven, knitted or printed fabrics for clothing and other home ware items like carpets, tableware etc. They treat the yarn through different types of processes to give it a particular finish. The textile designer also make drawings of initial concepts and work with various yarns and fabrics taking into account the final use of the fabric by translating the designs into marketable fabrics.
Textile designers work within and alongside industries such as fashion, interior design, and textiles. They may also work under professional designers or as freelance designers working with a client base.
Colourist play a vital role in the textile-printers, artist team. They are involved in block printing or machine printing. They must keep a record of colour samples and fabric pieces and have to work in a high paced environment, to meet deadlines. The colourist has to be very organised and must carefully follow precise instructions.
The other career options in textile designing are weavers, embroidery designers, dying & printing consultant, fabric analyser, textile lab manager, fabric resource manager etc.
Fashion Merchandisers are mainly responsible for marketing. He/she has to study past and current sales data and analyse trends. They have to collect specifications from the buyers, coordinate with fashion designers and production team to develop a product which meets market requirement. They must have knowledge of fashion trends, textures, materials and colours on one hand and understanding of market demand and the production processes on the other. At the same time have analytical ability and communication skills.
They can find employment with garment industries, export houses, manufacturing firms etc.
Visual merchandising a comparatively new career field which has sprung up with the growing popularity of window and floor displays. Visual merchandisers main area of work is to create impressive window displays. They can find employment with fashion boutiques, shopping malls, emporia etc. They are also engaged as shop floor managers. They can also do freelancing on contract basis for window displays in exhibitions, fairs and other places.
Other career options under this head are production coordinator, quality control supervisor, fashion retailer, export manager etc.
Fashion Journalist is an overall in-charge of a fashion magazine. It is through them that the general public gets to know the latest fashion trends.
He/she should have excellent taste for fashion and keep themselves abreast with latest fashion news, consumer reaction to new collections, fashion shows, current and future trends in colour, design and fabric. Today fashion journalist has a bright scope for employment as there is a need for exclusive articles and programmes with the development of fashion industry.
Fashion Photography is an extremely creative and well paid profession. Fashion photographer needs to have a keen eye for aesthetic detail, a thorough knowledge of cameras and the technicalities involved in taking pictures, of light, distance and perspective to be successful. He/she should be inventive and able to visualise and communicate his ideas, at the same time must be sensitive to the moods of the models and interact freely with them. Fashion photography is one of the choices that photographers can diversify into. They can do freelancing and find employment with fashion houses, designers, fashion journals and news papers.
Modelling If you have an attractive and outgoing personality and good communication skills, you can opt for modelling. Modelling is a highly paid job and is categorised into live modelling and photographic modelling. Live modelling is what we see in fashion shows, exhibitions where models display clothes and accessories for potential customers. Photographic or still modelling is taking photographs for Magazines, newspapers, catalogues and films for advertisements. One must take care to maintain their figure and looks, as modelling is a highly competitive field. Good looks, height, an attractive physique combined with self confidence and a trendy approach to life goes a long way to make a model popular. In addition they should be highly photogenic. Patience and the ability to stand criticism are vital for survival and progress.
Models can find employment with designers, in design houses, advertisement firms etc.
Fashion Stylist has to coordinate the entire wardrobe for a fashion show or programme to promote the sales of the products. It involves coordinating the dress, accessories, make up, hairstyle, even the colour of the nail polish of the model according to the theme and the overall look of the show. Sometimes a stylist is even involved in fabric selection. He/she has to be well versed in the trends and happenings in the industry and also have a keen sense of current fashion trends.
The best bet for a beginner is to get associated with an established designer or design house, and begin with doing the menial work. Most trainee designers get a stipend of around Rs. 4000, but what you can learn in terms of working knowledge is immense. Working as a part of a design team fetches around Rs.12,000 a month.