Career as a Fashion Designer
Updated: May 6
The world has seen a grand evolution of style in the last 100 years and fashion design is a large contributor to that. Fashion helps us in projecting our personalities in a way that we want to and that assists us in creating an image that we want to promote to the world. A fashion designer primarily creates apparels that revolutionise the way we dress and carry ourselves. Their vision in creating apparels contributes largely to the cultural and socio-economic development of the world.
As a fashion designer, you study trends, create designs, carve out materials and simply create masterpieces of apparels that are worn by millions, if not billions of people. You can start trends and revolutionise the fashion world if you’re creative enough and have what it takes to create coveted garments. As they say, fashion is for everybody. So you could channel your fashion design expertise in women’s fashion, men’s fashion, children’s fashion, footwear, and accessories. Under each of these categories also, there’s a chance to dig your brain into a deeper understanding of the apparel you are creating. You can branch out into different genres as well that include sportswear, lingerie, formalwear, and footwear.
Along with a great understanding of current fashion trends, fashion designers will also need a working knowledge of technological gadgets that are used to create apparels. A simple example of the technology will be a sewing machine, but with the current market in mind, there are plenty of advanced machines available to create apparels from scratch. Some well-known designers also use body-scanning and 3D printing methods to create custom fit apparels that are sized specifically for someone. Clo 3D for rendering and adobe suite for digital designing is also a common name in the fashion industry now.
What Does a Fashion Designer Exactly Do?
Although extremely exciting, the process of creating a design from scratch can be long and complicated. It may take months to finally roll out a collection. But, it usually starts with research on current fashion trends and prediction of future trends to increase the usage span of the garments you are creating.
If the goal is bringing new designs to the public, a fashion designer takes part in every aspect of the process. The first part is designing. It could include sketching it on a canvas or illustrating the design on a computer.
Next comes the putting it together part. Using dummies or models, fashion designers use sewing material to put together the outfits they create from the design. Once the initial design is finalised, the designer’s creative vision takes over to produce a garment that is comfortable to wear but also looks sensational. From the first draft of creating, it may take a while for the design to be finalised. There are either levels of approvals required, or levels of creative discretion to finally get a green signal on a particular design.
Whether you are working alone or with a large design house, there will be multiple rounds of creating a basic prototype of the garment before it is finalised. The prototypes are usually created with low cost material so that the costing is reduced and the designers can predict how the design will look on a human body. Once it is finalized, the design is produced and made available for the public.
The clothes that fashion designers create can be broadly categorised into two - haute couture and ready to wear clothing. A haute couture garment is specifically crafted for a single person. These are uniquely designed apparels by a designer that are one of a kind. Ready to wear garments are more bulk produced by large fashion houses or brands. They also fall into the category of sizes of small, medium and large according to the standard measurement of the target audience that they are distributed to.
What Does it Take to Be a Fashion Designer?
If you live and breathe fashion, fashion design could be the right career path for you. To become a successful fashion designer, you need to start at the very beginning. To make it your profession, you need to have the correct educational background and experience.
Here are the following conventional qualifications needed to become a fashion designer:
1. A bachelor’s degree, diploma or college degree in arts, fashion design or any related field.
2. Working knowledge of software needed to create designs including CAD, Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft Excel.
3. Sketching, designing and product creation skills.
4. Ability to perform market research relating to trends, fabrics etc.
5. Conceptualizing design, understanding colour palettes, patterns etc.
6. Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
But in today's time and age, conventional education is being substituted with online courses, real-time internships, actual work experience and a drive to learn. So don't be upset if you don't have a degree. You can still make it.
A Day in Life of a Fashion Designer
Do you want to find out what it is like to be a designer? Production meetings, fitting, styling, and a whole lot of planning. Being a fashion designer isn’t a 9 to 5 job and most days, you will have to be up and running early morning. But if you still think you have what it takes, here’s how an average day would look like -
The first part of the morning will usually revolve around checking emails, taking updates, following up with various buyers, merchandisers etc. You need to create a functioning network of suppliers and vendors.
Once all the updates are in place, you will move on to the designing phase. A collection or a garment will be in its production stage. It could be in the designing, creating or finalizing stage. Most of your day will be spent working on the creative processes that take to make a collection into reality.
Coordinating with workers, colleagues that are designated for designing, fabrics, cutting patterns, and taking the finalised design from start to finish. You will also need to establish timelines, decide estimated costs and bring out testing materials to sew the design in.
Styling trials may take place in which you will have to ask models to put on the trial garments, estimated measurements, changes to be noted. According to the feedback of the styling trial, you will need to change drawing details, work on the specific colour schemes, patterns, materials, fabrics and bring in the changes required.
Once the design is coming to its final stages, you will need to plan a launch. To get the launch in motion, a lot of market research needs to be conducted. The target market needs to be located, an estimated budget for the collection’s promotions should be figured out, the means of the promotion should be figured out. Whether it will be conducted through a website, social media or a full-blown fashion show. In order to plan out a successful launch, you will need to study fashion trends, prepare for fashion shows, approach fashion magazines for promotions and get your Instagram game on.
Is it for you?
A career in fashion design seems pretty glamorous and something that many people desire. But it is one thing to desire it and another thing to actually think you might be passionate about it. So, do you think you have what it takes to pursue a career in fashion design? Let’s find out!
1. Your style game is always on point - Budding fashion designers are always one step ahead when it comes to their fashion game. Whether you are sewing your own clothes, or you know all the vintage shops in your area that sell the most remarkable designs, you know how to make it work with your clothes.
2. You’re eager to learn more and get inspired - You may have subscribed to various fashion houses and you follow fashion shows more than you follow your favourite TV shows.
3. Creativity is your power - You understand clothing, patterns, sequins, designs, colour palettes and you’re not afraid to get creative with them!
4. You’re the fashion guru for all your friends - Your friends take fashion advice from you. Whether it is about shopping, accessories, clothing, you are their go-to person!
Do you fit the bill? Do you have what it takes? Then fashion design will definitely take you on top of the ladder and give you a chance to become your best self! Now that you have made up your mind about this, it’s time to put the thought into action. It will give you the opportunity to channel your creativity and turn simple sketches and fabric into a masterpiece that will be worn by millions of people. Now, isn’t that something to look forward to?