Five Skills Every Fashion Designer Must Have
Updated: Feb 23
As a fashion designer, you study and create trends, make your own designs and sometimes also end up creating one-of-a-kind masterpieces that could revolutionize the world of fashion. But, in order to have a thriving and flourishing career in fashion, you are also expected to wear different hats on several occasions. Whether it’s polishing your creative design skills from time to time or even pitching a new client, you must ace it all.
As an aspiring fashion designer, it’s important you value and understand the different learnings you get as a student and after you step into the professional world. But, what are these learnings exactly? What makes you a better designer? Let’s find out! With a career as creative as fashion designing, fashion designers are always on the go. So, your skills in this domain aren't only restricted to design but also beyond. To your rescue, we have put together five skills that every fashion designer must have. These essentials are more like a well-curated checklist to make sure you have what it takes. Here you go!
Source: Mika Korhonen on Unsplash 1. Illustration Skills
Your creativity plays a huge role when it comes to fashion designing. It not only helps you stand out from the rest of the designers but also creates a new identity for you and your brand. In simple words, your creativity speaks for your work. It reflects your taste, your ideas and most importantly, your ability to be able to express your creativity. Speaking of expression, one of the most important skills to learn and excel at is the skill of illustration.
Whether it’s on paper or digital, you need to buckle up and do what illustrators do best. As a fashion illustrator, you will be able to visualize and communicate your ideas through sketches and paintings as well as create digital versions of your sketches through various tools. So make sure, these skills are on point as they are the main mode of communication in fashion.
2. Communication Skills
No matter what career path you are on, there’s one skill that every individual needs to be better at. This is where communication skills come into play. As a fashion designer, whether you are a freelancer or running your own show, you need to be able to communicate fluently and accurately at every point of your career. Right from conveying your design requirements to the tailor to pitching yourself to a client/company.
Your ability to communicate with your team members, employees, clients, tailors and so on should be strong. One missing loop in the cycle and it can impact your final designs. So, your overall communication skills will not only help you with connecting with industry personalities and potential collaborators/clients at networking events, exhibitions, and events but also help you make contacts in all walks of life.
3. Colour Combination
A career in fashion calls for a clear and crisp understanding of the colours that you use in your designs and collection as a whole. For a beginner, it’s important to get the basics of the colour wheel right. There are three types of colours–primary, secondary and tertiary. But, here’s a simpler way to classify and understand the colour wheel–cool and warm colours. Green, blue and purple fall under cool colours whereas yellow, red and orange belong to the warm group.
Designers can always choose to saturate or desaturate based on the requirement. You can also create softer, lighter, darker and muted colours by using various tints, shades and tones to set the mood of the project right. Of course, a lot of factors are taken into consideration by the designer based on the trends, occasion, season, and more. But, to start with, a thorough study of the colour theory and psychology along with a visual eye for experimenting is the best way to learn and understand different colour combinations.
Source: Anna Sullivan on Unsplash 4. Design Thinking Skills
Most people perceive fashion designing as the most glamourous profession in the world. A lot of people even head into this direction solely for this reason. But, here’s passing on some wisdom. No job or no profession in this world is as easy as you think. Every work that you do demands hard work and perseverance. When it comes to fashion designing, a lot of thinking, conceptualization and planning goes behind every new design that you see.
In the design profession, you aren’t only required to be equipped with creativity, interest, and illustration skills. What you need here is a lot more than that; a concrete study of your audience, what purpose will your design serve them, and how you can optimize research and creativity fully. This skill also extends on to problem-solving and strategizing skills. All in all, this is an amalgamation of your passion, creative abilities, strategic thinking, and intuition.
Source: Sarah Shaffer on Unsplash
5. Accounting Skills
Knowing your financial numbers is one of the key pieces of information needed for you to run your business successfully. Most entrepreneurs juggle between different roles and thereby, spearhead designing, operations, logistics, sales and even marketing! But, what most independent fashion designers fail to keep track of or let alone work on is maintaining their books of accounts. Not knowing your numbers is equivalent to shooting in the dark.
If you, as a fashion designer, are unable to keep your receivables and payables updated, then you will not realize whether your business is making a profit or loss. Accounting skills are inexhaustible especially if you are a design entrepreneur and working on a shoestring budget. Fortunately, technology is a big saviour for fashion entrepreneurs. Some of the apps that you can use to save time on accounting are Zipbooks, SlickPie, Akaunting, Brego and so on. Fashion designing is one of the most creative professions in the history of mankind. It’s a medium of expressing creativity, art, emotions, ideas, thoughts, and any important message that you wish to convey through your designs. Fashion helps us in projecting our inner personalities in the best possible way. It enables you to create an image that you want to showcase and promote to the world. It, thereby, adds up largely to the cultural and socio-economic development of the world.
With fashion, you can not only start trends but also revolutionise the world by leading them. As they say, fashion is for everybody. As designers, we live and breathe fashion, don’t we? You may be the most creative designer in the world, but if you lack the five skills mentioned above, then you have a long way to go before you reach your career goals. As fashion entrepreneurs, it’s important we keep working on our skills and aim to get better at what we do, one day at a time.
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