Fashion designers are the creative minds behind garments worn by models who walk the fashion runways, celebrities posing at award functions and public figures making an appearance at social events. Apart from the design team, fashion designers also work closely with fashion forecasters and marketing professionals to begin working on designs at least two seasons ahead. Fashion is a dynamic field and therefore, as fashion designers you need to constantly come up with innovative designs to be on top of your game. Immense amount of teamwork goes into taking a collection from the concept phase to the rack. As a fashion designer you would be conceptualising innovative clothing lines, creating mood, shape and trend boards and sketching detailed drawings. More often than not, you would also be coordinating with various vendors to source the fabric and other embellishments required for completion of the final garment.
To increase your employability, you must be well versed in concept development, pattern making, sewing, fabric science, material culture, colour palettes, market trends, garment manufacturing technology and costing. Much like its creative counterpart industries, there are no defined time periods for progression in this profession as the pace is entirely dependent on your body of work, skill-set and above all passion for the field.
Fashion merchandising is an exciting career to pursue and has immense potential for growth in the years to come. As a fashion merchandiser you will be involved in analysing sales and tracking production costs. You will be formulating sales and marketing strategies based on the past sales analysis, fashion trends and consumer purchase trends. Fashion merchandising involves managing design teams and coordinating between the sales and production teams to ensure the business functions smoothly. With your understanding of the prevailing and upcoming fashion trends, you would also be able to determine the appropriate inventory to be maintained for the store. Fashion merchandisers work closely with visual merchandisers to plan and implement the store layout and display. In fact, they are also involved in developing marketing and advertising campaigns to attract customers and excite them into purchasing the products.
This field demands a comprehensive understanding of fashion with a business bent of mind. In order to catch the pulse of the merchandising world, you will have to gain considerable experience in sales, marketing and retail. Absorb every angle of the business and develop good professional relationships be it with the buyers, factories or the licensees. A good knowledge of fashion forecasts, analytical skills and interpersonal skills are some of the attributes you will need to stay ahead of the fashion curve. A perfect blend of fashion sense and business expertise along with an understanding of the apparel industry will help you sail through this profession.
With consumerism being the order of the day, there is a growing need for businesses to understand the customer’s psyche and gauge their buying behaviour. A buyer is someone who helps a brand accomplish this task and thereby helps drive the sales and profit through fashion expertise, market insights and in-depth analysis. Based on this analysis and the concept or a particular theme for the designer’s collection, the buyers source the actual fabric, garments, accessories and other merchandise that may be required. Buyers play a pivotal role in a brand’s growth as they undertake development and execution of new strategies for brand acquisitions, identify opportunities for growth with existing partners and regularly review the brand’s performance in respective categories/segments. Therefore, as a buyer you would be drawing insights from detailed sales reports, market trends, competitor activity and, formulating strategies based on these insights. You would also be collaborating with designers, merchandisers and store sales representatives to understand consumer buying behaviour and assess the garments to be placed on the rack. Developing and maintaining strong relationships with suppliers and key stakeholders in the industry will be one of your core responsibilities towards paving the brand’s growth in the industry. Attending and representing the brand at key appointments, trade fairs and other events will help you develop your network and build new professional associations. The seasonal delivery forecast reports compiled by you would help the marketing and commercial teams to take necessary actions towards maximising the season’s results.
Apart from good analytical skills, creativity and enthusiasm, a buyer must possess sound judgement and be decisive while making buying decisions. When you begin your career as a buyer, you would be associated with seniors in the field in purchasing clothing and accessories for the fashion brand or store. With retail experience and familiarity with the fashion industry you would certainly gain experience that will help you scale the professional ladder.
If you are passionate about fashion, conversant with technology and possess an artistic bent of mind, then being a fashion illustrator could be the perfect career option for you! Fashion illustration is an energetic and creative field wherein the artist expresses an idea or a concept through an illustration, a drawing or a painting. As a fashion illustrator, you could either be working for a fashion designer or for a client interested in showcasing fashion and/or related products. You would either be tasked with creating basic drawings/sketches of the clothes made by designers or could even be assigned a project wherein your eye-catching illustrations would be turned into prints or composed into books as pieces of art.
A skilled fashion illustrator is an artist with a good understanding of life drawing or the human form, folds and drapery, texture and textile types and last but definitely not the least, fashion. Armed with a sound understanding of fashion and digital illustration tools like Illustrator and Photoshop, you will be ready to take on the fashion illustration world! Fashion illustrators use a mix of realistic representations and abstract sketches to translate the client’s design concept artistically on paper and trigger the viewer’s interest into buying a particular clothing line or accessory or product. To prove your worth in this fast-paced industry it is essential that you build a strong digital portfolio and be willing to freelance or intern with various organisations.
Being a Fashion Stylist is no cakewalk! This profile demands immense amount of planning, persistence and networking skills. As a fashion stylist you will be tasked with creating a ‘perfect look’ for the client by choosing the right outfit that is in tune with the current trends and compliments their personality. Fashion styling as a career prospect is rather exciting and you will have many options to branch out into for e.g. editorial styling (styling for fashion photo shoots), celebrity styling or even brand consultancy. Fashion stylist travel extensively and study the global fashion capitals to spot and predict the various fashion trends. They research fabrics, accessories, design and body types and help assemble the perfect look for their client. In case of editorial styling, your major task would be to interpret the editor’s photo shoot description and weave a fashion story around it is. Style is subjective, therefore working with a senior stylist will give you practical experience and help you learn the trade better. One thing you must bear in mind as an aspiring fashion stylist is to be able to differentiate between your personal style and the customer’s style. Know your customer well and always be open to suggestions.
To get a foothold in the industry, you can begin working with an established fashion stylist. This will definitely help you build contacts with various showrooms, photographers and editors. You can either choose to work with established brands, public figures or chart your own course as a freelancer.
If you love following the latest trends in fashion and love writing about them, then fashion journalism could be right up your alley! This career demands expert fashion knowledge, writing, editing and publishing skills. There are an array of options to choose from in fashion journalism : fashion writer, fashion editor, fashion critic and fashion blogger.
As a Fashion Writer, you would be required to write fashion features for print publications (newspapers, magazines), online publications (blogs) and media (advertisements, TV).
Being a Fashion Editor you would be working with various fashion publication houses and overseeing the creation, development and presentation of the content that goes out in print or online media.
Fashion blogging has emerged as an up-and-coming field within fashion journalism. If you enjoy indulging in the latest trends of the fashion industry and yearn to share your thoughts on it with the world, being a professional Fashion Blogger could be the perfect career choice for you!
Yet another upcoming avenue within the realm of fashion journalism is that of a Fashion Critic who is usually involved in reviewing, assessing and communicating an opinion on current designs and fashion trends.
Irrespective of the vertical you wish to pursue within fashion journalism, there are some aspects that are typical to each of them. For instance, you would have to do a lot of research, conduct interviews, attend fashion shows, trade shows and photo shoots, spot the latest fashion trends, read industry reports that analyse trends and learn about celebrities and popular culture fashion. You will have a plethora of social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the like available to creatively express yourself. Gathering knowledge about the various historical fashion periods and also the process of clothing would definitely widen your perspective on fashion and help you intellectually analyse the craft. In addition, you would be coordinating with designers, advertisers and editors, pitching self-authored articles to publishing houses and staying abreast of trending designs, patterns, designer labels, textiles and accessories. The only way to establish your credibility in this competitive field is to work your way up and develop your individual writing style.
Fashion photographers are skilled professionals who translate the designer’s artistic vision for their apparel and accessories into memorable and aesthetically appealing photographs. Depending upon the nature and scale of the project, you would be collaborating with a range of fashion professionals like designers, models, hairstylists, makeup artists, lighting experts and fashion stylists amongst others. This certainly calls for strong interpersonal skills to help you communicate better with each of the above mentioned personnel. The technicalities of photography can be learnt in a formal setup (like college) but, the practical skills can be honed only by gaining maximum possible exposure and experience in the field. A sound understanding of technical elements of photography like lighting, composition, sharpness and an awareness of fashion and photographic trends would help you get your foot in the door. To be able to carve your own niche as an established photographer in the field of fashion, you will need to develop a strong body of work and establish contacts with key people in the industry. Fashion photography does not end with taking good pictures, rather extends to the stage where the digital images are edited with the help of sophisticated software to meet the client’s brief and requirements. If you posses the right set of skills, you can certainly chart your course in the fashion industry as a fashion photographer and scale up the professional ladder with experience.
Fashion Publicist (Promotion and PR)
If you are a people person, love fashion and can multi-task, then being a fashion publicist could be your calling! The role of a fashion publicist is of integral importance in the field of fashion as it is the publicist who is entrusted with promoting the brand and its USPs. And, in order to do this you must have exceptional networking skills and be adept at establishing strong professional relations with key stakeholders in the industry. Being the public relations representative of your client, it will be your task to get the word out about your client in creative and attention-grabbing ways, ideate and execute promotional events to garner positive media coverage and effectively liaison between the client and media. You would also be creating press releases and keeping a database of the client’s images to be used in media kits/press releases, working with editors, designers, customers, retail stores and fashion houses. Averting crisis situations, reputation management and consistently steering the client’s image in the positive direction would feature as one of the key aspects of your publicist profile.
The success of a fashion publicist is gauged by the client’s success. To make the cut in this highly competitive and exhilarating field, you must be persistent, detail oriented, business oriented, reliable and exhibit strong interpersonal skills to maintain your client’s public image. With companies growing conscious of their public image, pursuing a career in fashion PR seems like an extremely lucrative option.
Costumes lend meaning to a character in the story and enhance the overall performance. This is where the need arises for highly skilled and creative costume designers. With larger than life scripts being conceived, costume designers are much in demand to conceptualise and create costumes that take characterisation to another level. Your job as a costume designer would include researching the dominant style of the time period as per the script’s demand and developing a collection of costume sketches with appropriate visualising references for the director’s approval and validation. During the process, you would be consulting and collaborating with other creative professionals like the director, script writer, set designer, lighting designer, art director, make-up artists and hairstylists. While designing the costumes, it would be prudent to create durable and washable costumes that are easy to slip in and out of. To ensure the costumes fit the character well and complement the set design, costume designers also attend fitting sessions and dress rehearsals.
A costume designer has extensive knowledge of fashion, history, art and design combined with a keen interest in historical costuming. A good grasp over patternmaking, draping, textiles and drafting will help you set foot in the industry. Owing to the collaborative nature of the field, a costume designer needs to sit with the set or production designer and understand the technicalities of the set that will help in designing the costumes that complement the overall theme of a scene. Explore how technology can affect the research process, presentation of sketches and fabrics to be used for the costumes and you will be surprised to know the extent to which it can boost your creativity.
Businesses need to constantly be on top of their game and devise robust strategies to maximise their merchandise sales and profit. This need has given rise to a field of experts who can help businesses navigate these marketing and retail terrains, that maybe absolutely new for some. Fashion consultants are such experts who offer professional fashion advice to clients such as retail clothing stores, big brands, consulting firms, celebrities or even public figures. Therefore, as a fashion consultant it is pertinent that you develop a strong individual sense of style and translate the same while promoting and pitching yourself to a client. The reputation and image you create for yourself in the industry will be of prime importance as this field demands excellent networking skills that can be built by word-of-mouth referrals. As a fashion consultant you can style clothes for magazines, catalogues and television shows or even help launch brands. Being a fashion consultant, you would help curate a specific brand image for your client and it calls for a good understanding of retail brands, styles and fits. You must always keep yourself abreast with the latest trends in the world of fashion and find innovative solutions to the problems faced by your client.
Owing to the global and dynamic nature of fashion, production managers play a pivotal role in the smooth operation of the entire production process and supply chain. In the fashion industry, a product manager is one of the key professionals involved in the development process of a fashion product. For a fashion house to run a profitable business, the production, outsourcing, quality control, pricing and delivery lead time need to work in tandem, and this comes under the purview of the production manager. This profile is key to establishing efficient production processes that result in an innovative and highly marketable fashion collection; one that perfectly reflects the fashion trends and consumer demands in the existing market.
While pursuing an undergraduate programme in fashion design, you gain knowledge about garment construction, marketing strategies and production that would help you bridge the gap between the creative and productive functions of fashion. Good interpersonal skills will help you maintain a good rapport with designers, pattern-makers, merchandise suppliers and various other members of the design team. With your core skill-set in place, you can see yourself working with fashion houses, manufacturers, renowned fashion designers and big brands too.
In simple terms, the term ‘drape’ implies the way a fabric or garment hangs or flows. Draping is an integral part of the fashion design process that involves transforming two-dimensional patterns (flat pattern making) into three-dimensional models that can then be used for making finished garments. It is done by positioning and pinning fabric onto a dress form and developing a desired structure of the garment. This technique serves as an ideal way to realise a designer’s ideas and create new silhouettes particularly in case of one-of-a-kind and haute couture segments. Draping the garment helps the designer visualise the fabric flow, drapes and body fit, thereby, facilitating necessary alterations to the design with ease. This is a highly skilled profession and requires a sound understanding of design concepts, pattern-making and sewing.
Draping has become an indispensable aspect of haute couture (high fashion) and bespoke fashion, where one of a kind pieces of clothing are created. In such garments, draping adds the necessary allure and gives the wearer a custom fit and the right fall to the outfit. For this reason drapers are amongst the most highly paid professionals in the Italian haute couture fashion segment. This profile offers immense potential for creativity and freedom to experiment with fabrics, darts, tucks and various other design elements. As a draper, you could seek employment in a fashion house or a costume design team for film/TV/theatre.
Pattern making is a highly technical field that involves converting flat fabrics (2 Dimension) into patterns that are then joined together to form a complete garment (3 Dimension). It requires the patternmaker to brainstorm with the designer on how best to develop accurate patterns and develop gradings of the same to suit different sized garments. As a patternmaker, you would be creating a blueprint/master design to be laid out on the fabric as well as samples for each size with clear markings, fabric and sewing specifications. While working on developing a specific pattern, you would be working in tandem with the design team and ensuring the collection hits the stores on time. you need to determine a layout that would help minimise fabric wastage to the best possible extent.
You can widen your scope of employability by honing your skills in fabric knowledge, sewing, drafting and apparel construction. Apart from these skills, proficiency in math and familiarity with the human anatomy will go a long way in simplifying your on-the-job tasks. For those of you keen on pursuing pattern making as a career, you can seek employment with a fashion house or a renowned fashion designer.
Fashion forecasters are creative professionals who predict what’s ‘on trend’ in the upcoming season. The prediction includes fabrics, colours, accessories, prints, graphics, styles and everything else that influences fashion. Apart from determining the future fashion trends, fashion forecasters are also involved in making detailed reports on their fashion projections and consumer trends. The prelude to forecasting fashion trends includes understanding the history of fashion and trends, scanning the mainstream market, spotting key trends across streets, stores, runway and trade shows and surveying myriad fashion publications and collections too. Predicting trends can span across haute couture, ready-to-wear and high street fashion segments.
Trend forecasting is a valuable asset for any business to enhance its brand image. Anticipating fashion trends and consumer demand for a particular fabric, pattern, colour or silhouette helps designers innovate and create progressive designs. Fashion forecasts helps a design team base their decisions on sound fashion knowledge and actionable forecasts. Armed with the right skills, you can certainly get your foot in the door as a novice in the field and begin working for forecasting agencies in the country that are always on the look-out for skilled professionals like yourself.
With recent developments in exhibition design over the years, the role of a Fashion Curator has gained more prominence than ever. A Fashion Curator is someone who is entrusted with the task of assembling, cataloguing and displaying contemporary fashion in museums, public galleries or live exhibitions related to fashion. Fashion curators possess an in-depth knowledge of the history of fashion as well as the fashion landscape in contemporary society. This job is highly research oriented and calls for extensive primary research, secondary research, as well as quantitative, qualitative and visual research methods.
Curators also spend a fair majority of their time in analysing, evaluating and interpreting the various research findings. Developing a sound understanding of fashion and using that to identify and collect items for public display with a heightened sensitivity to context is one of the most integral aspects of being a fashion curator. Owing to the creative nature of the fashion industry, you will need to constantly innovate and engage in processes that help develop your professional negotiation and networking skills.
Being a curator you could choose to partner with designers, retailers or even freelance as a consultant, archivist and curator. Gaining experience as a curator will give you ample fodder to work your way up as an influential force in the fashion space.
Stunning window displays and aesthetically designed store layouts have become an integral aspect of the marketing efforts of businesses across the world and fashion is no stranger to this practice. These are creative marketing strategies to lure customers into the showroom and tempt them into splurging their money on the displayed merchandise. You can choose to venture into either of the two verticals of visual merchandising - in-store design or window display design.
Visual merchandising has certainly carved its niche as an indispensable marketing tool in the fashion industry and the impact reflects directly upon the sales and profitability figures of the brand. As a visual merchandiser, you will be tasked with augmenting and enhancing the overall look and feel of the store by making use of lights, props, colours and graphics to visually display the collection/clothing line. Apart from a distinct individual sense of style, visual merchandisers also possess strong technical skills, interpersonal skills and an eye for detail. There is immense scope of employment for skilled professionals as visual merchandising is integral to Fashion Retailers, Department Stores, Malls, Museums, Galleries, Airports, Hotels and even Internet Shopping Portals.