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Fashion is an inherent part of human society and encompasses everything from how someone wears their hair to their clothes, accessories, footwear, and even their body language. Fashion has often been defined as a marker of culture in the society so much so that it has evolved as a mirror to the geography, time, and space of its origin.
With time, the field of fashion has evolved. Currently, it has become a huge industry, finding its relevance in becoming a medium of expression for individuals and has been widely commodified, leading to various successful business ventures in the world. Consequently, the field has unfolded into various branches such as fashion designing, fashion communication, histories, illustration and others. Hence, it is pertinent for a fashion prodigy to understand the key differences among these branches before advancing into the field.
The domain of fashion begins with fashion design. It refers to the art of creating new ideas or concepts regarding clothes often termed apparel in the fashion world, keeping in view the contemporary trends in the industry. A fashion designer is expected to understand the ongoing vogue and present their interpretation through clothes. Designing also includes the stylisation of garments with suitable accessories such as rings, neckpieces, bracelets or headwear and creating outfits that align with the demands of the customers. Fashion designing is an important
process as it has a direct impact on people’s lifestyle.
The material, patterns, colours, or shapes of the outfit are highly variable by the kind of occasion that the outfit is designed for. Although one does not require to own a degree to succeed as a fashion designer, one often spends a considerable amount of time studying the histories and evolving clothing patterns of a population to channel their inner creative potential into functional as well as aesthetically pleasing outfits. As an art, designers usually developed sketches or drawings closely bound to the culture they represented. However, virtual sketches have been gaining more acceptance with time.
The art of designing is majorly categorised into three categories namely Haute Couture, Ready-to-Wear (pret-a-porter), and Mass Market.
Fashion Communication is another essential domain of the field which refers to the process of conveying fashion and lifestyle trends to a suitable audience through the means of advertisement, graphic designing, visual representations, runways, merchandising and branding, print media and others. It is an industry that survives on the collaborative effort of teams and individuals working toward various tasks to achieve a single goal.
No art can survive and expand itself in isolation, especially in a country like India where even though the concepts of fashion have been practised for centuries, the drive to commodify it by bringing it to the mainstream is relatively new. Therefore, a domain like fashion communication plays a prominent role in communicating and advertising the ideas and concepts of an artist appropriately. They generate a need in consumers to buy these high-end products to promote their associated business models.
This domain of the field majorly operates on the fashion psychology of the creator and the consumer. Given that we are currently living in a space-time continuum where the presence and thereby, the influence exerted by social media is almost overwhelming; it is understandable that journalism and promotion are crucial factors in building an image for the brand. Fashion is a highly subjective entity which complicates the creative process that aligns with a large population. Creation is a designer’s perspective of the world and it is a communicator’s responsibility to strategise their product in a manner that speaks to the mass public.
The two branches of the fashion field are interlinked and yet quite different. The main difference between the two fields lies in the career paths that they lead to. While careers in fashion design require one to be creative and visionary to design and develop extraordinary outfits, a career in fashion communication would largely require business acumen and communication skills along with high-end knowledge of fashion trends. As an aspiring fashion designer, one is likely to ask how ‘big’ the fashion industry in India is. It is to be noted that the word ‘big’ is too generic and encompasses various parameters of the industry such as market size, the scale of operations, the number of people employed and many more.
Fashion design enables an individual to experiment with elements like form, colours, fabric, and patterns as a materialised form of self-expression. It requires one to innovate through clothes and accessories.
On the other hand, a career in fashion communication is contingent on the individual’s ability to communicate the perspective of the designer and the product as well. It requires one to possess the technical knowledge to promote the designs by fashion designers through blogs, films, events, and magazines. A course in fashion communication only enables an individual to gain communication skills pertaining to lifestyle and the fashion industry while preparing them for a career in multimedia houses.
However, a large number of fashion communicators are previous fashion designers since the knowledge of the trends and fashion world furnishes them with the advantage of promoting the selected brands at selective timings and strategising their policies better.
Design is a creative process and the following are a few careers in this domain:
With the bombardment of brands and their products, the communicator needs to carve out a balanced and unique image for their product to create a niche audience. Following are a few of the career choices that can be explored in the fashion communication domain:
In conclusion, fashion design and communication are two tyres of a vehicle that form a collaborative ecosystem to continue their relevance in the fast pacing twenty-first century. Even though they both require beforehand knowledge regarding fashion as an art and cultural practice, one needs certain different skills to survive and succeed in the two fields.
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