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What Do Fashion Designers Do?
The fashion industry has always been one of the most vibrant creative spaces in India. Today, it seems to encompass even more in its vibrancy as it takes into its folds, many aspects of lifestyle and living.
It wasn’t always so.
As a young young graduate in fashion, when I entered the industry, a lot of design interpretation took place on the sheets that the buyers would fax over. Many of us spent hours interpreting the briefs into actual garment prototypes and couriered them back for approval. But gradually the situation changed. Homegrown designers also began receiving recognition for their ability and competence.
As I spent more time in the industry and in my practice as a designer, I realized that the industry was thriving on multi and micro levels. I learnt that many hands join together to make anything that sells. There was much to do from ideation to research to execution, and my focus shifted to understanding the infinitesimal details that add up to the successful execution of any creative idea.
Who designs the texture and surface? Who travels the world to understand the pulse of the trade? Who makes sure that the sketch is translated effectively into merchandise? Who puts the look together? Can the designer work as a merchandiser as well? These are all questions that are at the core of the design discipline.
I found that the industry has space for all kinds of designers. There are designers who work on the process end-to-end. Then there are designers who only focus on the development of surfaces and textures. They work in tandem with the designers who conceptualize the form and the silhouette. Many designers I know find their passion in developing the sample and they have become specialists in putting prototypes together. The thrill of seeing the translation of ideas into an actual garment surpasses many experiences.
In a field where so much is invested in future predictions, the designer has to partake in the process of fashion forecasting too. A lot of designers work with forecasting agencies, travelling the world, understanding the futuristic trends that might influence the fashion. They try to understand the projections of such research. They work on concepts, themes, colours, and materials to embed fashion in its future implications.
Since design education emphasizes on aesthetics and presentation of the product, designers also make successful visual merchandisers and stylists. They are able to build a theme and a context to showcase the product in its setting. The scale of show windows, that goes beyond the garment and the body, is yet another exciting space for a designer.
Many fashion designers also discover a flair for writing, and they go along to find their calling in fashion journalism. To write and to visualize, to visualize and to write; is something that design students learn to do during their stint in college. The appreciation for the design process helps them get into the finer nuances of understanding the garment in the length and breadth of its environment.
While many students opt for higher studies and get opportunities to work with people at the grassroots level too, the choice of ‘what you want to specialize in’ always rests with the designer!
All I can tell you is, no matter which aspect of fashion designing gives you the most joy, you are sure to learn every aspect of the process in great detail at IIAD. One of the new-age fashion management and fashion design colleges, IIAD follows a studio-based approach that will ensure that you learn by doing so that you develop an appreciation of every nuance and every step that goes into creating that garment that you aspire to showcase on the runway one day!
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