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Fashion design is the art of the application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories.
Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social latitudes, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work
in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories. Some work alone or as part of a team. They attempt to satisfy
consumer desire for aesthetically designed clothing; and, because of the time required to bring a garment onto the
market, must at times anticipate changing consumer tastes.
Fashion today is a global industry, and most major countries have a fashion industry. Some countries are major
manufacturing centers, notably Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Bangladesh, South Korea, Spain, Germany, Brazil
and India. Five countries have established an international reputation in fashion: France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the
United States, and Japan. Lately, there have been great designers coming from Turkey and Spain as well. Pakistan and
Romania are also known for having very talented fashion designers.
Fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They must consider
who is likely to wear a garment and the situations in which it will be worn. They have a wide range and combinations of
materials to work with and a wide range of colors, patterns and styles to choose from. Though most clothing worn for
everyday wear falls within a narrow range of conventional styles, unusual garments are usually sought for special
occasions, such as evening wear or party dresses.
Some clothes are made specifically for an individual, as in the case of haute couture or bespoke tailoring. Today, most
clothing is designed for the mass market, especially casual and every-day wear.
Fashion designers can work in a number of many ways. Fashion designers may work full-time for one fashion as ‘in-house
designers’ which owns the designs. They may work alone or as part of a team. Freelance designers work for themselves,
 selling their designs to fashion houses, directly to shops, or to clothing manufacturers. The garments bear the
buyer’s label. Some fashion designers set up their own labels, under which their designs are marketed. Some fashion
designers are self-employed and design for individual clients. Other high-fashion designers cater to specialty stores or
high-fashion department stores. These designers create original garments, as well as those that follow established
fashion trends. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers, creating designs of men’s, women’s, and
children’s fashions for the mass market. Large designer brands which have a ‘name’ as their brand such as Abercrombie &
Fitch, Justice, or Juicy are likely to be designed by a team of individual designers under the direction of a designer
Designing a garment
Fashion designers work in different ways. Some sketch their ideas on paper, while others drape fabric on a dress form.
When a designer is completely satisfied with the fit of the toile (or muslin), he or she will consult a professional
pattern maker who then makes the finished, working version of the pattern out of card or via a computerized system. The
pattern maker’s job is very precise and painstaking. The fit of the finished garment depends on their accuracy. Finally,
a sample garment is made up and tested on a model to make sure it is an operational outfit. Myriam Chalek, owner and
founder of Creative Business House explains that most of the time fashion designers only have a fashion concept; the
technicality and construction is not thought through during the visual conception and sketching process. Hence, the
fashion designer needs to meet with a pattern maker and sample maker to figure out if the sketch on paper can be brought
to life according its vision.
Types of fashion
The garments produced by clothing manufacturers fall into three main categories, although these may be split up into
additional, more specific categories:
Main article: Haute couture
Until the 1950s, fashion clothing was predominately designed and manufactured on a made-to-measure or haute couture basis
(French for high-sewing), with each garment being created for a specific client. A couture garment is made to order for
an individual customer, and is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric, sewn with extreme attention to detail
and finish, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Look and fit take priority over the cost of materials
and the time it takes to make.
Main article: Ready-to-wear
Ready-to-wear clothes are a cross between haute couture and mass market. They are not made for individual customers, but
great care is taken in the choice and cut of the fabric. Clothes are made in small quantities to guarantee exclusivity,
so they are rather expensive. Ready-to-wear collections are usually presented by fashion houses each season during
a period known as Fashion Week. This takes place on a city-wide basis and occurs twice a year. The main seasons of
Fashion Week include, spring/summer, fall/winter, resort, swim and bridal.
Main article: Mass market
Currently the fashion industry relies more on mass market sales. The mass market caters for a wide range of customers,
producing ready-to-wear garments using trends set by the famous names in fashion. They often wait around a season to make
sure a style is going to catch on before producing their own versions of the original look. In order to save money and
time, they use cheaper fabrics and simpler production techniques which can easily be done by machine. The end product can
therefore be sold much more cheaply.
There is a type of design called “kutch” design originated from the German word “kitschig” meaning “ugly” or “not
aesthetically pleasing.” Kitsch can also refer to “wearing or displaying something that is therefore no longer in
fashion.” Often, high-waisted trousers, associated with the 1980s, are considered a “kitsch” fashion statement.
Fashion design is the applied art devoted to the designing of clothing and lifestyle accessories. This art is influenced
by cultural and social attitudes and has evolved over time and place. Fashion designing has come a long way from the
designer clothes worn by the royalty of the ancient world to the haute couture products of the present.
Fashion designing is one of the most lucrative, appealing, glamorous and exciting career options in today’s world. If you
have a penchant for creativity, style and originality, a career in fashion designing is the one tailor made for you. On
one hand, the fashion industry satisfies both the creative fancies and the materialistic needs of the people. On the
other hand, it promises glamour, fame, success and a high pay package to the talented people.
However, it is also a demanding career, as fashion designers need to combine their creativity with managerial skills to
sustain in this industry. Thus, if you can create magic with colours, shapes and designs, then just obtain a professional
course to begin a successful career in the alluring world of fashion designing.
To start a career as a fashion designer, two types of qualifications are required, that is, natural and acquired.
• Natural: this skill set would comprise of a decent aesthetic sense, colour expertise, good taste and sense of trends
and fashion. An eye for detail, knowledge of fabrics and so on is a big plus for those serious about a career as a
• Acquired skills would be a qualification from a decent, recognized fashion Institute. You can enrol for either a full-
time course or a part time certificate course. Students usually take these up after their 10+2 level. Not that the
courses are not available for graduates or people with higher qualification. There are several short-term certificate
courses that are offered by the same fashion institutes for super specialization, on part-time basis. These courses equip
you with technical and creative thinking skills.
The word ‘fashion’ immediately conjures up images of glitz and glamour. The onset of the International fashion market in
India has given an impetus to the fashion industry which has emerged as the booming industry and a career as a fashion
designer is like a pot of gold. So, many young people who are attracted by these attributes decide to foray into the
While the academic requirements are not very high, you need considerable aptitude and talent to be labelled “designer”
material. You must be highly creative to combine colours, shades and textures and express your ideas through sketches.
Your race for admission into a reputed fashion school will begin straight after school. Subjects like drawing, painting,
home science and computer graphics will develop your creativity.
By the time you finish the course you will have mastered the step-by-step making of a garment: from designing to pattern
making, production and even marketing.
Is it the right career for me?
A career in fashion designing is right for you if you are talented and exude style in everything you do. You must also
possess the ability be original and creative and love to make people look good.
Further, you must be creative enough to combine colours, shades and textures and express your ideas through sketches. You
must also visualise new design, patters, garments and accessories and enjoy working with fabrics and accessories.
If you have all this and more in you then you are all, set to step into the arena of fashion designing.
What would it Cost Me?
The fee structure varies from institution to institution. However, on an average you will have to dish out more than Rs.
45,000 per annum to complete a course in Fashion Designing from a reputed institution.
Some fashion academies extend merit based scholarships. These scholarships usually waive off payment of tuition fee only.
These waivers continue in the subsequent year(s) on the condition that the awardees academic performance meets the
prescribed standards of achievement.
The criterion of these scholarship programmes is based on the annual income of the eligible student’s parental annual
income. There are a few scholarships sponsored by reputed companies for meritorious and financially deserving students.
Scholarship awardees also get educational loan facility to cover other payable fee and expenses.
In India, the fashion industry has just begun to come of age, as it is still in its fledgling stage. This industry offers
plenty of opportunities for talented hard working and enthusiastic people. Prospects for fashion design graduates are
pretty good thanks to the huge and still growing demand for “designer wear” and the equally outsized quantity of exports.
After successful completion of the course, you can remain self employed. Alternatively, several export houses, garment
store chains, textile mills, leather companies, boutiques, fashion show organizers, jewellery houses and media houses
recruit professionals interested in a career in fashion designing.
The Starting monthly package can be around Rs.10, 000 to Rs.15, 000. With experience, you will acquire maturity in
designing skills and a few years down the line your salary would be in the range of Rs.30, 000 to Rs.40, 000 per month.
Of course, if you become a reputed designer you could demand the world.
Great fashion designers salary always shows an upward moving trend. However, hard work and a conscious effort to update
the latest trends in the fashion industry are imperative.
Demand and Supply
Economically India is progressing rapidly today with even better future prospects. Therefore, the country is today
witnessing rapid growth in many sectors which includes the fashion industry.
Indian fashion is gaining a lot of popularity abroad because of cheap labour and excellent craftsmanship. Many top Indian
designers are now catering to this growing international demand for quality fashion products and accessories. In
addition, for the demand for Indian garments, designer saris and textiles are also of great demand.
Many individuals choose careers in fashion designing today as there are many areas of work and countless opportunities
within this field.
The scope for fashion design jobs in India is immense as Indians have increasingly become more fashion conscious and seek
to enhance it in every way. Clothing companies need to hire people in a variety of jobs, ranging from fashion designers,
textile designers, models, retailers, buyers and merchandisers, to provide end-to-end solutions to their clients.
According to a recent study, the India’s fashion designing industry aims to grow to Rs.1, 000 crores from the current to
Rs.180 crores within the next 5 to 10 years.
Better prospectus both in terms of salary and growth of fashion design jobs is enormous and extends beyond India’s
markets to international markets too. Indian fashion designers are doing very well in almost all countries and hence the
scope has broadened for students of fashion designing.
Fashion designers such as Ritu Beri, Ritu Kumar, Rohit Bal, Satya Paul and Tarun Tahiliani are known worldwide. Many
Institutions provide training to potential fashion designers to expand their talent and become entrepreneurs in the
fashion world. The India Fashion Week has become an international fashion event, with buyers from international stores
making an appearance to transact business.
With more and more Indians dressing up and focused on looking good, there is an increasing awareness about fashion in
India. The Indian fashion industry is booming. The domestic Indian Textile market is worth $25 billion today and growing
at an annual rate of 15-20%.
Mega Malls are mushrooming all over. The Retail sector is witnessing a virtual explosion with the Ambanis, Mittals,
Birlas and now, the Tatas making a foray in this sector. The fashion market will require thousands of trained
professionals in the fields of design, management, communication and technology.
• The scope of fashion design is such that it’s cut out for success.
• There are some glamorous aspects to this business, you may get to rub shoulders with the rich and famous, but reaching
there is absolute hard work.
• Fashion designers need a lot of experience and hence they have to work as assistant for any reputed fashion design firm
in the initial phase.
• You might want to set up your own studio but you will need a lot of money or have to find investors who are ready to
invest in your studio.
• Unless you have some hands on experience, it is hard to get investors.
Different roles, different names
As a professional fashion designer, you can work in areas like designer wear production, fashion marketing, planning and
concept management. Then there is fashion media, design production management, fashion accessory design, quality control
and promotion of brands.
You can also work as a designated costume designer, fashion consultant, personal stylist, technical designer, graphic
designer, production pattern maker or a fashion coordinator.
Other roles include: apparel production manager, fabric buyer, fabric quality control manager, show room sales
representative, illustrator, cutting assistant and outside sales representative. Those interested in a career in fashion
designing can also become entrepreneurs and form their own companies.
1. Fashion houses run by top fashion designers such as: Abu Jani, JJ Valaya, Manish Malhotra, Neeta Lulla, Rina Dhaka,
Ritu Beri, Ritu Kumar, Rohit Bal, Sandeep Khosla, Tarun Tahiliani and so on.
2. Top notch garment and textile export houses
3. Textile and fabric manufacturing units
4. Exclusive and branded fashion showrooms
Tips for getting Hired
1. Make a great portfolio that showcases your creative talents
2. Apprenticeship under a well-known designer is desirable for getting hired in this industry
3. Thoroughly research the market before making a foray into it
4. Do freelancing for fashion houses and boutiques
5. Be creative, exclusive and innovative
6. Don’t be impulsive and impatient
7. Don’t get disheartened by rejections, understand your drawbacks and work on it
8. Start affordable and once you have proved yourself, you can go for the stars