What is Fashion Technology?
India which has always been a centre for the textile and garment trade is also growing into a centre of innovation in garment and accessory design. Fashion technology has a wide scope and is a good career to choose. Now the fashion industry has become so specialized that it encompasses a vast field of studies in design, concept management, design production management, quality control, planning, fabric design, printing, fashion accessory design, fashion merchandising, textile science, color mixing, marketing and so on, so much so that we no longer speak of just fashion design but of Fashion Technology.
The primary areas of work in the fashion industry are market research, designing and manufacturing of garments and textiles. Fashion design is the most important area of work in fashion industry. Designing involves creating original designs after studying the changing trends of the market i.e market research. It has various fields of specialization like apparel, footwear, jewelry and even luggage. It is a challenging field as it requires the coordination of various jobs.
In small concerns it is usually a one man show but in big organizations the jobs are specialized and allotted to different people.
Manufacturing involves purchasing textiles and fabrics required for the design and making the garment according to the master pattern. Manufacturing process requires employment of a large number of trained personnel.
How do I become a Fashion Designer?
Minimum eligibility for the Undergraduate course in this field is 10+2 with 50% marks and for Post Graduate courses graduation. In the prominent institutes, admission is strictly on merit-through written test, situation test, group discussion and interview. Some institutes may insist on Math at plus two level and this should be checked first.
2. Entrance Tests:
The most important entrance test to write for Fashion Technology is the NIFT Entrance Exam. This is usually held in the month of January/February. The other important entrance to write is NID NEED which qualifies you to apply to Wigan & Leigh College, New Delhi and Pearl Academy of Fashion (PAF), New Delhi. Other institutes that have their own entrance tests are: MITID Pune, IAM Gurgaon, IIFT Delhi, SOFT Pune, FDDI Noida, RafflesMullenium etc.
Caution: Design exams are held early when compared to other entrance exams and some last dates for application may be over in the month of November itself. If you are planning to write Design and Fashion Design Exams, please check the websites from the month of September.
Degrees & Diplomas:
The courses include Graduate, Post graduate, Certificate and Diplomas in various areas. The common degrees awarded are as follows:
- B.Sc. Fashion and Apparel Designing
- B.Sc. Fashion Design
- B.Sc. Fashion Designing (Hons)
- Bachelor of Design (B.Des.) Fashion Communication
- Bachelor of Fashion and Apparel Design (BFAD)
- Bachelor of Fashion Business Management
- Bachelor of Fashion Design
- Bachelor of Fashion Retail Management
Job Prospects & Career Options
A. FASHION DESIGNING
The candidates after successful completion of the course can find excellent placements in garment, leather and jewelry industry as merchandising executives, fashion designers, illustrators, fashion co-coordinators, etc. Export houses, textile mills, garment store chains, boutiques, leather companies, jewelry houses, fashion show organizers also look for such candidates.
1. Fashion designers develop new styles and products for clothing apparel and accessories by creating original designs or by adapting fashions to suit local conditions, trends and buyers. They are the ones who approve final samples before they go into production.
The designer begins the designing process only after thorough market research, i.e., understanding the needs of the client/market in terms of changing trends, budget etc. Accessory Designers specialize in designing shoes, bags, scarves, jewelry, ties, etc which complete the look of the garment.
2. Fashion coordinators arrange and supervise the marketing of fashion clothing for manufacturing houses, textile firms and retail stores. It is a highly competitive job involving a variety of functions. They advice on latest fashion trends, organize fashion shows, assist in advertising i.e. promoting sales and liaison with fabric dealers to ensure that the fabric, buttons and colors are of the correct shade, quality and design. Coordinates may be required to travel widely to get an idea of the fashion trends.
3. Illustrators draw free hand sketches of designer’s ideas. They not only need outstanding sketching skills but at the same time require excellent communication skills. The illustrator at times has to discuss with customers when new collection is introduced and this requires ability to interact. He/she is a much sought-after person by big garment houses and organizations.
4. Fashion Consultants must be aware of the trends and transitions in the fashion market along with knowledge about fashion designing. They are expected to offer ideas regularly on how to further develop a product to be readily absorbed in a market. He/she should be a sharp observer sensitive to changing trends.
5. Cutting Assistants have to cut samples according to specifications of the designer. A cutting assistant cuts samples, makes and alters patterns to see that the design visualized can be converted to a real dress.
6. Sketching Assistants make the technical sketches of the garments and makes drawings for presentation. It is from this specification sketches one decide how a garment has to be fabricated. The sketching assistants sometimes have to the select the fabric also.
7. The Fashion Stylist has to coordinate the entire wardrobe for a fashion show or program to promote the sales of the products. It involves coordinating the dress, accessories, make up, hairstyle, even the color of the nail polish of the model according to the theme and the overall look of the show. Sometimes a stylist is even involved in fabric selection. He/she has to be well versed in the trends and happenings in the industry and also have a keen sense of current fashion trends.
B. TEXTILE DESIGNING
The Textile Designer or Fabric Designer designs woven, knitted or printed fabrics for clothing and other home ware items like carpets, tableware etc. They treat the yarn through different types of processes to give it a particular finish. The textile designer also makes drawings of initial concepts and works with various yarns and fabrics taking into account the final use of the fabric by translating the designs into marketable fabrics. Textile designers work within and alongside industries such as fashion, interior design, and textiles. They may also work under professional designers or as freelance designers working with a client base. Colorists play a vital role in the textile-printers, artist team. They are involved in block printing or machine printing. They must keep a record of color samples and fabric pieces and have to work in a high paced environment, to meet deadlines. The colorist has to be very organized and must carefully follow precise instructions.
The other career options in textile designing are weavers, embroidery designers, dying & printing consultant, fabric analyzer, textile lab manager, fabric resource manager etc.
C. APPAREL MERCHANDISING
Fashion Merchandisers are mainly responsible for marketing. He/she has to study past and current sales data and analyze trends. They have to collect specifications from the buyers, coordinate with fashion designers and production team to develop a product which meets market requirement. They must have knowledge of fashion trends, textures, materials and colors on one hand and understanding of market demand and the production processes on the other. At the same time have analytical ability and communication skills.
They can find employment with garment industries, export houses, manufacturing firms etc.
Visual merchandising is a comparatively new career field which has sprung up with the growing popularity of window and floor displays. Visual merchandiser’s main area of work is to create impressive window displays. They can find employment with fashion boutiques, shopping malls, emporia etc. They are also engaged as shop floor managers.
They can also do freelancing on contract basis for window displays in exhibitions, fairs and other places.
Other career options under this head are production coordinator, quality control supervisor, fashion retailer, export manager etc.
D. FASHION JOURNALISM AND PRESENTATION
Fashion Journalist is an overall in-charge of a fashion magazine. It is through them that the general public gets to know the latest fashion trends. He/she should have excellent taste for fashion and keep themselves abreast with latest fashion news, consume reaction to new collections, fashion shows, current and future trends in color, design and fabric. Today fashion journalist has a bright scope for employment as there is a need for exclusive articles and programs with the development of fashion industry.
Fashion Photography is an extremely creative and well paid profession. Fashion photographer needs to have a keen eye for aesthetic detail, a thorough knowledge of cameras and the technicalities involved in taking pictures, of light, distance and perspective to be successful. He/she should be inventive and able to visualize and communicate his ideas, at the same time must be sensitive to the moods of the models and interact freely with them. Fashion photography is one of the choices that photographers can diversify into. They can do freelancing and find employment with fashion houses, designers, fashion journals and news papers.
Modeling If you have an attractive and outgoing personality and good communication skills, you can opt for modeling. Modeling is a highly paid job and is categorized into live modeling and photographic modeling. Live modeling is what we see in fashion shows, exhibitions where models display clothes and accessories for potential customers. Photographic or still modeling is taking photographs for Magazines, newspapers, catalogues and films for advertisements. One must take care to maintain their figure and looks, as modeling is a highly competitive field. Good looks, height, an attractive physique combined with self confidence and a trendy approach to life go a long way to make a model popular. In addition they should be highly photogenic. Patience and the ability to stand criticism are vital for survival and progress. Models can find employment with designers, in design houses, advertisement firms etc.
Fashion Stylist has to coordinate the entire wardrobe for a fashion show or program to promote the sales of the products. It involves coordinating the dress, accessories, make up, hairstyle, even the color of the nail polish of the model according to the theme and the overall look of the show. Sometimes a stylist is even involved in fabric selection. He/she has to be well versed in the trends and happenings in the industry and also have a keen sense of current fashion trends.
The best bet for a beginner is to get associated with an established designer or design house, and begin with doing the menial work. Most trainee designers get a stipend of around Rs. 4000, but what you can learn in terms of working knowledge is immense. Working as a part of a design team fetches around Rs.12,000 a month.