The fashion industry in India is plagued by myths, which can attract the wrong sort of people, or keep away true enthusiasts. There is far more to fashion than attractive models walking the ramp The fashion industry demands hard work, passion and tremendous grit. Many young fashion aficionados today, miss out on an early education in fashion because of their misconceptions about the business or a lack of awareness of the educational opportunities available. However, what many eager fashionistas do not know is that even if you miss the bus at the undergraduate level there are a host of post graduate program that you can pursue to help you break into the industry. These courses can give you a complete grounding in the business. Today, the PG courses available in fashion institutes in India, offer a holistic fashion education, rather than specialized education as is the case abroad.
The fashion scene today, is extremely promising, as Indian designers are making their mark globally. Increasing fashion consciousness brand awareness (lead by the retail invasion), higher disposable incomes and higher spend on clothing and life style products, ensure that the domestic market holds great promise as well. The economic melt down not withstanding, clothes are something that people will continue to wear.
The fashion industry works at different levels, and aspirants can look forward to working in other areas besides designing. The business of fashion is dependent on professionals from three main areas – design, production, and management.
A fashion designer stands at the center of the industry, and is responsible for coming up with apparel designs in three basic categories men’s wear women’s wear and children’s wear. These categories are further divided into specialized segments, related to occasions and places like casual wear, formal wear evening wear, sports wear, lounge wear, resort wear, beach wear or maternity wear, to name a few. The manner of production of apparel also classifies them as prêt (mass production, ready-to-wear fashion) and haute couture (customized garments for high society). There are also areas like inner wear, body wear, leg wear, accessories and home fashion, that today, form a part of the fashion world.
What skills must fashion designers come equipped with? Apart from obvious skills like a good sense of observation, sense of color, sketching and visualization, it will also help if one is able to present their work well, is good at articulation, management in terms of time, and is efficient at utilization of resources.
Production and management:
Fashion also involves production, which deals with technical knowledge like pattern making, draping, stitching etc.
The third segment of the industry is management, comprising merchandising, retailing or buying. A merchandiser is a link between the client and production, retailing involves working with stores of different formats, and buying houses are assigned entities, who, on behalf of a foreign or a domestic client, either make purchase for their stores, or give licenses to manufacture. They communicate the design requirements of their client and maintain their quality.
There are a host of auxiliary services that support the industry as well, and those fascinated by the fashion business can also consider becoming a fashion journalist or fashion consultant or can opt to teach fashion or involve themselves in an R&D agency, which studies trends and forecasts.
After completing your education in fashion, you can choose to become an entrepreneur and establish your own boutique, or start a label and supply your designs to retail chains/stores. You could also assist an established designer, work for an export house, a buying house, the crafts sector, or a publication.
Like with any other business, if you’re about to enter the fashion industry, it’s advisable to evaluate your priorities, to decide whether you want a high paying job or a job with high satisfaction. Freshers should look out for opportunities, where the experience gained by them will add to their knowledge reservoir, in terms of exposure to different areas of the industry, and should look at understanding the working cycles. It’s a good idea to start off working under someone and gain experience, as that is one of the most valuable assets here. The entry level salaries range from Rs 8000 to Rs 10,000 at the lower end, and Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 at the higher end, in different areas of the field.
The industry recruits freshers with the aim of infusing their firms with freshness, creativity and energy. Initiative, willingness to learn, enthusiasm, resourcefulness, and good networking abilities are qualities that will help you survive in the fashion business.