Did you think a career in fashion was restricted to designing only? It means much more Mayura Amarkant discovers.
For many the world of fashion is a glittering ramp with models flaunting stunning creations in four-inch heels and a fashion designer is an expert in garments and designing, putting together a line of clothing. However, a career in fashion means much more. “There is a lot of hard work, dedication, love, passion, sweat and money that goes into creating that final moment of success,” says Ajay Shrivastav, New York based fashion designer and founder of the GingerBlu brand of clothing.
The advent of ‘glocal’ synergies and globalisation has made the world smaller. Noted fashion designer Neeta Lulla says, “India is now the centre of attraction and designers from around the world are picking Indian fabrics. People here are also becoming fashion conscious. There has been an influx of several international brands putting Indian consumers on the global platform.”
In the entertainment segment, there is a dire need for costume designers, stylists, pattern makers who understand the pulse of the trade. Puneet Sharma, chairman of Balaji Creators, who regularly recruits trained fashion graduates for his advertising and production company, says, “A fashion designer is as important and responsible as the brand endorser for establishing a brand. Any branding exercise is incomplete without the involvement of a professional fashion designer.”
A brand endorser communicates the message and his/her look connects with the consumer. A fashion designer helps in styling the endorser to look the way a brand needs. For effective communication, the look of the endorser must compliment what the brand stands for.
The growing influence of mass media has made people aware of the opportunities in this field. “The fashion industry has always offered a variety of careers. With increased awareness however, many more careers have come to light,” shares Lulla. “Styling, merchandising, designing for TV soaps, image managers, colour and design forecasters are some of the careers.” says Usha Batra, consultant, PV Polytechnic, S.N.D.T. University. Business managers, production controllers and quality controllers are also in great demand.
Lulla says that every designer needs a trained support system that caters to either a designer or the industry at large. “Each season brings in new vocations and a student of fashion must keep his/her options open,” she adds. Shrivastav says, “There are many areas that one could get into.” CAD designer, textile designer, illustrator, personal shopper, buyer and window dresser are a few options. A student should remain focused on his/her interests and strengths.
In today’s fast-paced world, the industry has no time to train aspirants but has high expectations from them. Batra says, “The industry expects a candidate to possess creativity, exposure to fashion trends and knowledge of textiles, accessories, pattern making and fashion illustration.” This is why a formal training is important.
There are several good institutions where one can pursue a professional course in fashion. Batra says, “A fashion graduate may find a job with large retail brands, fashion designers, garment manufacturers, export firms, production houses, and fashion and lifestyle magazines. Needless to say that pursuing a course from a reputed institute fetches a better salary package.”
While hard work, commitment and passion are required for success in any field, fashion needs something more. “It is creativity to make, display and market a product that is saleable. A fashion graduate must understand the pulse of the market,” says Shrivastav. In Lulla’s view, one must not just relate to the glamour quotient but should be sound in technique and add value to the industry.
So how lucrative is a career in fashion? What a designer gets varies but it is usually 10 per cent of the cost of the project minus the celebrity cost. “A good designer gets paid much more,” says Sharma. Batra adds, “Today fashion aspirants are hired at relatively higher salaries and can climb the success ladder quite fast.” An expert could well be picked up by international organisations to make a product for the Indian market, signs off Lulla.
“The fashion scene today is better than ever before. The international trends are merging. We see styles that have a blend of two or more countries and culture, worn and loved by the customer. However, India has a long way to go in terms of operations, logistics, tools and organization of business.”- Ajay Srivastav
“In fashion awareness sections there are fashion magazines, where one can be a fashion editor, fashion stylist, fashion makeup artist or a fashion photographer, fashion writer. A student could be an entrepreneur, retail managers and product developer. The need for expertise is becoming really intense.” – Neeta Lulla