Chiranjeet Rege, CEO, SILICA has been with the organisation for 10 years in an entrepreneurial role. Before joining SILICA, he was Audit Manager with Deloitte LLP London for three years. Prior to that, he worked for three years as Audit Executive with KPMG Mumbai and KPMG London. His goals are: To deliver exceptional quality education and guidance to SILICA students. To build a team, systems and technology which will consistently deliver our promise of exceptional quality.
“Fashion” has emerged as a popular and rewarding career field in 21st Century India. Fashion careers are meant for those who are creative, keep abreast with fashion trends, have a sense of aesthetics, love to sketch and design innovative things. Fashion is very personal and affects each one of us, right from what clothes we wear, to what shoes we put on, to what accessories we add, to our home furnishings. India with its 1.4 billion population and burgeoning middle class has become a hub for fashion industry, trends and retail.
Careers in Fashion can be broadly split into 5 areas- 1. Apparel Design & Styling, 2. Textile Design, 3. Accessory & Products Design, 4. Fashion Communication Design, 5. Fashion Business. In this article, we will explore the opportunities and scope in each of these areas.
1. Apparel Design & Styling: An Apparel Designer understands the customer needs, current fashion trends, market conditions, and creates aesthetically designed apparels & clothes. Apparels may include women’s wear, men’s wear, kids wear, sports wear, knitwear, wedding wear etc. Legendary Indian fashion designers like Ritu Kumar, Narendra Kumar, Sabyasachi, Anita Dongre, Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahliani, Neeta Lulla, Raghavendra Rathore etc have created a strong brand value and customer following over the years. An apparel designer needs to believe in their talent and persist in their profession to achieve success. Apparel Designers are also offered jobs in the industry such as: Apparel Designer, Fashion Illustrator, Fashion Buyer, Design Consultant, Fashion critic, Fashion Trend Forecaster etc.A Fashion Stylist is responsible for the overall look of a person. They combine the apparels, footwear, accessories, jewellery, makeup most appropriate for a person for a particular occasion. They are responsible for building the overall image of a person through styling. Fashion Stylists are most prevalent in the Film Industry (Dharma Productions, Nadiadwala Production etc), TV & OTT Studios (UTV, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5 etc), High Net Worth Individuals (Celebrities, Business Owners etc), Weddings, etc. As the affluent class is increasing in India, the demand for fashion stylists is increasing.
2. Textile Design: Textiles are fabrics used to make clothes, furnishings etc. Textiles are created from fibres of 4 main types of materials- animal (silk, wool), plant (cotton, jute, bamboo), mineral (asbestos, glass fibre) and synthetic (nylon, polyester, rayon). The fabrics are produced using processes like printmaking, yarn making, weaving, knitting, dyeing, finishing processes, etc. Textile Designers develop and create these fabrics, while Apparel Designers convert these fabrics into clothes. Textile Designers need to understand the technical aspects of production and industrial processes along with creatively envisioning the final use of the textiles. Textile designers are primarily employed with Textile Manufactures, Silk Mills, Export Houses, Handloom & Handicrafts Sector, Home Furnishings Industry etc. The positions offered in industry are- Color specialist, Textile & Surface developer, Print and Pattern designer, Textile illustrator etc.
3. Accessory & Products Design: We all use accessories on a daily basis- footwear, scarves, handbags, wallets, glasses, neckties, jewellery, home accessories, craft, interiors etc. We complete our look for any occasion using accessories. An accessory designer uses his creativity, understanding of customer needs and current trends to design these products for us. They use their imagination and tools like CAD softwares to create the right designs, which are then manufactured to sell to customers. Accessory Designers also contribute to the budding area of smart wearables (Apple watch) and technology accessories (Alexa). Companies which recruit Accessory Designers include Titan, Gitanjali, Amrapali, TATA, Samsung, Whirlpool, Myntra, Amazon, Flipkart, Fasttrack, Godrej Interio, Atlas Cycles, Hidesign etc.
4. Fashion Communication Design: Hundreds of local and global brands are constantly emerging in a busy consumer driven economy like India. Fashion Communication has made it feasible for these brands to communicate their products, identity, strategy, experience with the customers through multiple platforms. Fashion Communication focuses on Graphic Design, New Media, Space Design, Fashion Thinking. Fashion Communication Designers can find roles in industry such as: Visual Merchandiser, Graphic Designer, Fashion Blogger, Fashion Critic, Fashion Photographer, Journalist, UX/UI Designer, AR / VR Specialist, Brand Manager etc.
Fashion Communication Designers can work with Publications (Marie Claire, Vogue, Femina, Harper’s Bazar, Times of India), Advertising Studios (Mcann, Ogilvy, JWT), Film & Television (NDTV, MTV, Netflix), E-Commerce Companies (Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra), Garment Houses (Madura Garments, Raymond), Retail Brands (Reliance Retail, Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Pantaloon), Global Brands (Christion Dior, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Benetton, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger), Indian Brands (Titan, Tanishq, Louis Philip).
5. Fashion Business Management: This is the perfect mix for those with the passion for Fashion and flair for Business. Fashion Business managers are responsible for marketing the fashion products to the customer in a profitable and sustainable manner. Their areas of expertise covers branding, packaging, store display, marketing campaigns, social media promotions, advertising, pricing, sourcing, managing the profit and loss, capital management, forecasting fashion trends, market research etc. Luxury Brand Management is a new sub-space in demand as more luxury brands like Dior, Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Michael Kors, Gucci make their presence felt in India. The roles available in the industry are Brand Manager, Product Manager, Marketing Manager, Visual Merchandiser, Public Relations Manager, Events & Promotions Specialist, Business Manager, E-Commerce Specialist, Store Manager, Luxury Brand Manager.
A fresh Fashion Graduate has multiple career pathways available once they complete their course. Empirically, about 50% of fresh graduates join the industry, about 25% start working with an existing designer, about 10% join their family business and the remaining 15% either try freelancing or pursue their masters.
The starting salaries with Designers are low around Rs 20,000/- per month but the learning experience is invaluable. Starting salaries at corporate jobs can fetch from Rs 50,000/- to Rs 80,000/- per month for fresh graduates.
Many young girls and boys are drawn to fashion as a career. From the outside, one can only see the glamour and bling, but in reality it is like any other career & profession. It requires a lot of customer focus, creativity, subject matter expertise, persistence, focus and hard work.
If you want to become a successful Fashion professional, you should first assess your Aptitude, Passion & Personality for a “Fashion Career” from an appropriate Career Counsellor. Once that is done, you should plan to complete your Bachelors or Masters from a well known Fashion School like NIFT, NID, Pearl Academy, UID, ISDI, Istituto Marangoni, IIAD, TDV, FDDI, MIT-ID, Srishti Manipal etc. All top fashion schools will conduct an entrance exam, which is quite competitive. You should prepare well for these entrance exams with the right creative entrance preparation institute.