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Career in Fashion Technology



FASHION TECHNOLOGY:

Fashion Technologyis the art of applying design, aesthetics and natural beauty to clothing and its accessories. It is influenced by cultural and social attitudes, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories such as bracelets and necklaces. Because of the time required to bring a garment onto the market, designers must at times anticipate changes to consumer tastes.


Designers conduct research on fashion trends and interpret them for their audience. Their specific designs are used by manufacturers. This is the essence of a designer's role; however, there is variation within this that is determined by the buying and merchandising approach, and product quality; for example, budget retailers will use inexpensive fabrics to interpret trends, but high-end retailers will ensure that the best available fabrics are used.


Fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They consider who is likely to wear a garment and the situations in which it will be worn, and they work within a wide range of materials, colours, patterns and styles. 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 are called ready to wear.


Fashion Technology equips students to pursue wide range of careers in areas of Garment Production, Quality Assurance, Garment Fit, Industrial Engineering, Product Development, Sourcing, Project Analysis, Production Planning, Entrepreneur Development, Human Resource Management, System Analysis, Software Application and Merchandising.


Emphasis is on understanding of the fundamentals of Design, Management and Technology for fashion industry. This creates a firm foundation for the students to understand the fast changing multi-dimensional fashion industry.


Apparel technology subjects like understanding raw materials and machinery specific to apparel manufacturing, introduction to statistical tools and software related to the apparel industry. Experience to transform the raw material from 2D to 3D through pattern making and garment construction.


Knowledge in production planning, operations management, quality management, fashion merchandising, costing and work study, advanced pattern making and garment construction. The departmental electives offered in diverse and contemporary topics like sustainable production and IT applications further enhance their learning. The understanding and comprehension of the textile fabric as raw material is enhanced with a textile internship.


Intensive apparel internship - Application based subjects like Plant Layout, Ergonomics, Lean Manufacturing, Product Analysis and Development, Apparel CAD and Grading. The students undertake research project based on real life projects and the implementation of their project gives them a comprehensive learning experience thus preparing them for their careers as apparel professionals.

WHAT DO THEY DO?

Garment technologists oversee every stage of garment production, from design to manufacture. They are involved in choosing the correct fabric, and making sure production remains within budget. They work closely alongside designers, pattern cutters and buyers.


The Work

You could be:

  • working with designers to make sure the design suits production methods

  • finding, choosing and buying suitable fabrics and accessories

  • planning the sizes and making up of garments

  • working with pattern graders to size pre-production garments and advising cutters and machinists on making up samples

  • checking and approving sample garments and making any changes needed, including correcting faults

  • making sure garments can be produced within budget

  • visiting clothing factories to check on the process and advise staff

  • making sure garments are delivered on time and in good condition and ensuring customer satisfaction

  • building up a good working relationship with suppliers.

Related Occupations:

Workers in other art and design occupations include artists and related workers, commercial and industrial designers, floral designers, graphic designers, and interior designers. Jewellers and precious stone and metal workers also design wearable accessories. Other common occupations in the fashion industry include demonstrators, product promoters, and models; photographers; purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents; retail salespersons; and textile, apparel, and furnishings occupations.

REQUIREMENTS

There are various requirements for an Astronomer that they need to fulfil to pursue a career in Astronomy. The requirements are classified under three heads –

1. EDUCATION:

Fashion technology can be studied as part of certificate or associate's degree programs. A certificate program focuses on the basics of the discipline and covers sewing and design elements, as well as fashion business management coursework. This program can take around one year to complete, and often involves an internship.


An associate's degree program may teach students about computer-aided design programs and apparel construction techniques. Admission into either stream requires a high school diploma or a GED.


Typically, fashion technology is an area of study offered as a Certificate of Achievement or Certificate of Completion program at community colleges in the United States. Students learn the fundamentals of the fashion business and learn to design men, women and children's clothing and accessories. Other focus areas are window displays, design software and issues in fashion merchandising. Coursework covers a broad range of fashion studies, including courses that teach draping, fashion modelling and design materials.


Other topics of discussion include:

  • Fashion terminology

  • Sewing

  • Design elements

  • Inventory

  • Fashion business management

Offered as an Associate of Applied Science, the program's curriculum includes concentration areas like fashion design, merchandising and illustration. Students in the fashion design option learn to sketch original designs, use computer-aided design programs and construct apparel. The merchandising option teaches skills like fashion buying, promotion and marketing, and the illustration option includes training in manufacturing, textiles and typography. Students complete fashion technology courses in traditional classrooms and design studios where they work with textiles, fabrics and fashion materials.


Coursework includes topics like:

  • Marketing trends

  • Retail

  • Fashion accessories

  • Digital design

  • Tailoring

Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions in the fashion industry, including jobs at fashion design studios and advertising and marketing firms. Fashion technology graduates may pursue the following jobs:

  • Fashion designer

  • Retail associate

  • Tailor

CONTINUING EDUCATION;

  • Because many jobs in the fashion industry require at least a bachelor's degree, graduates might consider enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in fashion studies, fashion design or fashion marketing and merchandising. These 4-year degree programs may lead to careers in design, retail, marketing, product development and more.

  • Future fashion designers can prepare for their careers by pursuing a certificate or an associate's degree in fashion technology, where they can study fashion design, merchandising, and illustration. Bachelor's degree programs in related fields are available for advanced education, leading to jobs in marketing, retail and product development.

2. SKILLS:

Fashion design has come a long way from the mere art of designing clothes. It has evolved into a full-fledged industry and is now considered a highly desirable career worldwide.


Nowadays, apparel & footwear is not simply designed based on colour or style choices but also on function, customer behavioural preferences and emerging trends. Innovative technologies and social media trends are transforming the fashion world at a faster pace than ever.


To keep up with where the industry is going, here is our list of 9 skills that a fashion designer will need in the future:


1. Creativity

Whether you want to be a fashion designer or trying to get a level-up in this field, creativity will be your fundamental asset. When you look at a piece of fabric, you should have enough creativity to envision what it is going to look like in a garment. How the material will work and what design will suit it best. Moreover, if you are creative, you will always be equipped with new style ideas. It is a core skill that enables you to deliver something significant from scratch.


2. 3D Designing Skills

In the age of social media, fashion trends come and go faster than ever. If you want to seize the trends and capitalise on the opportunity, you will need to reduce the time that your designs need to go to market. Implementing 3D in the design and development process can drastically shorten your design-to-market time. With 3D designing skills, you will be able to achieve faster decision-making, accelerate the development process and reduce the number of physical samples for your collection, which also brings significant sustainability benefits.


3. Excellent Visualisation Skills

The better your visualisation skills are, the more efficient you will be in bringing your ideas to reality. Acquiring and honing your visualisation skills will enable you to see the finished product before it is made and put the ideas on paper in a way that allows others to grasp them as well. Whether you are designing for men, women, or kids, you should have the capability to see if something is even a quarter of an inch off and anticipate future fit problems in your designs.


4. Digital Drawing and Sketching

With digital drawing and sketching, visualising your design becomes easier than ever. Digital tools such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop have been used in the industry for over 20 years now and are considered a basic skill for any designer when making flat illustrations or sketches. These digital sketches contain important information about your garments such as the type of pattern, size specifications, design and other details that cannot be explained through a hand-sketch.


Many companies have already started leveraging these techniques so the design can be easily altered, corrected or reused. And with the whole industry going digital, it is important for you to thoroughly master these skills and tools as we move from 2D CAD design to 3D product creation and additional software tools you will have to pick up in the transition


5. Strong Communication Skills

The fragmented world of fashion relies on collaboration and communication. You must be able to communicate with buyers, suppliers, other designers and team members.


Before the production of a fashion line starts, you must explain the designs to your team and answer all their questions. You also might be expected to liaise with manufacturer on styling, fabric and garment construction to ensure the design integrity of your product is maintained and executed in production.


You should have the skills to negotiate with manufacturers and suppliers, pitch the collection to the target audience and spread your message to customers. Here is where strong communication skills will ease your efforts to launch your fashion brand or manage your collection seamlessly.


6. Ability to Multitask

The tasks of a fashion designer are not limited to just sketch designs or source materials and fabrics. Fashion designers are expected to work and collaborate across different fields at the same time such as production, public relations, promotions, assisting events, and more.

As a result, it is important that you can manage everything efficiently and stay organized to get the best results.


7.Care for the Environmental and Social Impact of Fashion

It is not a secret that fashion is a big contributor to pollution and global warming and doesn’t have an impeccable track record when it comes to ethical labour practices. However, the industry is taking steps towards sustainability.

Having the ability to incorporate sustainable strategies in your garment and collection design and development at each step of the process will make you stay ahead in the industry while making a positive impact on the world. You can learn how sustainability can be an asset for your business with the MOTIF’s online course Sustainability in Fashion.


8. Master the Social Network & Influencers’ world

The leading social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest serve as a runway and marketing medium for the fashion industry.

Teaming up with the right influencers can expose your collection and lines to a much larger audience than the traditional media in a much faster way. For example, in 2016, the popular fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger announced Gigi Hadid as a global brand ambassador for their fall collection of that year.


As the model is well-known and has a great relationship with her fans through social platforms over the world this collaboration brought the brand to the attention of a wider base of potential new customers.

So, whether you want to promote your new collection or reach a new set of audience, you need to master social media tactics and best practices such as posting times, content formatting, and hashtags in order to include them into your marketing strategy effectively.


9. Analysing Big Data

The power of the internet means we now connect with our consumers in a very different way. The ability to analyse customer data and interrupt this information into trends and product lines has become a fundamental skill for a designer of the today. You have to be both creative and analytical to deliver fashion which is also commercial in this very competitive market.


10. Develop Business Acumen

To thrive in the world of fashion, you must have a sharp business sense, whether you have to manage the finances of your team, sales of a fashion line, or decide on the pricing strategy for your collection or the marketing budget.

This goes beyond intuition and basic financial skills. Successful and perennial businesses are those who take the right decision based on the correct insights they derive from their data and market data. Being data-oriented and capable of understanding the expectations and needs of your target audience and customers based on their behavioural data will be crucial. Your creativity will need to be informed by data alongside the many traditional sources of inspirations that will fuel your designs.


You also need to have the expertise to quickly spot new competitors, detect solid trends versus fads, and major shifts in the industry, so that you can adapt your designs to stay ahead of the market.

Over time, you can develop a wide range of skills that will help you to thrive in your job. In addition, some innate or trained character traits can boost your chances of becoming a successful fashion designer. Here are a selected few

Confidence

The fashion industry is well known for its hard work environment where you may experience rejection as part of your job. It takes a lot of confidence to present your projects to retailers, stakeholders, buyers and other designers. Remember that this is a long-term race and it takes time and effort to develop a reputation in the industry, and you will need tons of confidence to reach your goals.

Perseverance


As we mentioned, it takes blood, sweat, and tears to become a renowned fashion designer. The shooting star cases are extremely rare in the industry; you will need to arm yourself with patience and never give up when adversity comes.

Personality

If a designer has a lot of personality and persuasion, it will be easier for him/her to deal with customers, the press and decision makers. This doesn’t mean that a designer who decides to stay away from the spotlight can’t succeed on his/her talent alone; however, he or she will need someone else to do the promotion and delivering his or her messages to the right ears.

These qualities can be learned and nurtured to transform you into a better designer.

JOB OUTLOOK

Significant Points:

  • Almost one-fourth are self-employed

  • The highest concentrations of fashion designers were employed in New York and California

  • Employers usually seek designers with 2 or 4 year degrees who are knowledgeable about textiles fabrics, ornamentation, and fashion trends

  • Slower-than-average job growth is projected, and competition for jobs is expected to be keen

Nature of the Work:

Fashion designers help create the billions of dresses, suits, shoes, and other clothing and accessories purchased every year by consumers. Designers study fashion trends, sketch designs of clothing and accessories, select colours and fabrics, and oversee the final production of their designs. Clothing designers create and help produce men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, including casual wear, suits, sportswear, formalwear, outerwear, maternity, and intimate apparel. Footwear designers help create and produce different styles of shoes and boots. Accessory designers help create and produce items such as handbags, belts, scarves, hats, hosiery, and eyewear, which add the finishing touches to an outfit. (The work of jewellers and precious stone and metal workers is described elsewhere in the Handbook.) Some fashion designers specialize in clothing, footwear, or accessory design, but others create designs in all three fashion categories. The design process from initial design concept to final production takes between 18 and 24 months. The first step in creating a design is researching current fashion and making predictions of future trends. Some designers conduct their own research, while others rely on trend reports published by fashion industry trade groups. Trend reports indicate what styles, colours, and fabrics will be popular for a particular season in the future. Textile manufacturers use these trend reports to begin designing fabrics and patterns while fashion designers begin to sketch preliminary designs. Designers then visit manufacturers or trade shows to procure samples of fabrics and decide which fabrics to use with which designs.


Once designs and fabrics are chosen, a prototype of the article using cheaper materials is created and then tried on a model to see what adjustments to the design need to be made. This also helps designers to narrow their choices of designs to offer for sale. After the final adjustments and selections have been made, samples of the article using the actual materials are sewn and then marketed to clothing retailers. Many designs are shown at fashion and trade shows a few times a year. Retailers at the shows place orders for certain items, which are then manufactured and distributed to stores.


Computer-aided design (CAD) is increasingly being used in the fashion design industry. Although most designers initially sketch designs by hand, a growing number also translate these hand sketches to the computer. CAD allows designers to view designs of clothing on virtual models and in various colours and shapes, thus saving time by requiring fewer adjustments of prototypes and samples later. Depending on the size of their design firm and their experience, fashion designers may have varying levels of involvement in different aspects of design and production. In large design firms, fashion designers often are the lead designers who are responsible for creating the designs, choosing the colours and fabrics, and overseeing technical designers who turn the designs into a final product. They are responsible for creating the prototypes and patterns and work with the manufacturers and suppliers during the production stages. Large design houses also employ their own patternmakers, tailors, and sewers who create the master patterns for the design and sew the prototypes and samples. Designers working in small firms, or those new to the job, usually perform most of the technical, patternmaking, Fashion designers working for apparel wholesalers or manufacturers create designs for the mass market. These designs are manufactured in various sizes and colours. A small number of high-fashion (haute couture) designers are self-employed and create custom designs for individual clients, usually at very high prices. Other high-fashion designers sell their designs in their own retail stores or cater to specialty stores or high-fashion department stores. These designers create a mixture of original garments and those that follow established fashion trends. Some fashion designers specialize in costume design for performing arts, motion picture, and television productions. The work of costume designers is similar to other fashion designers. Costume designers, however, perform extensive research on the styles worn during the period in which the performance takes place, or they work with directors to select and create appropriate attire. They make sketches of designs, select fabric and other materials, and oversee the production of the costumes. They also must stay within the costume budget for the particular production item.


Work Environment:

Fashion designers employed by manufacturing establishments, wholesalers, or design firms generally work regular hours in well-lighted and comfortable settings. Designers who freelance generally work on a contract, or by the job. They frequently adjust their workday to suit their clients’ schedules and deadlines, meeting with the clients during evenings or weekends when necessary. Freelance designers tend to work longer hours and in smaller, more congested, environments, and are under pressure to please clients and to find new ones in order to maintain a steady income. Regardless of their work setting, all fashion designers occasionally work long hours to meet production deadlines or prepare for fashion shows. The global nature of the fashion business requires constant communication with suppliers, manufacturers, and customers all over the United States and the world. Most fashion designers travel several times a year to trade and fashion shows to learn about the latest fashion trends. Designers also may travel frequently to meet with fabric and materials suppliers and with manufacturers who produce the final apparel products.


Employment:

Fashion designers held about 20,000 jobs in 2006. About 28 percent of fashion designers worked for apparel, piece goods, and notions merchant wholesalers; and the remainder worked for corporate offices involved in the management of companies and enterprises, clothing stores, performing arts companies, and specialized design services firms. Another 24 percent were self-employed. Employment of fashion designers tends to be concentrated in regional fashion centres. In 2006, the highest concentrations of fashion designers were employed in New York and California.


Job prospects:

Relatively few job openings arise because of low job turnover and the small number of new openings created every year. The best job opportunities will be in design firms that design mass market clothing sold in department stores and retail chain stores, such as apparel wholesale firms. Few employment opportunities are expected in design firms that cater to high-end department stores and specialty boutiques as demand for expensive, high-fashion design declines relative to other luxury goods and services.

WORK STYLES

  • Garment technologists usually work in an office, with some time spent in design studios and factories to check on the manufacturing process.

  • Factories may be dusty and noisy.

  • You may have to travel within the UK and overseas, possibly to South-East Asia, China or Eastern Europe.

  • You have to meet deadlines for delivery.

  • Working hours vary, increasing at busy times and when you have deadlines to meet.

AVERAGE INCOME

Median annual earnings for salaried fashion designers were Rs.15,02,607 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between Rs.10,14,678 and Rs.25,76,129. The lowest 10 percent earned learnings in fashion design can vary widely based on the employer and years of experience. Starting salaries in fashion design tend to be very low until designers are established in the industry. Salaried fashion designers usually earn higher and more stable incomes than self-employed or freelance designers. However, a few of the most successful self-employed fashion designers may earn many times the salary of the highest paid salaried designers. Self-employed fashion designers must provide their own benefits and retirement.


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