What inspires most aspiring fashion designers to want to build a career in the fashion space are mostly the Glamorous parts of the job, the bright lights, flashy clothes, exquisite fabrics, runway shows, dressing celebrities etc, however, there are gazillion career opportunities behind the scenes that make all the glam possible. Less Glamorous, though they are, but the industry professionals in these fields are cashing out all the same.
If you are planning to build a career in the fashion space or already a Fashion designer, it’s worth it to know other areas you can work that are more in tune with your strengths.
Let me take you on a journey about every single dress you find in a store, ready to be worn, and for each step of this journey, we’ll explore some of the career opportunities that each step offers
THE DESIGN PROCESS
1. INSPIRATION – every single dress began as a concept in the mind of the designer, this is the first stage in the design process, the designer thinks or is inspired by a concept, this could be anything, architecture, textures, swish of a woman’s dress etc-and wants to create a collection of dresses from this concept
2. FASHION ILLUSTRATION
– The designer uses the tool of fashion illustration to bring his ideas to life. A Fashion illustrator is someone who sketches out these designs, or inspired ideas and brings them to life, pencil to paper or with a computer.
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES – A Fashion Illustration can
*Work with designers to bring ideas to life via sketches
*Work with fashion schools to train fashion design students illustration
*Work as a Freelance professional, offering illustrations services to fashion brands
*Sell Fashion Sketches of his own designs to designers.
3. FABRIC SOURCING
After the designer has seen his ideas come to life on paper, he collar orates with the team depending on the size of the business to decide which fabric would work best for the designs, and the fabric Sourcer(not sure if this is a real name, but you get the gist) goes to the market to source for the fabrics or orders online.
The fabric is the medium of a designer. If you are knowledgeable about fabrics, you can:
Work In a Fashion house as a store Manager
Source for fabric for designers as freelance professional
Organise workshops to teach upcoming designers about all your wonderful knowledge about fabrics
The technical designer is like a Fashion illustrator, but if the fashion illustrator gets to design the glam, and sweeping Cascades, the technical designer must work with the designer to break down the design in such a way that it’s understandable to be sewn into a garment.
The technical designer sketches the exact places where pockets will be sewn, the types of stitches to be used, what types of buttons to be bought etc. IOW the technical designer sketches the finer details so that the garment can actually be produced.
A technical designer can
Work with fashion brands or individual designers to get specific on their design details
Create tech packs, spec sheets, or line sheets for individual designers of fashion brands
Work with fashion schools to train students or offer online courses to those who want to learn technical design
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The next stage in the design process is called Pattern Making. The designer works with the pattern maker to make patterns for the garment. A pattern is an exact blue print of the design, drafted on paper or on the computer. A pattern makers most important skill is the ability to interpret designs
The pattern Maker can
Work as a pattern maker in a Fashion house
Consult for other designers to interpreted their designs
Make pattern to sell to other designers or fashion enthusiasts
Offer coaching classes on pattern making
This is where the tailor or machinist or sample maker comes in. The pattern maker works with the tailor to ensure the outfit is brought to life as the designer wants it, the sample of the outfit is first sewn in a cheaper fabric that has the behavior of the final fabric that will be used for the design
The tailor can
Work in a Fashion house as a machinist
Offer tailoring services to individuals
After the first sample has been made, models are needed to fit the sample and to check for any adjustments necessary to be made on the garment . The adjustments are made on the Pattern, and a final sample is made, this is called the prototype and its what will be mass produced
Models are always needed in the fashion space for fittings, showcasing, etc. Modeling is not restricted to tall, slim ladies or tall muscular guys anymore, as brands are popping up, who are catering more to the more realistic figures in the real world
Grading is the process of increasing or decreasing the sizes of the garments eg, an increase from size 8-10-12-14.Grading can be done manually or digitally. After the final sample has been made, the grader grades the design into various sizes according to the size chart of the designer.
A grader can
Work in a Fashion house to grade their patterns in accordance to their size chart
Offer Freelance grading services to individual designers or fashion brands
Offer Coaching services to students in a Fashion school or private classes
QUALITY CONTROL/PRODUCTION SUPERVISION
The production supervisor or quality control officer checks the quality of the outfits produced and makes sure they are in accordance with the standards of the fashion design business.
The production supervisor can work in a Fashion house to make sure every design follows the specifications
The production supervisor can provide coaching services to those who want to also toe that line
Production houses exist mainly to remove the massive stress of planning a collection from the start to finish, the designer who has no means or recourse but has ideas, can approach a production house who then carries out the entire production process on behalf of the designer. Many of these production malls also do a minimum that’s affordable for upcoming designers
These career opportunities listed are only in relation with production of the garments in the ready to wear aspect of fashion design. When it comes to retailing and distribution, scores of career opportunities also present themselves.
There’s a vast field to explore in the world of fashion and events are changing the way we do business, spread your wings and don’t imagen you can work only as a tailor.
I can hear you say:But Koffy, I still really want to be a designer, then I have something that may interest you!
Would you like to learn how to design really snazzy trendy outfits that will impress your clients?
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Kofoworola Agboola is a fashion coach and consultant, she can be reached on [email protected]