There are as many different ways to start your career as a fashion designer as there are designs. Ralph Lauren started his business by selling ties through Bloomingdales while Michael Kors started by retailing his designs from a NY boutique. However the safest bet is to start a design career is to get a degree from a prestigious design school.
Before Applying To Fashion Designing Schools
Although there are a lot of colleges in India and abroad where you can study fashion designing, only a handful are prestigious schools that would really push your career. It is indeed very difficult to get into these prestigious schools as the competition is very high. Most schools require a basic passing percentage in 10+2 and either a written exam to test your aptitude or submission of your portfolio. A design institute will not teach you how to be creative. It can only teach you how to channel your creativity in the right direction. Basic knowledge of sewing and drawing is an additional advantage though it is not compulsory. The most important quality that any institute looks for in a candidate is the passion for fashion. The rest can be worked out.
What a Fashion Designing Institute Can Do for You
Most fashion designing courses are three to four years long. During this time you will learn how to implement your ideas and visions. You will have classes in drawing, studying colors, composition and form, pattern making, draping, sewing and cutting. One of the most important advantages of studying design in a fashion institute is that these institutes work closely with the industry. Most top institutes also have many prestigious grants and awards that are given to the best students. But the most important event remains the fashion show that takes place at the end of the course where all graduating students get to show their creations. These shows are attended by big names of the industry to scout new talent.
Another very important part of curriculum at fashion institutes is the business and marketing modules. As every industry gets more corporate driven than ever its very important for every aspiring designer to be able to manage the business of their brand, negotiate a contract and choose a business partner.
Studying in a reputed fashion institute is not inexpensive. If you do not wish to invest that much time and money into a fashion institute, then there are other ways worth exploring. You can start by interning at fashion house and work your way up. Many famous designers have started their careers like this only. For instance, Nicolas Ghesquière, currently creative director for the house of Balenciaga owned by the Gucci Group, learned the on-the-job while working for Jean-Paul Gaultier. Usually you apply for an internship at a fashion house by sending them your portfolio after calling and enquiring about opportunities for internships. You can also apply for internship as a fashion stylist. This will not just help you build contacts but also give you an insider’s insight about the business aspect as well.
Fashion Institutes in India
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FASHION TECHNOLOGY (NIFT)
Centres: New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Gandhinagar
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF DESIGN
New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore
JD INSTITUTE OF FASHION TECHNOLOGY
PEARL ACADEMY OF FASHION (PAF)
APEEJAY INSTITUTE OF DESIGN
Institutes Around the World
Academy of Art University
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
Parsons School of Design
Bunka Fashion College
Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design
Royal College of Art
Insitut Francais de la Mode
Ecole de la Cambre de Bruxelles