When we talk about fashion designing, the first image that comes to mind is a fashion designer sitting in his studio and working away on a sheet of paper or probably someone who is surrounded by glamorous models. This is a highly exaggerated picture of what actually happens and is many times very far from the truth.
Role OF Fashion Designer
The role of a fashion designer is much more than a mere studio activity or designing on a sheet of paper. The designer has to ensure that the collection of garments he/she designs is not only pretty and beautiful but also context specific, backed by proper market research and trend research. The designer’s job is to conceive new products, which are attractive enough for the customers to purchase. The designer achieves this by ensuring that he or she has an in-depth understanding of the requirements of the market and what the customers want.
It is essential for the designer to thoroughly study the market analysis to ensure that his/her design suits the needs of the marketplace. Continuous market research should be an integral part of any designing process. A designer must keep in mind the customer lifestyle, socio-economic standing, location to which his/her customer belongs to etc while doing the market research.
It is also mandatory for designer to follow fashion forecast analysis. Fashion forecasting is anticipation of trends i.e. the direction in which fashion is moving. It is actually a structured process through which the fashion/style of the coming seasons is determined. The time difference between the start of the fashion forecasting process and the time the garment ‘appears in the stores’ and are ‘with the customers’, is approximately 2 to 2½ years. Since the designer works at least six months ahead of the selling season, he/she has to have a fairly good idea about the colors, fabrics and silhouettes that the customers would be looking for at the time his/her creations hit the market place. Fashion designers can either rely on fashion services or do their own research.
The Theme And The Inspiration
Keeping in mind the forecast and its guidelines, how does a designer decide what to design and from where to start this process? The answer lies in ‘core theme’ on which the designer builds the ideas or the inspiration for the collection. The theme and inspiration are directly related to each other, almost mean the same thing and are the common factors in the collection. After realizing the importance of ‘inspiration’ and ‘right theme’ for a collection, it is very important to know how and where to get the ideas from. Ideas do not simply materialize out of thin air. Designer can find ideas in museums, libraries and galleries as inspiration. Designer should observe life around them and investigate how people live in different situations and how they dress. Designer must be aware of everything around them that affects the clothing industry including politics, demographics and social change. Designer can find endless ideas from nature and travel etc.
After theme and idea selection, a designer starts working on color story, fabric story etc. Normally color selection is done at an unconscious level along with fabric selection but he also keeps in mind the color and fabric trends that are taken from the current trends and the relevant forecast for the season. Once the fabrics and colors have been selected, the designer begins to create variety of styles for the collection.
Fashion design does not just happen, nor does the designer wave a magic wand to create a new design. When known components are combined in different ways to create a new product, design is created. A designer who can satisfy the needs of the customers by offering a continual supply of new idea, techniques, products and innovations would be able to appeal, excite and motivate the customers to purchase.