Do you have a passion for fashion? Are you interested in venturing into the ever flourishing career of fashion designing? This piece is just for you if you answered in the affirmative.
Being a fashion designer is enormously rewarding and lucrative overtime especially when you have crafted a name and a niche for yourself. It is such a wide field encompassing so many design categories that you may have a hard time choosing one, but if you have what it takes, you can diversify into different categories.
Categories include Children wears, Men’s wears, Women’s wears, Haute couture, Fitness/Sport wears, Traditional wears, Dinner and ball gowns, Suits and Tuxedo and so on.
Notable fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen, Donna Karan, Tom Ford, Deola Sagoe, Zizi Cardow, Duro Olowo, Folake Coker etc. have proved over and over again that fashion design is not just a job or an art, it is service to humanity because good clothes give confidence even to the most timid persons and overall, fashion design has not only evolved but still constantly evolving the whole world.
It is undeniably one civilization that has no disadvantage at all. However, as we must all agree: nothing good comes easy. Becoming a designer of repute is no mean feat; it demands inordinate passion, creativity and exceptional artistic touch, technical know-how, resilience, business acumen, physical strength – designers work long hours to get the job done, great interpersonal skills and tact and even more.
In this piece, we shall examine who fashion designers are, what they do and how to become one in Nigeria.
WHO IS A FASHION DESIGNER ?
Fashion design is the art of application of design and aesthetics to clothing and accessories. A fashion designer is a person who creates the clothing and accessories worn by people all over the world.
Fashion designers come up with designs for clothing and accessories and make those designs into what people can wear. Thus a fashion designer sketches and draws designs, then finds the perfect fabric in terms of texture and colour; and then artististically makes the fabric into a cloth by cutting sewing, knitting and manifesting his designs on it.
Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social attitude: thus, a Nigerian fashion designer would hardly design same way an American designer would. Similarly, a designer who makes ski jackets would have it tough in a warm country. Therefore, a fashion designer needs to be conscious his environment and what people around him want.
HOW TO BECOME A FASHION DESIGNER IN NIGERIA
What does it take to become a professional in this noble career? You think you have what it take? Read through before you respond.
1. Develop a Passion for the career
This may sound cliché but it is true that if you don’t have the passion for fashion, you cannot put in the long hours to work nor take orders from a boss or even work with a team. Thus, it would be impossible to thrive since fashion design is highly competitive.
The passion births the creativity which is most needed to get ahead of competitors. In short, passion and creativity form the foundation for all the other requirements to rest on. Hard work can also be said to be a result of passion.
2. Get the Skills
Fashion design is an art: thus, it requires skills. As a fashion designer, you need visualizing skills to think and create, the ability to draw and design what you have visualized in three dimension, the ability to know the perfect colour and texture of the needed material and other skills such as cutting, sewing, knitting; and the ability to use computers especially the Computer-aided design (CAD) software.
These skills can be learnt through apprenticeship or internship. They are very important.
3. Education is Also Needed
Getting a degree especially one connected with fashion design will definitely give you an edge in the hustle for a job in top design companies. But aside the degree, the knowledge gained will no doubt be useful.
In Nigeria, Fine Art in any reputable university in Nigeria would be sufficient and would take four years to complete. Courses would range from sketching and drawing to colour composition, combination and form. Such other skills such as cutting, sewing, knitting and draping will be taught as well.
However, an alternative is apprenticeship/internship some people more practical and more rewarding through experience and networking with people.
4. Create a professional portfolio
Creating and developing one’s ideas and designs early matters a lot.
It is necessary to prove to potential employers that you have something to offer. Your profile may include personal designs and school projects or jobs done your internship/apprenticeship.
A superb profile may substitute for a resume and with a thoughtful cover letter, top fashion designers would do almost anything to have you on their team.
5. Team work and good interpersonal skills
The point must be made here that fashion design is not a “I” thing, rather it is a “we” thing. Different people contribute to every final product of fashion design.
Therefore, creativity flows from every angle and team members must respect one another to ensure their talents, skills and other strong points are harnessed and a market-worthy product is released.
The success of such a team is dependent on the interpersonal skills exhibited by team mates.
6. Business acumen
As a career, a profession and a job, fashion design is meant to yield profits for the fashion designer. It then becomes a business and requires some knowledge of finance, sales, accounting and marketing to succeed.
Passion, creativity, skill, and an amazing portfolio without good knowledge of the business aspect will keep a fashion designer a little above the poverty line if not below it. Fashion design is a booming business, it is lucrative but you cannot retain the money if you don’t know business.
7. Be competitive, be up-to-date:
Fashion is not static; it is ever-changing. Today people rock boot cuts, tomorrow they are rocking skinny jeans and it goes on like that.
As a fashion designer, you have to know the trend and flow with it while at the same time standing out from other designers. It is just something you have to sit and strategize on.
Now, do you think you have what it takes? A smart fashion designer is one who satisfies the foregoing requirements and even goes the extra mile.
Whether he works under a fashion label or creates his own, he will thrive.
Do not be discouraged if you are missing out on any: rather, work on yourself or enroll in a relevant institute to acquire the skill needed. Fashion lovers in Nigeria earnestly await you.
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