Career / Start Career

How to become a fashion designer in India: A beginner’s guide

. 7 min read . Written by Siddhesh Suman
How to become a fashion designer in India: A beginner’s guide

A career in the fashion industry can be very promising and exciting, especially if you’re a fashion designer. If art, fame and glamour attract you, then a career in fashion design just might be your calling. Sounds good, right? But the big question remains: How to become a fashion designer?

Like most other artistic fields, there is no there’s no ideal route. Everyone’s journey is different. But after tons of research, we have whipped up a guide that will give you an overview of what it takes to kick start a career in fashion designing.  

Who Is A Fashion Designer And  What Do They Do?

Fashion designers, as the name suggests, design apparel and accessories such as shoes, hats, purses, etc. Each designer specialises in different types of clothing depending on their interests. 

The stereotype that fashion designers only sketch designs of apparel or stitch them is not true. A fashion designer’s job is much more complex than that!

They work on design briefs, predict and analyse trends, estimate the cost of manufacturing, develop concepts and mood boards, find material suppliers, and also supervise the making of sample pieces.

Is Fashion Designing A Good Career Option?

Fashion designing is one of the most vogue and in-demand careers today. You’ll meet the most creative, imaginative and innovative people from all over the world. Life as a fashion designer is far from dull or monotonous because the world of fashion is incredibly dynamic!  The income prospects in this career are also great. For instance, a beginner with no prior experience can make anything between 15,000 and 35,000 a month; as you gain more skills and experience, you can make over 2 lacs per month.  There is immense scope to work abroad due to the high demand for fashion designers across the world, especially in ‘fashion capitals’ such as New York, Paris, London, and Milan. 

That being said, fashion is much more than glitz and glamour. An incredible amount of hard work goes into building a name in this industry because everyone wants in. There will be a lot of all-nighters, rejections, and creative blocks; but once you crack a way in, there’s no looking back. So, if you’re ready to take off on a wild ride, here are seven steps that’ll help you become a fashion designer. 

Start Early

It is always a good idea to start working on your interest or passion from an early age because you never know when a passion could turn into a full-time career in the future. If you’re in high school and are aspiring to work in fashion, here are a few things you should start working on right away. 

  • Practice sketching and drawing to enhance your sense of colours and patterns.
  • Get your hands on a sewing machine and experiment with dress material.
  • Learn design softwares such as Photoshop or Illustrator.
  • Always stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of fashion.

This way, you’ll have an advantage over the others and it will help you meet the requirements to get into a good fashion designing institute. 

However, if you’re looking to switch careers to fashion and have a passion for it, it’s never too late to start from scratch!

A Degree Goes A Long Way

Fashion designing is a very competitive field. A smart way to get your foot in the door is to get a degree. In the course, you will learn the trade of fashion design from experts and hone your skills. You will also get to work with other like-minded peers on group projects which will help you learn the necessary soft and hard skills to work with minimum resources and budgets.  A lot of institutes offer internships or placements that can help you gain hands-on experience. By the time you complete your course, you will be ready to enter the industry with a lot more knowledge!

Here is a list of prestigious fashion designing institutes in India: 

If the degree route isn’t for you, we’ve got you covered with a plan B. 

How To Become A Fashion Designer Without A Degree

If you have the talent and passion to learn the art of fashion design but you don’t want to or can’t go down the college route, that’s alright too. Sure, a traditional course will help you learn about fashion design systematically, but it doesn’t guarantee a successful career trajectory.

A majority of the successful people in the world didn’t become pioneers in their fields because of a piece of paper. Their Sheer passion, skills, and hard work, and hunger to learn helped them get there. To name a few of those pioneers in the fashion industry.

how to become a fashion designer coco chanel
Coco Chanel
how to become a fashion designer anushree Reddy
Anushree Reddy 
how to become a fashion designer karl langerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld

Making a career in fashion designing is very much possible without a degree. Read on as the following points can help you launch your career in fashion. 

Pick A Niche 

There are several variations within fashion designing and every established artist specialises in at least one of them. As a beginner, you will have to work under many people and be exposed to many different niches. This way, you’ll get to test the waters and pick a niche that suits you best.

Here are some of the types of fashion designing that you can look into: 

  • Apparel fashion designing
  • Haute Couture fashion designing
  • Ready-to-wear or Prêt-a-porter fashion designing
  • Mass Market fashion designing
  • Footwear designing
  • Accessory designing

Get An Internship

Internships are a great way to learn the ins and outs of an industry. A degree doesn’t guarantee success; impressive work experience does. A degree won’t land you a job easily, so an internship will give you the headstart you need. Anyone with an impressive portfolio and skills can land an internship under well-known artists and brands. In the meantime, don’t shy away from collaborating with young brands. It will be hectic, but it will also be the best learning curve you could ask for. 

Whip Up An Impressive Fashion Design Portfolio

Like all creative fields, a well-made portfolio is a must. A fashion design portfolio is a collection of your work that will help you display your work and creative sensibilities to a potential employer. Don’t forget to keep updating your portfolio, especially if you’re a freelancer.

There are several free portfolio building platforms that’ll help you create your own fashion design portfolio. 

  2. Weebly
  3. Adobe portfolio
  4. Behance 
  5. Jimdo

You can add the projects you have worked on during your internships as part of your portfolio. A good brand name and meaty projects will help you land more opportunities!

Network, Network, And Network

Networking is a crucial part of a person’s career journey. In a field as fast-paced as fashion, what matters isn’t just what you know, but also who you know. Networking is all about connecting with like-minded people and building professional relationships and it plays a crucial role in creative fields such as fashion design. 

Try connecting with designers working with brands you love and asking them for advice and referrals. You might not always hear back but it will be worth a shot. Remember; the more people you know, the better. This will open up new opportunities for you. 

Instagram is a great place to showcase your work, become an influencer, and get your content noticed. It will also help you gain followers. Having a core set of people who love your art will supply you with constructive feedback consistently. Eventually, when you gain more visibility on social media, it’ll be easier to get hired by a brand or even get investors on board for your own brand. 

Start Your Own Brand

Launching your own brand is an out-of-the-box way to start a career in fashion. Going all out will teach you things in the first year of the business itself. You will also be motivated to work harder if the stakes are high. However, be very mindful before making this decision as it is highly risky as it is highly rewarding. Many famed fashion designers such as Donatella Versace and Georgio Armani made their name in the industry not by getting degrees or working as employees at a company; they did it by starting their own business. 

So, if you have a unique idea for a clothing line with decent market demand, go for it. You can start small by making a few designs and getting a few samples manufactured, and promoting them on social media to see how people perceive your brand and your product.  Once you’ve made a name for yourself, you can go pitching to investors for further funding to expand your business.

In conclusion, if you’re passionate about fashion, there’s no reason that you can’t make it. The information provided to you will help you draw out a path towards a stellar career in fashion!

You’re invited! Join the Kool Kanya women-only career Community where you can network, ask questions, share your opinions, collaborate on projects, and discover new opportunities. Join now.