High Heels, High Hopes, and the Role of Fashion Design Schools

The fashion world has long been filled with glitz and glamour. The ramp for models is always long, dramatic, and well-lighted. The walk is certainly a walk for fame, fortunately for aspirants but sometimes leading to a walk for shame. Who is behind all these promises and/or even breakdowns? No less than the fashion designers.

What, exactly, does a fashion designer do?

Basically, with streaks of talent, creativity, and sensitivity, fashion designers, as if influenced by Rumpelstiltskin, craft accessory and clothing sketches. They usually concentrate on one nature of accessory or garment such as women’s or men’s apparel, swimwear, lingerie, children’s garments, handbags, and even shoes. They, sometimes, lead the groundwork of the creation and promotion of their creations.

Famous fashion designers prefer to be self-employed and they cater to the request of their clients. Some cater to high-fashion department stores or to specialty stores. They establish fashion statements by setting the colors, silhouette, and type of materials that are worn each season.

There are also some designers who are employed by manufacturers of clothes. These designers just adapt fashion statements set by other designers for the market. However, there are small manufacturers who just purchase or copy designs.

Both designers sketch unique garments and follow certain trends in fashion. Likewise, both need assistants who should get used to the fast-paced schedule of the fashion business.

In detail, these designers execute the following tasks:

• Draw their unique designs.
• Create patterns for sample garments.
• Choose textiles and add-ons (accessories).
• Apply tailoring and basic dressmaking principles along with draping techniques and flat pattern works.
• Fit and alter the completed product, if necessary.
• Set-up a fashion show.
• Compare the performance of the merchandise against the competitors.
• Keep self up-to-date with the latest fashion trends thru magazines and other fashion shows.
• Have frequent trips to fabric showrooms to keep self updated on the latest type of fabrics.

Actually, fashion designers can be categorized as follows:

1. Lead or Head Designers
They take care of the executive and creative tasks.

2. Assistant or Apprentice Designers
They usually make patterns and sample garments. They may also teach sample makers on how to make patterns and designer garments.

3. Specialty Designers
They coordinate with other designers about special lines of garments.

4. Costume or Theatrical Designers
They usually create costumes used in theater and movie productions on a contractual basis.

The foundations for their creations are their knowledge, skills, and abilities honed in fashion schools and pieces of training in the long run.

Basic Design

This refers to technical know-how included in the creation and use of technical blueprints, drawings, plans, and models.

Idea Production

This is the ability of designers to approach problems creatively and resourcefully.

Dynamic Learning

This is being able to analyze the implications of new information and materials at hand.

Operations Scrutiny

This is considering the requirements of products to execute a design.

Uniqueness

This pertains to unusual cleverness vis-à-vis trying situations.

Harmonization

This is being able to have good coordination with others.

Visioning

This is being able to see how an organization works under real conditions.

The talents and skills of these artists are really important in the fashion industry. The work requires an eye for a striking creation and business management. Thus, aside from the portfolio of their usual creations, formal education help these designers acquire the secrets of the trade in this business. In fact, graduation from a college or school that provides training on fashion and design is highly recommended in the industry, to keep incoming designers updated on the advent of new techniques and technologies.

However, some leaders of this industry view vocational training schools and community colleges as more capable of producing competent artists because these institutions work along with clothing industries.

Vocational schools provide pieces of training in sketching, draping and grading, pattern making, garment construction, textiles and trimmings, costume history, principles of design and color; and how to plan and market seasonal fashion lines.

High school students inclined in fashion and design should finish basic courses in arts, sewing, mathematics, speech, English, and business.

Usually, vocational institutions provide a two-leveled program with a certificate that is consonant to the degree in Associate of Arts. For those who want to enter the fashion field immediately, the first-level certificate of proficiency is provided. The next level of proficiency, the second-level requires a greater time of completion. But upon graduation, artists are considered competent enough to aim for positions as Assistant Designers. After all the necessary formal pieces of training and specializations, those who have the guts and high hopes spin gold fabrics!