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Value of a Professional Degree in Fashion Designing

bibhu_mohapatra_indian_fashion_designer_Dressed_michelle_obamaMichelle Obama wearing dresses by Indian-origin designer, Bibhu Mohapatra; Image courtesy: hindustantimes.com

From 1990s up until now, the Indian fashion industry has grown by leaps and bounds with Indian fashion designers grabbing the spotlight at international events. For instance, Odisha boy Bibhu Mohapatra, has had the privilege of dressing influential Americans like Michelle Obama, Hillary Swank and Gwyneth Paltrow to name a few.

The enthralling world of fashion design has caught the fancy of generations of fashion enthusiasts and continues to inspire a number of aspiring designers to take the plunge into the fashion industry. Fashion institutes in India have played an integral role in nurturing the home-turf talent and providing them with resources that have helped them get a foothold in the immensely competitive business. The domestic textile and apparel industry in India is estimated to reach US$ 141 billion by 2021 from US$ 67 billion in 2014 (Source: IBEF). This just goes to show the growth trajectory of Indian fashion and the possibilities that lie ahead for professionals practising the craft.

Once you have set your eyes on entering the world of fashion, you must get down to meticulously planning your future course of action. Assuming that you have an inclination towards the discipline, getting a professional degree in fashion design should be the next important thing on your agenda. This is essential for establishing a strong foundation of fashion design fundamentals.

More often than not, employers in the fashion industry seek individuals who have undergone a minimum of 4 years of formal training in fashion design with a degree in hand. Allow me to share with you some of the many benefits of learning fashion design at a reputed design institute:

  • You get ample exposure to the fundamentals of fashion design and learn the various technical and computer-aided skills essential for an aspirant.
  • You learn the entire fashion design process right from concept development, pattern-making, sample creation to the final hand-off, through theory and practical experiences.
  • If the institute you join offers a multitude of design courses, you will get a chance to collaborate with designers across fields and learn from them.
  • The challenging environment of a design institute will urge you to push your creative boundaries and get accustomed to set personal goals.
  • You will get an opportunity to be involved in projects that will help develop your artistic ability, design sensibility, creative ingenuity and critical thinking.
  • Being in college gives you sufficient opportunities to commit mistakes and learn from them without paying a steep price for it, unlike in the real world.
  • You get access to the faculty (accomplished industry experts) available on campus who are there to critique and guide you through your entire design exploration and learning process.

Apart from traditional college education, internships and training programmes are extremely crucial in helping you strengthen your subject matter knowledge. Interning with a fashion house allows you to receive on-the-job training and direct experience from industry experts while still pursuing your college education. Internships also give you the opportunity to apply your classroom learning in a real-world format. Also, you get a chance to make valuable contacts in an industry where networking is highly regarded and extremely valuable. Good fashion design colleges also facilitate such opportunities for their students.  

In the first instance, getting an educational degree in fashion design might seem very expensive, but it will certainly bear fruits in the long run. Design schools cater to all your needs as an aspiring fashion designer and equip you with tools that will be of help as you enter the marketplace and progress further in your career. There is no doubt that the fashion industry is defined by ‘mavericks’ like Coco Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Alexander Wang, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Rohit Bal and the like, who have fought their way up through rigorous on-the-job experience. The path-breaking work of these design stalwarts has led to fashion being taken as a serious profession and its establishment as a global industry. Having said that, as the field becomes increasingly competitive, a fashion design course will help you hit the ground running and give you an edge over other aspirants. So, go ahead and organise your formal study course in fashion design before you venture out into the marketplace as a novice.