Fashion in Nigeria and Africa at large has transcended over the years into wholesome creativity of diverse designs that are unparalleled all over the world. This uniqueness in fashion designs not only showcases Africa to the world at large but also depicts its roots, culture, background, and identity.
Fashion design is the art of applying design, aesthetics and natural beauty to clothing and its accessories . It is influenced by cultural and social attitudes, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories such as bracelets and necklaces. Because of the time required to bring a garment onto the market, designers must at times anticipate changes to consumer tastes .
Many types of fashion designers are doing well in their industry, but what sets them apart from the competition may be less about college and more about getting into the right sector of their industry. How many types of fashion designers are there? It depends on how you categorize the work.
Sticking to the basics of fashion, there are three types of fashion designers: shoes, accessories and apparel (which includes costumes).
Types of Fashion Designer
Shoe Fashion Designers (Footwear Designers)
Footwear designers are in the market to design shoes and foot wear. Within this category, there are many other types of fashion designers as well. These include athletic footwear and formal footwear, and can be categorized the same way as the types of apparel designers.
Fashion Accessory Designer
Fashion accessory designers focus on designing jewelry and other items that are not necessarily considered ‘apparel’. These types of fashion designers create necklaces, bracelets, hats, scarves, hand bags, and other items we use to accessorize.
One of the most familiar forms of fashion design involves apparel, which is a another word for clothing. There are two main categories. The first, and most prestigious, is haute couture, or expensive one-of-a-kind clothing made for specific wealthy individuals. 'Haute couture' is French, and it specifically relates to the high fashion scene in Paris. Specifically, fashion designers working in haute couture have workshops in Paris. Each season, they show their work to the Paris press at two runway shows with models. These designers usually show fashions for daytime and evening wear. Haute couture is exclusive, expensive, high-end fashion, made by hand to exact measurements. Most people never own a piece of haute couture fashion!
The other kind of apparel design is pret-a-porter. It's also a French word that means 'ready to wear'. This type of fashion design results in the clothing most people wear. Pret-a-porter fashion is quality clothing, but it's designed for standard sizes and made in factories. It's off the rack and not made for individual clients. This is clothing you buy in stores like Macy's and the Gap. Designers and design houses that make pret-a-porter fashions usually have one annual show that predicts the next year's trends and styles. The designs that preview well will then be manufactured for the mass market.
How to Become a Fashion Designer?
There is no formal education or certification required to become a successful fashion designer, but that doesn't make the feat any easier. To become a fashion designer, you will need to have a combination of drawing, sewing, and design skills, a knowledge of the fashion industry, and unparalleled perseverance. You'll also need to create a strong fashion portfolio and strengthen your knowledge of business and finance in general.
Develop your skills: A successful fashion designers will go wide in seeking for skills, including drawing, an eye for color and texture, an ability to visualize concepts in three dimensions, and the mechanical skills involved in sewing and cutting all types of fabrics.
Fashion designing is very challenging, get an excellent sewing tuition, understand how fabrics move, drape, breathe, react when worn, etc. Your in-depth knowledge of fabric is absolutely essential to using it properly when designing. Also know where to source materials from.
Learn from existing designers, by getting more and new ideas from them, learn how to create storyboards and product ranges. Be prepared to devote hours of time to perfecting your craft. A little bit everyday will make you gain a deep understanding of fashion on the long run if you are planning a career. Trying to do all at once might get you discouraged.
Learn More: Get a proffessional certification in fashion design, by attending the fashion skul or even a degree. Most programs are six or one year in Nigeria depending on how serious you are to learn and the degree maximum of four years.
Apply for an internship or apprenticeship. If school is not for you, or if you simply feel that real-world experience will be of more benefit to you, then find a fashion internship.
Decide which designing field is your principal interest: You may need to start at the bottom but you do need to have some goals in mind as to the type of designing you want to undertake such as haute couture, ready-to-wear, fitness/leisure gear, the mass market or niches (eco wear). Each has advantages and disadvantages that you'll need to explore before reaching your final decision on which pathway to pursue. Within these major fields, you'll also need to decide on a few sub-set areas for your fashion design. You might wish to straddle a few but to begin with, don't over-extend yourself as it's better to perfect your designing within one area and then experiment when you've already got a good foothold in the industry. For example:
Women's daywear, women's evening wear, Men's daywear, men's evening wear
Boys' wear and/or girls' wear, bridal wears, teenage wear, costume design for theaters, movies,
the advertising industry and retailers etc
Downsize your ego: Think about real needs prior to think about fame. Looking cool is fine, but it won't sell garments by itself. If you are planning to become a fashion designer, you will not only make apparel for yourself or for famous people. You can't making a living out of that, they're not even 1% of the population. Even though you see big names in magazines: you don't design for yourself, you design for others.
Ask your customers what they need: Be realistic, you need to know what the people really want, look around you. For example, if you plan on designing a complete collection, you will need more tops that bottoms because most people have more tops than bottoms in their wardrobe in general. Tops are great to change your looks while a plain nice fitting pant will match most of your tops. Keep it simple and realistic. Extravagant sketches are nice on paper, but great tops and jeans will sell out in more interesting numbers than evening dresses.
Make concessions: Mass market may not sound as glamour as evening or luxury wear, but it will get you a long way and pay your groceries. If you have to create a style that will be produced more than a hundred times, you need to make it right from the start. It will improve your designing skills as you will have to understand perfectly the garment you are about to sell. Bad styles will get you returns and cost quite a bunch of money.
Get inspiration from your competitors: Observe and note the fabric they are using, the zipper size they use (for their garments to be strong enough for its usage), fabric quality for its properties such as impermeability, comfort, breathability or care, colours that sells in your around you.
Plan some key pieces: What is your absolute strength in designing? Perhaps you're a whizz at accessories or a genius with yoga pants. Your passion and skill are an important first part of the equation. Of course, the second part is matching this to what the market wants, which in fashion, is part convincing the market and part noticing what the market is demanding.
Conclusively, everyone want to look nice and good, the fashion industry is one of the lucritative business to venture into, as people always have the need to look good, cover their neckedness and still look attractive.
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