Career in Fashion Design: How to become a successful designer?
Updated on Feb 20, 2017 - 11:13 a.m. IST by Urvashi Dalal
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If you keenly notice knife-pleats, seam-lines and patterns instead of skirts and jackets, then it’s a sure sign to get a degree and style your career in the fashion industry. Fashion is not just about styled clothing or a glitzy and glamorous world; it is basically everything that is around us. Fashion is about creating one’s individuality and making a distinctive style statement. “Fashion is essentially about creating one’s own individuality and a distinct style statement, which is everywhere around us and can be seen through every person,” JJ Valaya, one of India’s top fashion designers, told in an interview sometime back.


The concept of fashion has been with us since time immemorial, in various forms; be it society, culture or generations. It has evolved and been adopted in many forms from one generation to another; attracting more talent to its list and adding more genres of fashion.


Rise of fashion as career

Fashion as a career involves a broad range of elements like trend forecasting, conceptualizing a theme, visualization of design in form of fashion illustration, technical courses like garment construction, quality and finishing as required in garment manufacturing unit. Not only this, many online fashion houses have emerged resulting in new challenges and trends.


RanjanaNowadays, online fashion websites hire a team of fashion designers, young fashion graduates, acquire business houses to cater to the needs of their customers. The industry is dynamic and expanding each day at a fast pace. Ranjana Singh, owner and designer, Somang Creations (AUSSEHEN) says, “The fashion industry is growing with every passing day. There were 40 million online shoppers in 2015 in India, and it is expected to hit around 250 million by 2020. Career in fashion industry is in a boom.”


You need to have a passion for this industry and keep yourself abreast of the growing market need to flourish in it. It requires students who can cope with the creatively changing trends, and come up with stunning designs.


Do I need some special attributes to become a successful designer?

The art of fashioning clothes requires crucial skill sets to become successful. Just being good at illustrations or creating ideas does not equip you with the required skills to pursue a career in fashion. You need to have qualities that are at par with the fashion industry standards.


latika-chopraLatika Chopra, a young fashion designer, running her online label ‘Mia Bella’ says, “For a designer, the most important skill is to believe and have faith in oneself, and enjoy the process. The final version is your art-piece, the passion behind it makes you a great designer. The end result of every designer is what they believe about it, and that’s the most crucial skill to inculcate - skills to believe. To be successful, you need to love fashion and not just create it.” 


You must also have the ability to fulfil primary fashion needs and the ability to appeal to your customers through designs. You need to be a visionary to cater to your customers’ fashion needs, and gradually become successful in this industry. Besides being a visionary, there are other skills required by a fashion enthusiast to become a designer.

Skills required to be a successful fashion designer


Strong business sense: You need to have excellent business skills to be able to calculate the cost and benefits of your potential decisions.

Good communication: It matters if you have all the required skills but are unable to express your thoughts and ideas to your team. Having good communication skills increases your confidence and helps towards a desired final outcome.

Competitiveness: Fashion industry is continuously evolving globally, and requires its professionals to evolve along with it. This needs you to be open to global challenges and competitions, thus, necessitating a spirit of competitiveness in you as a designer.


Creativity and keen observation: Creativity is the fuel of a designer. You need to be a great observer of the changing industry trends and incorporate similar trends in your designs.


Highly illustrative: Drawing skills are important for a designer. You need to have skills to present your design or an idea on paper.


Good eye: You must have a good eye for materials and colours

Lalit ChikkerCareer options

Career options are unlimited in the fashion industry. Over the years, India has produced some of the most well-known international designers. Lalit Chikker, Associate Dean, School of Fashion Design and Technology, Lovely Professional University, says, “With the increased demand for designer garments and emergence of various fashion brands, fashion design has gained prominence over the years.”


Where all you can work

As a part of curriculum, fashion designing students are asked to work under great brands and assist designers to learn the fundamentals of fashion and develop their own fashion master pieces, which eventually open a career path for them. “We let students decide for themselves as to which designer they want to work with and they go and work with them. We support them in building contacts and getting them placed for internships. Usually, students go for placements with the same designer, the one they interned with but if they do not wish to, then we guide them by realising their interest and then get them placed with the appropriate designer,” says Antonio Maurizio, Area Head, Fashion Design & Textiles, Pearl Academy.

Career Opportunities

  • Costume designer

  • Merchandiser

  • Teaching 

  • Textile manufacturing

  • Fashion publishers

  • Fashion programme producers

  • Film production units

  • Fashion designer

  • Fashion stylist

  • Store manager

  • Fashion consultant

  • Visual merchandiser

  • Production manager

  • Quality controller

  • Fashion photographer

Internship options

Some of the top Indian brands and online fashion houses to pursue internship after your fashion degree are: Hidesign, Allen Solly, Da Milano and Flying Machine and those for design are: Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop,; Strand of Silk,; Stylista; Elitify; Rock N Shop;, to name a few.


Salary talk

The starting salary of a designer varies widely, depending from one designer to another. It also varies drastically for a freelancer or a self-employed designer. According to a report by PayScale, an average salary of a fresh graduate in this field could be more or around Rs. 3. 51 lakhs per year. However, it varies according to a number of factors, most influencing being one’s experience. More the experience, more endorsements of your designs and money flow. Besides experience, if one has a degree from a good institution along with technical knowledge the salary range could start with Rs. 3 lakhs to Rs. 4.75 lakhs per year. If you are good at what you do, salary may never be a constraint.



Rise of e-commerce has also resulted in opportunities for fashion designers to work with e-retail giants like Amazon and Flipkart, E-bay, and other online fashion houses. Fashion styling is another key area where students can find placements. Students can also start their entrepreneurship venture to cater to niche audience in line with the emerging start-up culture. Chikker says that fashion is all about change. As per the demands of the market, the industry creates new spaces and avenues for new jobs at various levels. “Indian fashion retail market is in a boom and many national and international players are entering the scene contributing to the growth of apparel segment,” he said. So, do you want to be a change-maker?


Stay tuned to for more articles on Fashion Design

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