By Michele Smith
We all know the hustle and bustle from the model’s perspective, pre and post runway; but many do not know what goes on the scenes from the designer’s point of view. At a glance, most would think the life of a fashion designer is glamorous, but you would be surprised on what truly goes on in a day to day basis. The one thing that holds true about the fashion design field is that one must put in their dues in order to be successful. From the creation of sketches, to working with models wearing their clothes on the runway, fashion design is an exhilarating yet demanding career.
Many fashion designers begin their day as early as 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. in the morning, and work straight through the evening. Most designers do not mind the long hours however, as they are truly passionate about their design work. Designers perform a variety of different duties depending on what project they are working on and for whom. Some will focus on sketches either by hand or computer design; and many research current fashion trends to make sure their fashion collections are timely. The research includes analyzing different fabrics, textures, colors and shapes; while at the same time researching the competition so they do not inadvertently copy another designer’s piece. This also includes visiting manufacturers to make sure they select the best fabric for the collection.
The designers who work for the larger firms tend to work in office settings, so communications skills are key. They need to communicate with office staff, sales, marketing and manufacturing employees in order to determine production costs; as well as work with buyers and forecasters in developing new fashion designs.
Another daily task for most designers is specification sheets. These sheets help the manufacturing process and consist of sketches (front and back), photo sizes and sample sizes. Additionally the specification sheets will have fabric swatches and will specify fiber content, lining information, trimming information, delivery date, size, range and style number.
Many designers are required to go out on location to fit the models with the various pieces from their collection. The designer typically carries all of the tools with them to make their garments look perfect. This even includes a portable steamer to remove wrinkles and sometimes designers have to do multiple fittings. The key here is to be organized – all accessories and garments should be organized and ready to go. Last, many designers bring a seamstress along to the fitting appointments to take care of any last minute alterations.
Some fortunate designers have the opportunity to travel to meet with others in the industry. This consists of attending runway shows, trade shows and meeting with fabric manufacturers to see the latest trends. Every day a designer may do any of the above tasks. They need to put specific skills into play such as design knowledge, creativity, artistic ability, communication skills and an understanding of fabric/textiles. The bottom line is that at the end of the day a designers job is certainly not boring.