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Module 1: Introduction to Fashion Design

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Types of Fashion Design and Careers
In this topic, you will look deeper into the different types of fashion design and the different sectors. You will gain an understanding of the importance of various skills which are required in this profession.  You will learn the various terminology that is used within the industry so you can enter the world of fashion confidently.
Types of Fashion Design
Now that you have a general idea of the core daily tasks and functions of a fashion designer, it is important to look deeper into the different types of fashion design. As we previously mentioned, there are also several sub-types of design that you could invest your time into. For instance, you could design accessories, footwear, or children’s clothing, among many other options.
Each speciality of design, whether is it accessories, clothing, scarves, or hats, fits into one of three main sectors. 
As a fashion designer, you should be familiar with these areas as you could be working for some or all of them throughout your career.
Mass Market
The first sector of design involves the most straightforward and accessible form of clothing, which is the mass market.
 Clothing that is designed for this area is ready to wear and available in mass quantities at standard measurements. Since this is the most affordable fashion production, the most inexpensive fabrics and materials are used to create designs. 
An example of a mass market store would be Harrods, Marks and Spencer, and Argos.
Ready-to-wear
If you want to create clothes that are a little bit more high-end and exclusive, ready-to-wear garments are a great fashion type. 
These garments are also referred to as prêt-a-porter, and there are a couple of benefits to the designer. They are sold in smaller amounts and bear the designer’s name on the label, but they are often more expensive.
The term ready-to-wear is also often referred to as ’off the rack’, and many haute couture designers will sell select pieces in both sectors.
 Haute Couture
You might remember earlier in the previous topic learning about Charles Frederick Worth, who was the first fashion designer. Worth also established the first haute couture house in Paris in 1858, which is a fashion style used by designers like Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Dior. 
As a designer, haute couture is considered the pinnacle of fashion and a style type that you will want to remember, but it isn’t one that you can learn in any book. 
Designers who specialise in this sector work on crafting original creations that cost thousands of pounds. 
Most of the time, the designer will work directly with clients and arrange custom fittings and alterations. This form of design requires a great deal of skill and the garment takes twice the amount of time to make.
Haute Couture Guidelines:
If you choose to open an exclusive design house and would like to have your firm represented under this label, you will need to adhere to some strict requirements. 
The following guidelines are set forth by The Fédération Françoise de la Couture and The French Ministry of Industry, and they must be followed by designers who wish to carry the haute couture label.
Guideline 1
They must own an atelier in Paris with at least fifteen full-time employees
Guideline 2
They also must own a workshop in Paris that employs no less than twenty staff
Guideline 3
The fashion house must present a collection of both daytime and evening wear to the Paris press twice a year for review
Guideline 4
Create custom made to fit clothing for private clients and provide personal fittings
Is a career in Fashion Design for you?
To work as a fashion designer, you should have a passion for clothing, accessories, or the fashion industry. 
Since fashion design is a form of art, it would also help if you are artistic or have a creative eye, although it is not necessarily a requirement. 
The fashion industry is very competitive and constantly growing, so while there are some skills you can learn, an aspiring designer should possess some or all the same skills as seasoned professionals.
Communication Skills
As you go throughout your day, you communicate verbally and non-verbally more than you realise. Some people are naturally excellent communicators, and some people need to work at it. Since there can be several people working together to create a garment, a fashion designer should be skilled in communicating with clients, employees, models, and other designers.
It is always important to remember that anytime you are providing work where you will be offering a service to a client, miscommunication can always be a factor. Let’s say, for example, you measure a customer for a dress. A poor communicator would rely on industry jargon or designer terminology, and in return, the customer might feel confused and will not communicate a vital need or want. 
Try always to connect and bridge any gaps with your clients, employees, and co-workers.
Knowledge of Current Fashion Trends
One of the most important skills that you should have as a fashion designer is a knowledge of fashion trends. A fashion designer is not only passionate about fashion; they study the runway and predict industry changes. 
Fashion is a constantly evolving industry and what is hot one minute, will change the next. 
Many times, a look from other eras will come back full-force, and a designer must be ready to take, and embrace the change.
Computer Experience
Many designers will work with sketch books and storyboards, which means you should have some experience with drawing and artistry. 
However, modern day influences have brought technology into the world of fashion. Over the decades, CAD, or Computer-Aided Design, has changed the process. 
Now, designers can sketch drawings by hand, transfer them onto the computer, and view their designs on virtual models. 
Knowledge of Materials
A fashion designer will work with a variety of fabrics, fibres, materials, and patterns, which means you should have an eye for the many different materials. This includes the origin and production of different fibres and nylons as well as textiles and yarns.
Strong Sewing Skills
Any design that you create, you can sew on your own to quickly view on a model or mannequin, which means you should possess strong sewing skills. Sewing is a learned skill, so it is not a mandatory requirement; however, you should know which material works best for what you are creating.
Drawing and Sketching Skills
Once you have decided which sector you will be working in, you will want to begin sketching an idea and creating a garment. For this to work, a designer will need to have strong drawing skills, which enables them to sketch their design on a storyboard. This is the first step in bringing your vision to life.
Advantages of Fashion Design
Before making any decisions, you should look at the advantages and disadvantages of working in the fashion industry. 
 Advantages
If you entered the fashion industry as a designer, the chances are good that you are an artistic soul who loves creating clothing or accessories. With that being said, once you have completed design, it is very satisfying to see your work worn on other people. 
In this industry, you can harness your creative side, have fun, and reap benefits in the form of fame and fortune. Fashion design is one of the few jobs that offers a good paying, consistent income for your expression. Also, fashion design awards you the opportunity to start your own small business.
 Disdvantages of Fashion Design
Now that you are aware of the advantages, you should review the disadvantages of the career:
As a fashion designer, you will be required to work long hard hours to meet your demands, especially during peak times like Fashion Week. 
The job can also be very demanding when meeting deadlines and harsh criticisms. Additionally, some clients can be difficult to please, and it may take some time to build up your reputation. Also, the fashion industry is exhaustingly competitive, and fashion trends are always changing.