A trendy business
IN Malaysia, fashion is quite subjective with how it is dependent on Western influences and local designers’ abilities to adapt to evolving fashion trends.
Courses in fashion today incorporate modules on running a business and opening a retail line. Thus, besides designing, students are equipped with the ability to tackle fashion merchandising, retailing and business management.
Even though the fashion world is much denser now than when esteemed local designer Datuk Bernard Chandran entered the market in 1993, the fact that newer brands such as Ardana Haran are flourishing today means that there is ample space for aspiring fashion influencers to make their mark in the industry.
To be a well-rounded individual in today’s fashion world, you need to do more than just design an eyecatching outfit. You need to know how to package, market and sell your product in a way that has mass appeal.
There are several courses that incorporate the technical and practical aspects of fashion with subjects that cover business studies, trend forecasting, socio-geographic studies, economics, public relations and brand management.
Other subjects directly relevant to fashion design aim to develop students’ creativity and innovativeness.
Some courses even include ways to research income demography or psychography of an intended audience. The reason behind this is to not limit a fashion student’s career choices to the area of designing.
With an education that is both creative and practical, a fashion student can consider careers in label management, marketing and model management instead of just fashion design.
These skills are also beneficial for people who have their hearts set on being designers, as they will have the knowledge and ability to run their own brand in the future.
For instance, fashion merchandising is an area that students can look into. This job is suited to those who see potential in others’ designs and have the marketing, audience and sales know-how to advertise designs and generate exposure for a brand.
Another popular area in fashion is styling. When you see your favourite actress on the red carpet dressed in a tasteful explosion of tulle outlined with handstitched embroidery and wearing contrasting jewels as accessories, do you know that the look is the result of a fashion stylist’s hard work? This stylist attends various fashion shows and scouts designer boutiques to assemble the perfect outfits for his clients, who are often high-profile celebrities.
If people compliment you on your fashion taste, it is an indication of your talent in the area and it would be remiss to not turn it into a career. A fashion course can aid you in developing knowledge about material compatibility, pattern making, colour theory and coordination. Most fashion design courses offered by tertiary education institutions prepare aspiring fashion influencers for a wide range of career options.
The best ways to decide which course is suited to your aspirations are to discuss your options with a career guidance counsellor at your institution of choice, attend education fairs or talk to fashion course graduates.