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April 25, 2018

Do you want to be a Fashion Designer or work in the Fashion/ Clothing Industry?

Do you want to be a Fashion Designer or work in the Fashion/Clothing Industry?

It is important to know the difference between the fashion and clothing industry if you are considering a career in this field. Fashion design deals more with the generation of ideas whereas the clothing industry produces the garments that are generated from the design ideas.

Being a fashion designer, would mean that you would have to be a small business entrepreneur, where you would have your own premises, cultivate individual clients and generate sales and income this way.  

Fashion design and the manufacture of fashionable clothing are two different areas of the same industry.

Fashion design is the beginning of the process, where ideas for a range of clothing are conceived, tested out and then once they are accepted, they are sold to the retail stores.

Once the range is sold, orders can then be put together so that a factory can mass manufacture them. Once we begin to reproduce clothing in multiples it becomes clothing production.

Fashion design and clothing production generate different employment opportunities.

The fashion design process involves the following areas:

·       Trend research

·       Creative design

·       Pattern making

·       Buying and selling


If you have your own business, you would perform all the above functions and not have different people doing those different aspects. If you worked in a large company, it would probably have separate departments for the above functions.


Once you have received orders from clients for your range of garments, production can then begin.


This will take place in a factory, either a small factory or a large one depending on the number of garment units you want to reproduce. Some factories specialise in manufacture only and are called CMT’s  - an abbreviation for CUT, MAKE AND TRIM.  This means that the factory does no design, but only manufactures. Small designers who do not have their own factories can then design and take their garments to be manufactured in the CMT and pay them for the manufacture only.


The clothing production process employs many more people because factories need many more employees to run successfully.  Employment opportunities include:

·       Pattern makers

·       Layout and cutting technicians

·       Machinists

·       Quality checkers

·       Supervisory staff

·       Production managers, etc


Once production has taken place, the orders are then delivered to the retail stores where they are put on display so that customers can come in and buy goods that are “Ready to Wear”.


Therefore, the retail sector is another whole area of employment that exists in the fashion industry.

In large retail stores, one also requires merchandisers who co-ordinate the product development calendar and all related activities around the fashion stories within the stores. They manage the seasonal themes and they may do sourcing, shopping the competition, analysing sales, markdowns and trends within the retail operation.

In the large chain stores, quality control staff ensure that the goods are thoroughly inspected before they go into the stores to make sure they are up to the correct standard. Part of their job will be to visit the various branches and do random checks to make sure that the goods are well displayed, clean, pressed and look their best on display. Any goods that do not meet their criteria are removed immediately.

These are just some of the jobs available in the broader fashion and clothing industry.  

Entrepreneurship is a growing area where we see lots of new young South African designers emerging, who create their own unique designs, market and sell them. They can make use of platforms such as the various fashion weeks that run around the country.

If any of these industries tickle your fancy, then you should definitely look more into studying Fashion Design Full time at Oakfields College.

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