Not everybody is meant to be a menswear fashion designer. It takes a very precise set of skills to excel in this very subjective field — one where there are no real set rules on what’s right or what’s wrong. The truth is that a large chunk of being a quality menswear fashion designer boils down to impeccable taste. However, other factors also play a role, as you will soon see.
Talent is defined as a natural inclination or special ability that permits you to perform an activity extraordinarily well. Since a career in fashion requires great taste, you need a whole lot of talent for the arts to succeed in it. How do you know if you have talent? Usually, you can tell, but below are some questions that might help you figure it out:
- Can you easily match colours?
- Can you detect the differences between very similar colours?
- Do fashion styles evoke emotion in you?
- Is it easy for you to piece together outfits?
- an you imagine how something looks if you were to move or rearrange it?
- Are you able to quickly compare objects, numbers, pictures and patterns?
- Can you identify very subtle patterns?
If these things come easy to you, then you could very well possess a talent for art! However, talent is only one part of the picture.
As a menswear fashion designer, you must be able to communicate well with others. You’ll need to be able to relate well enough with clients to determine their exact requirements and specifications. This means being able to pay attention, listen to others, comprehend points being made and act polite. Furthermore, fashion designing isn’t done alone. You must deal with advertising specialists, public relationships specialists and even other fashion designers.
Some of the specific abilities you need are listed below:
- Explain your ideas in a clear way without using jargon.
- Accept constructive criticism from others.
- Work out any disputes that might pop up.
- Keep clients calm. Sometimes, they worry.
- Lead others if you have a team.
Everyone must crawl before they can walk, and this just happens to also apply to menswear fashion designers. In particular, you need to be a successful fashion designer (to get in the door, actually), and you need to be educated. This may require a degree in fashion design, art, fashion merchandising, design, etc.
The second thing you absolutely need is internship experience. It’s much harder to get a full-time job in menswear fashion design if you don’t pursue internships during your time in school. These internships give you valuable real-life experience that employers greatly appreciate. They also make it much easier to find permanent employment after you graduate. In fact, most internships lead directly to full-time positions.
Skills, Skills, Skills
Skills are not the same thing as talent. Possessing talent makes learning skills easier, but you still have to do the hard work and LEARN the skills. What sort of skills do you need as a fashion designer?
- How to sew, as well as draw.
- How to create unique patterns.
- How to develop basic shapes through patterns.
- Understand the differences between fabrics.
- Be aware of all current and PAST (ideally) fashion trends.
- Experience with computer-aided design.
- Knowledgeable about textiles.
As a men’s fashion designer, you’re going to need to solve a lot of problems. Clients will come to you with a plethora of ideas that you will then need to implement. This requires more than just creativity. You need to be able to analyse ideas, think logically, draw conclusions, follow guidelines, develop new rules, concentrate on tasks and develop full-fledged solutions.
Fashion is a lot more than just style and grace. It is a global business phenomenon driven by supply, demand, competition, etc. As a result, to be a quality designer, you must understand the mechanics behind the business world of fashion. Some of the precise skills you need are included below:
- You need to know how to negotiate a contract.
- You must be extremely organized.
- You should understand the basics of economics.
- You should be able to make educated forecasts pertaining to future fashion trends.
- You need to understand basic marketing principles.
- You need to be able to perform financial planning and analysis.
Realize upfront that your job will likely require more than just designing clothes. The fashion industry is highly competitive, so you will need to know how to market yourself, how to deal with merchandisers/buyers and how to establish a reputation.
Last but certainly not least, you need to be passionate about menswear fashion! How familiar are you with trends in this industry? You see, menswear fashion is about more than just going to the mall and opining about the latest men’s clothes. You need to be aware of top trends, of top fashion critics, of top fashion blogs and of course of top fashion magazines! You should in effect be living and breathing menswear fashion on a daily basis!