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Fashion design, forecast, colours and trends

By Dr K S Murthy, Pidilite Industries Ltd

 SDC EC in association with the B D Somani Institute of Art and Fashion Technology in Mumbai, India organised this event which was attended by faculty, students and invited guests.

The author and motivational speaker Tony Gaskins said “If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.” The message was create a niche for yourself and be the best in your field.

Rifali Chandra

Rifali Chandra

Ms Rifali Chandra spoke on colours and trends. Ms Chandra is a Fashion and Trend Forecaster and Fashion Designer (Founder at EDENFISTA). She graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, and has worked for a trend forecasting agency and showcased her collections for men and women. She made the following points:

  • Colours and trends are key elements of forecasting. Fashion forecasting opens up pattern making, construction and illustration.
  • How colour affects us: Visually and emotionally. Research says 60% of what you like or reject happens because of colour. Colours used in the right proportions give meaning to your product.
  • How to evaluate colour trends? Where do we get that knowledge from? If a certain colour is trending in the north, does it also trend in the south? Climate and culture are important. Customise colour trends by studying entertainment, nature, magazines, fashion shows, trade shows, catalogues, lifestyle and street fashion. Every colour has a meaning.
  • The power of colour is that it can completely alter your experience: it can make you dislike something.
  • Thinking strategies – being in design or fashion, you need to have a strategy. Fashion institutes help you train yourself, follow steps to achieve and create your dream design. You need to know how to evolve as a designer. Create two things, technically the same but with different colours to know which is pleasing.
  • Opt for creative thinking over critical thinking. Creative thinking helps to open your mind, there is no refinement of perfection, and you need to just create it. The emotions you have in your mind when you are creating. Ask-try-do.
  • Colour guidelines according to seasons: what season you will be portraying and set your colours accordingly.
  • Learning is the key to success: evaluation is the result of what you have learnt and applied.
Shivangi Lahoty

Shivangi Lahoty

The second speaker was Ms Shivangi Lahoty, Creative Director at Inaaya (gift of God – Arabic meaning of the name) and young designer. She graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, and she spoke on her background and brand launch. Her journey as a designer began under the guidance of Mrs Ritu Kumar, fashion designer. Her aim is to make Inaaya an internationally recognised label and grow with the workers and artisans together. She made the following points:

  • Observations on her US visit: Shivangi expressed that muslin priced at ₹35 per meter in India is sold at $2 per yard in New York, Chiffon fabric priced at $120 per yard against ₹300. She lamented we don’t seem to value what India offers us.
  • Project brief: Her urge was to find eco-friendly cheaper ways of design and waste management. Her ideas found their way to the SDC International Design Competition platform, where she won the India heat and went forward to the grand final in 2014 in China. Sashiko is an old technique of upcycling in Japan and India. Her sketches were displayed in mood board inspirations. Colour has to be of the utmost importance and that laid the foundation for her graduation show and the project made her work on colour theory. She advised to make sure that the coloured fabric is soothing and has synergy. SDC is judging you on how efficiently you use colour. In the national heat she made some garments and took them to China and that trip and experience drove her thought process in fashion. The interaction with the best designer students around the globe was beneficial.
  • Design development: there are 7.4 billion people in the world and so many designers are coming up every year so how do you make a mark for yourself and become that one person that everybody looks up to? Are you passionate about what you are doing, are your designs an extension of who you are, is it something deep down in your heart? Then you are heading in the right direction.
  • The birth of Inaaya: a collection made out of cost reduction and used designer waste. She has sourced her fabric from six designers across Mumbai, worked with a senior designer and attributed her progress to the mentor.
  • Upcycling: Shivangi went about sourcing fabrics, the idea was to create from what is unused and left over. Her final collection had a lot of texturing. Every fabric stall you go to the garments are made in Bangladesh, India and China. You have all the resources and every state of India is able to cooperate. Kolkata and Maharashtra have so much to offer.
  • About Inaaya: It is a stable brand four months old and tries to do as much for the environment as possible. All the inks and colours used are certified. They tried incorporating the correct ethics from the beginning. If you are growing, grow with the people who are actually working for you. Keep exploring and you will end up enjoying it.
  • Fashion show for Bio oil: This was done in three days and landed in the national dailies carrying the message if you are starting from student life, be an opportunist and do not give up. If you say no, you never know what could happen, if you say yes, you have a chance of making it right. So participate in competitions, volunteer at events, and you will definitely learn. If you win or lose, you will have gained experience and will be better prepared next time.
  • Believe in two things – believe in yourself, make it happen with energy and work and the possibility will take you on the right course. Secondly, nothing happens by itself, you need to put in your heart and soul. Do it, make it happen and there is no greater joy than seeing it happen.
  • Vision for future: the Inaaya journey has just begun and is taking baby steps.
Swetesh Ambade

Swetesh Ambade

The final presentation was Finding your niche? Mr Swetesh Ambade, fashion designer, illustrator and lifestyle enthusiast gave an interactive presentation. He graduated in fashion design from NIFT and is a Partner of Swetesh & Suveera, fashion design in menswear and womenswear. He gave the following advice:

  • What makes you choose to work in the fashion industry and what can you offer as a professional?
  • Why are you in fashion? For a fashion designer, it is important to be fearless and expressive, to have self-confidence, to follow trends whilst being different to others.
  • Fashion as an industry is vast. Understanding its various segments is important. The segments include apparel, accessories, textile, lifestyle, media communications, photography for events, e-commerce, fashion forecasting, styling, costume design, education and many more.
  • Retail industry: within retail there are luxury designs and high end garments, mid-price, mass market and unorganised due to no records and this segment could be the biggest in India.
  • Differentiating design into categories of wear like women’s, lingerie, men’s, children and infant. The scope is unbelievable – western wear, ethnic, casual, sports, uniforms, street, utility, evening (party), swim, formal, semi formal, bridal, lounge, active, resort, wedding, seasonal, and occasional (festivals).
  • Textile/fabrics: there is a huge range.
  • Explore your interests, strength and weaknesses, then figure out your passion and focus. Create your vision.
  • Enhance your skills: To be the best in your field, you need to find out who is already the best and follow that person or his work.
  • Creative ideas vs. commercial viability: you need to create the right kind of balance.
  • Gain industry experience: take the opportunities of internships, field visits and participating in events. Be there and never stay back.
  • Network: Connect with professionals starting with your teachers. They will give you ideas, suggestions and direction and meet industry people particularly in your niche area.
  • Find mentors/guides: you need to reach out to someone who has already achieved. Most of them are open to helping you.
  • Business management: Besides creativity, you have to make money as well. Find people who could help you.
  • Invest in continuing education and growth: Do not hesitate to invest in books and seminars.

Mr Ambade concluded that in today’s world with so many possibilities, you should not restrict yourself just doing what was taught in college but explore other avenues to find your niche.

SDC EC organises regular events, check out details on the website.

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