Colour, texture, space, lines, patterns, silhouette, shape, proportion, balance, rhythm and harmony, etc. are part of a design that makes a garment visually appealing and comfortable to wear. From sketching the ideas on a paper to stitching a piece of fabric into a beautiful garment, a designer follows many techniques and goes through many stages. We spoke to the design expert Ms. Shalini Sharma, Principal, ATDC Gurugram to know more about apparel designing. This Skill Talk is about how to make design education relevant in the time of fast-changing fashion.
Q: How are you creating awareness among the youth about the importance of design in the current times? How are you preparing them for the competition outside?
A: ATDC and its courses have a big impact on youth. In our courses, we teach the youth not only fashion but also the consumer and the market. As we know, consumers are smart these days; they have many choices. So, students need to understand the new trends, new developments, and fashion forecasts. Students should also understand the consumer’s requirement, how much they can spend, what kind of expectation do they have from the garment. We equip our students to study the market well and consumer preference. So, they start designing the apparel smartly, which is accepted by many and is also industry-friendly.
Also, sustainability is a major concern now. We at ATDC, focus on the sustainability aspect of the clothing. From the last 2-3 years, we have been using natural fabrics like Khadi to train the students. If you’ve watched any of the fashion shows organized by ATDC in recent years, the garments are entirely made from Muslin.
Q: Could you tell us how challenging it is to teach design in the context of apparel making?
A: Teaching design is much more than bringing out amazing things out of a student’s mind and making something out of fabric. Innovation and application of fashion forecasts start right from selecting the fabric itself. Choosing the color as per the season, looking for brilliant accessories out of many available in the market, each of these becomes a building block of a complete garment. Students must be aware of new trends, new embroidery, and new techniques. Each and every step of designing is a time-taking process.
Our fashion is becoming a fast-fashion trend. Hence, we cannot afford to lose time as the cycle of fashion is getting smaller; with competition becoming fierce, size-wise, we have to keep updating our collection. The role of creativity becomes very important here. If we continue to sell the same variety over a period of time, nobody will purchase it. We have to keep experimenting with designs based on the new things available in the market.
Q: Executing a design is as important as designing it. How are you ensuring this implementation skill through your courses?
A: Designing and execution are interrelated. In our courses, we teach all our designers about every aspect of the design. To understand a design right from the basics, we train them starting from a thought process, pattern-making, stitching, hand embroidery and every other stage in designing. We not only teach them modern techniques but also traditional embroidery by incorporating them into our curriculum. Even for students who have enrolled themselves for short-term courses at ATDC, we give them an opportunity to take part in the fashion shows organized by ATDC. Here, they will be able to showcase their design as well as execution skills. Overall, we teach our students the designing process, how to research design and how to execute it.
Related Article: Sustainable skills, speed, and creativity are critical to the Apparel industry – Read more: https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/sustainable-skills-speed-and-creativity-are-critical-to-the-apparel-industry/
Q: Tell us about how continuous industry connect is achieved at ATDC?
A: We have very good exposure to the industry. The industry has always supported ATDC and received its students well. They approach us for the placements of our students. They have always accepted our request for an industrial visit for our students for practical exposure. And they also send their experts to our college for expert lectures. So, in terms of practical exposure, taking in students for internships and placements, the industry has always been open and has been extending its support to ATDC.
Q: How is technology impacting the design? How well are the students prepared to work with the latest technologies?
A: Design and technology go hand-in-hand. At ATDC, we teach our students the latest software to design a piece of fabric. So, whenever they get a thought in mind, they can immediately design it on the computer. For each stage of designing, they use a different application. For instance, for designing they might use CAD and for pattern-making they will use a different application. Our design labs look like a production floor of a company, with the high-end machinery and a complete industrial setup. Therefore, the training is completely done as per the industry requirement.
Q: As the apparel industry has a huge potential to grow, are you also preparing your students to be entrepreneurs or launch themselves as an individual designer?
A: The world of fashion is truly vast. And our courses prepare students to be ready across the creative network in the fashion industry. We impart all the required knowledge to them to come up with a good outfit.
We train them in technical knowledge, merchandising, costing, basics of marketing, how to innovate new designs and most importantly how to get funds from the banks. This knowledge will help them in setting up their own boutique. We also have ATDC Shoppe, where students can sell the garments they have made. This gives them confidence and boosts their morale in their initial years of setting up a boutique of their own.
Q: What is your message for the young people who want to get into this industry?
A: The apparel industry has great potential and a lot of good career options. We have many job roles related to fashion and apparel designing. After the competition of the course, the students can work in retail and e-commerce, or be a freelance fashion consultant, or start their own boutique. So, the options are many and it gets them international exposure as well.