Dwijendra Kumar on the Indian fashion landscape

By Our Reporter
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Dwijendra Kumar // Pic Supplied

The Indian fashion landscape has undergone a remarkable evolution, firmly establishing itself as a prominent industry. Presently, individuals are increasingly conscious of their appearance, with the younger generation showcasing their chic attire and distinct styles. Their clothing choices extend beyond just following current trends; they also gravitate towards specific brands.

This surge in fashion awareness has ignited intense competition among garment manufacturers, each vying to maintain their top position through the consistent creation of trendy attire.

The role of a fashion designer encompasses a myriad of responsibilities. These span from conceiving original designs to employing technical expertise in garment cutting and styling. In the context of working with a garment house, a designer’s central duty involves generating new designs and overseeing the production process.

In his new book A Career Guide to Fashion Designing, Dwijendra Kumar, a prolific contributor with more than 300 writeups in leading fashion publications, offers comprehensive insights into the roles and possibilities within the fashion design realm. Additionally, he has also participated in All India Radio’s External Division program, authored the book 25 Careers in Fashion, Textile and Garment, and delivered lectures on Fashion Journalism at esteemed institutions. In a candid conversation with The Indian Sun, Delhi-based D Kumar sheds light on these facets.

Can you share your personal experiences and insights on how the Indian fashion scene has evolved over the years?

When I started writing about fashion, say, in 1994, fashion shows were a gala affair. People were invited to have fun and meet other people from the industry and media and that was how a designer promoted designs and new collections. Today, we have Fashion Design Council of India organising Fashion Weeks on the lines of Paris, Milan etc ,.showcasing latest collections by fashion designers to prospective buyers from across the world.

Could you elaborate on the ways in which garment manufacturing units compete in the current market and strive to maintain their top positions?

Indian textile and garment marker is worth approx. 150 million dollars and garment market constitute around 40 per cent of it. Gone  are the days when people used to visit their favorite tailors to get dresses stitched. Today, they select their dresses from a wide  range of diverse designs, cuts and styles on display in various malls, shop windows or advertisements on social media. Good brand name and using digital space properly is the key to success in garment market in the post pandemic scenario.

In your opinion, how do you see the balance between following current trends and creating original designs in the fashion industry?

Following trends is important for a fashion designer to survive in the highly competitive market. But since India has a glorious past in terms of crafts and embroidery, they should keep innovating on how to create unique designs by blending tradition with current trends. Hi-fashion is all about uniqueness, creativity and innovations.

You mentioned various specialised courses for the fashion industry. Could you provide examples of these courses and their significance in enhancing one’s career prospects in fashion designing?

There is little knowledge regarding multiple roles that fashion designers can play including those of Merchandisers,  Stylists, Image Consultants, Visual Merchandisers, Fashion Directors, Models, Accessory Designers etc. While all leading organisations in the field provide courses in fashion designing, National Institute of Fashion Designing, a Ministry of Textile, Government of India institution offers various specialised courses in the field.

Book cover of “A Career Guide to Fashion Designing” by Dwijendra Kumar // Pic supplied
What inspired you to write A Career Guide to Fashion Designing, and what unique value does it offer to readers interested in pursuing a career in fashion design?

I have been writing on fashion since 1994 and covering various events in the field. Have worked with trade magazines also. I have this strong urge to share with the youth of India the job opportunities that are available in the fashion industry which comprise textile, garment and lifestyle segments. In fact, after agriculture this industry offers maximum jobs in India. Recent policy initiatives such as Production Link Incentives, Tax rebates, setting up of seven textile parks, setting target of 100 billion dollars’ worth exports of textiles and garment augur well for the professionals in the field. But there is little awareness regarding it.

The USP of the book is that it provides detailed information about fashion designing as a career very lucidity to the readers. Also various career opportunities available to trained fashion designers beyond the realm of designing.

In your book, do you also cover the concept of creating a fashion brand or business? If so, could you give us a glimpse of the insights shared in that section?

Under the chapter heading Fashion Designers: Duties and Responsibilities, I have discussed how fashion designers can become fashion merchandisers, fashion retailers and fashion marketers. A good product designed by a fashion designer needs to be marketed well. In fact, there are more opportunities for fashion designers if they opt for a role in business of fashion.

How do you envision the future of the fashion industry in India, considering the ongoing evolution and the emergence of new technologies and consumer preferences?

The Textile Ministry has set target of 250 billion dollars’ worth textile production by 2030. That being 100 billion dollars over and above the current estimated market size of 150 billion dollars. So, the future appears quite bright for the industry. The China plus One strategy being adopted by many countries too offers India a golden opportunity to cash in on the changing global scenario. Further, our country has vast resources in terms of availability of raw materials, experience in related crafts and number of trained professionals.

(A Career Guide to Fashion Designing is available on Amazon)

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