Beneath the veneer

Beneath the veneer

Most creative fields – fashion design, interior decoration and architecture, to name a few – are often considered to be rather glamourous alternatives to their mainstream counterparts.    From the outside, these industries appear to be fairly glitzy and a world apart from the tedious routine of a nine-to-five job.

The internal picture, however, is slightly different. While there’s no undermining the importance of creativity and innovation, this sort of profession generally boils down to pure, hard work. Neither is each day on the job spent on new and exciting projects – it can be as mundane and repetitive as any other job.

Metrolife speaks to a few students and teachers to find out whether creatively-inclined jobs are as glamourous as they seem to be. Vivek, a fashion and lifestyle-accessories student, agrees that people do sometimes underestimate the amount of work that actually goes into his field.

However, he feels that students are disabused of this notion as soon as they step into a design college environment.

“When it comes to fashion, it’s not just about being creative – it’s about a lot of hard work. I focus on visual merchandising – that includes creating retail environments that customers find attractive. Designing these props takes a lot of effort – one has to sit down, work and brainstorm a lot, if they want things to look good,” he observes.

Although he admits that outsiders might not understand this facet of the fashion industry, he claims that students are well-aware of the harsh reality. “One needs a closer perspective to understand this fact. As design students, we realise that hard work is a part of the job,” he explains.

Shanthala, a professor of jewellery design at the Vogue Institute of Fashion Technology, suggests that students need to realign their expectations from the industry. “Most of the students who get into design come because they believe in its glamourous side and because they think it would be easier than, say, a science-related course. This pre-conceived notion doesn’t always change during their time at college — but reality sinks in when they enrol themselves in internships. Fashion isn’t just about making illustrations — students have to get into garment construction and pattern-making, which can be quite detailed and technical,” she explains.

Yathindra Lakkana, a professor of design at NIFT, admits that creative careers aren’t necessarily as glitzy as they’re made out to be.  However, he believes that students have the ability to mould their career paths as they want — provided they take the initiative.
“It depends on one’s association with the industry and how informed they are.

Students who pick up good reading habits and put in the necessary effort can go into more specialised, in-depth fields — which means they will be doing exactly what they want to. I think every batch has about two or three students who understand real-mode challenges; and while most design students get into retail jobs, these select few manage to go beyond,” he observes.

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