HOW ARE YOU SO SURE YOU’RE A FASHION DESIGNER AND NOT A TAILOR?
To excel in any field, you must first understand how the system works. And the next is to decide exactly where you want to stand.
Likewise if you want to standout in the fashion industry, not only do you have to learn how to cut and sew; fashion is beyond that.
You need to understand the industry, then decide exactly where you want to belong.
I’m still surprised that today, there are still a number of people thinking that the classic, or the professional way to refer to a tailor is to call her a fashion designer.
You will even see a tailor referring to herself as a fashion designer.
*please note that when I say HER, I’m referring to both male and female in the industry.*
In fact some tailors hate to be called a tailor.
I must tell you that this is completely a professional crime.
Though no fashion police will arrest you for that, just that the consequences is more than being locked up in a fashion police cell.
You want to know what’s going to happen to you?
You either lose valuable customers, or they start to undervalue you.
Because today, customers are more enlightened than before. They are well informed and know what’s going on in the industry.
And if you’re working with such customer, and you make mess of your profession in front of her, by calling yourself what you’re not, she is going to have that impression that you’re one of those road side tailors.
This might in turn affect your business with her.
I’m sure you don’t want that to happen to you.
So this is it.
You don’t become a fashion designer by calling yourself a fashion designer. You become a fashion designer by doing what fashion designers do.
But before that, let’s start with the job of a tailor.
WHO IS A TAILOR?
A tailor is a person whose occupation is to make or alter garments (such as suits, jackets, and dresses) typically to fit a particular person.
As a Nigerian, this definition does not completely depict the job of a tailor.
So let’s list out the features of a typical Nigerian tailor.
• Brand name
They don’t pay much attention to picking of name. They just go by their nickname or pick any name that comes to their mind. There’s nothing like building a brand.
• Work / Skill
They make custom-made wears. They do this by taking accurate body measurement of their customers and make something out of it.
Therefore they have good cutting and sewing skills.
• Fabric selection
Oftentimes, customers are the ones to provide the fabric or materials needed to make the garment.
Other times, the tailor also do the job of selecting fabrics for her customers.
The customer will tell her the kind of fabric he wants, and the tailor goes ahead to get them.
In fact some tailors do buy and sell fabrics to their customers.
More than 90% of tailors have style magazines, or what they call catalog, on reserve.
In fact, tailors now go to Instagram or Pinterest to download style pictures.
Because that’s where customers get to choose the desired style they want the tailor to make for them.
So, instead of bringing out catalog, they just give their phone to customers. Thanks to technology 😊
Well, all I’ve mentioned is just an overview of the features of a typical Nigerian tailor.
And this is what many tailors do that make them think they are fashion designers.
WHO’S A FASHION DESIGNER?
A fashion designer is someone who studies fashion trend, sketches design, selects material, and have part in all aspect of production.
They are the brain behind every garment production. They decide the shape, color, fabrics, and everything about how the garment should look.
A fashion designer does not necessarily have to know how to sew or join clothings together or draft pattern.
Oftentimes, what they do is create collection of ready-to-wear. Which is most times seasonal.
The main difference between a fashion designer and a tailor is creation.
A fashion designer creates something original, while a tailor copy what’s already created by a fashion designer for her customers.
That is more of the reason why Nigerian tailors can’t do without having, at least, a style magazine. The styles in those magazines are created by other designers or tailors.
So they tell customers to select from the style magazine, and replicate whatever design their customers picked, sometimes using different fabric.
Tailors also work in fashion houses. They work hand in hand with fashion designers and pattern drafters. But their job is to sew.
A fashion designer can do what a tailor does, but a tailor can not take the place of a designer.
But tables have turned. Those famous designers are breaking the rules. Which is fine.
Now you see a tailor showcasing her designs at the runway show.
And ever since I posted the article on collaboration, I’ve been receiving messages from tailors showing interest.
But many don’t know how to go about creating their own designs, showcasing their work, making people buy, and building a brand.
If you’re a tailor and ready to upgrade, there’s a course coming up soon at ProFashion Designers Platform. You don’t want to miss that.
Yes, you can be a tailor and at the same time a fashion designer (if you have what it takes). And you can be a fashion designer and also run a tailoring business.
For instance, Yomi Casual is a tailor and at the same time a fashion designer. Likewise Kola Kuddus.
If you’re a tailor, and you want to start showcasing your creative work, you first need to have a fashion designing skills, it’s not something you just jump into.