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Why Fashion Graduates Should Work with Start-ups

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From a young age, Sasha loved adorning trendy clothes, choosing bright and stylish accessories matching her outfits. Her friends and family alike were always wowed by her fashion sense.

Her younger siblings and cousins always took suggestions from her on ways to dress up for prom night or a family wedding. Sasha was focused and had set her mind to become a wardrobe stylist one day. Although her parents warned her about the limited job options in the fashion industry, Sasha was sure she wanted to pursue her passion and would be able to make money out of it.

Giving her greater confidence about landing a lucrative job were the fashion start-ups that had begun sprouting in India with full vigour about 5 years ago. Today, she works with one of the industry frontrunners in fashion e-commerce. Now it’s not just her wardrobe but also her life and career that are the envy of all her friends and family.

Fashion start-ups in India are giving wings to the dreams of many young fashion lovers and students. They are making deep inroads in various specialised segments of the industry such as bespoke tailoring, personalisation-focussed retail, rental clothing, etc.

They have not only bridged the gap between online and retail outlets but have been able to stand out from the clutter by focusing on specific consumer groups, making them the ideal canvas for young fashion students to express their creativity and chart a lucrative career path.

With the advent of fashion start-ups, there is much more than meets the eye for fashion schools and institutes. They have been able to provide truly unbridled opportunities for fashion graduates. Students no longer need to restrict themselves to just designing clothes and struggling for that coveted fashion week slot.

Fashion start-ups have particularly broadened the threshold of this very limitation by diversifying the workspace. From groundbreaking aesthetics to design skills, to unique tech advancements, start-ups in fashion have given the ability to graduates to tap that part of their skills which would otherwise have gone unnoticed in a conventional fashion-focused organisation.

Job Options for Fashion Graduates

Just like any other company, fashion start-ups expect strong discipline, deadline commitment and a high dose of diligence and creativity from prospective job holders.

The variety of opportunities in this space attracts graduates with different objectives and capabilities. While some start-ups in the design space seeking fresh visuals require artistic ingenuity and novelty, others in e-commerce require business know-how and management skills.

The numerous career alternatives comprise a multitude of job descriptions, be it sourcing stints in e-commerce start-ups, or user interface design aesthetics for a brand new fashion app.

Fashion graduates finally have a plethora of challenging opportunities thanks to new age start-ups. Some of the leading names of fashion start-ups are Roposo, Rock N Shop, StalkBuyLove, The Women’s Store, Trendable and StyleDotme.

In India’s bourgeoning and crowded e-commerce sector, these start-ups are not only carving a solid niche for themselves but are also coming up strong in a sector dominated by big horizontal marketplaces.

Which specialisation do start-ups usually look for in graduates?

Graduates from apparel, shoes, or accessories design background can apply for boutique start-ups focused on fast fashion inspired from international players like ASOS, etc.

Online marketplaces and e-commerce players recruit for profiles which incorporate sourcing, purchasing products and maintaining vendor relations. While they are not very different from conventional buying/merchandising profiles, e-commerce start-ups offer a plethora of opportunities by involving in-depth knowledge of general trends and demands relating to fabrics, colours and shapes, a keen eye for detail and precision, and a vast array of vendors to list from.

The other most important specialisation and skill sets are graphics and design. Almost every start-up with a creative drive looks for fresh design skills for branding or designing user interfaces.

Remuneration is good and will keep you hooked for long

Fashion start-ups work on a bootstrapped mode at the onset, much like any other start-up. However, the ones who manage to demonstrate sustainability and viability get well-funded and offer above industry-average remuneration packages to deserving candidates.

While the starting salary ranges between Rs 3 lakh and 6 lakh, a fashion graduate with 3-4 years of work experience, industry-relevant skill sets and specialisation can easily earn a package of Rs 12-15 lakh per annum.

Apart from CTC, these start-ups often offer performance-based pecuniary benefits as well as ESOPs (Employee Stock Option Plans) which give employees a rightful claim to the successes delivered by virtue of their hard work and abilities.

Sky is the limit when it comes to professional and personal growth

Unlike conventional fashion set-ups, where a fresher will have to start as an intern or work as an assistant for long, start-ups help fashion graduates unleash their creative skills and help them shine by giving them a lot of opportunities to work independently.

The best part of working for a start-up is that individual growth is well defined by the company growth. As the company grows bigger and functions get streamlined, prospects and perks proliferate manifold.

An undergraduate from NIFT who would have joined a fashion start-up as a graphic designer and started off by making communication creatives will not only excel in that work but also will go on to design the user interface aesthetics of the app.

Given the recent pattern in start-up successes, employee growth stories have become ubiquitous and inspiring enough to lead fashion graduates to apply to these ventures with great enthusiasm. Fashion start-ups are a competitive place to be as students need to push their boundaries to excel in their work.

The fashion start-up space in India is flourishing and, therefore, it is crowded. Fashion graduates are presented with the extended creative space that one lacked in the facade of big organisations and managerial decision-making bottlenecks.

Couture is often hailed as the apex of creativity in fashion design, but who says design is limited to only clothes and shoes. Beautiful apps and ingenious brand designs are undeniably changing and challenging the face of fashion. Fashion graduates need to buckle up and put their best foot forward to prove their mettle in this rapidly growing space.

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