Career in spotlight: Fashion Technologist
What is a day in the life of a fashion technologist like?
Each day is different from the other, as I take care of various aspects of operations at my organisation. I start my day with planning the activities and reviewing the previous day’s report. On most days, it is followed by a round of the manufacturing facilities. After lunch, it is mostly meetings and catching up with the day’s reports and emails.
What inspired you to take up this career?
The multi-fibre agreement that monitored the textile trade across the world was dismantled in 2010-11 and it opened the restrictions on the volume of clothing goods. This was to drive up the business for the both export and domestic sectors in the south Asia. This news prompted me to pursue my interest in fashion and clothing into a career.
What has been your best experience during your career?
The best experience for me has been the amount of travel I am able to do. My job enables me to talk to the apparel industry workers across countries and no amount of touristy vacations can give me that closeness to the people.
Which elements of your job do you like the best?
I love the versatility of my job. It enables me to take up various kinds of activities and I love to talk to people. I meet people from diverse backgrounds and I just love that.
What are the major challenges you have encountered?
I was once in Bangladesh when the riots broke out and I was stranded. Fortunately, the people I was working with were very helpful and concerned about my safety. I managed to reach the airport and got back to Kolkata without much delay.
What is it that you do not like about your job?
If I must pick something, then the only thing I do not like is that there is a constant challenge to find people with right skill set and drive in this industry. It makes staffing for projects and factories difficult.
How has your career changed you as a person?
My career has brought a lot of exposure to me. Coming from a small town, I had a limited circle and knowledge about the world. My job has helped me overcome my inhibitions.
What are your strengths, qualities and habits that make you successful at your work?
I am always curious about things and I keep myself updated about the latest happenings. My habit of actively following new trends and development has kept me ahead in the race.
How has the apparel and fashion industry changed in the last 10 years and what changes do you see happening in next few years?
After the multi-fibre agreement was rolled out, mediocre exporters riding the quota have not been able to survive. Manufacturers driven by innovation, who offer not just piece-rate sewn goods but help the buyers with great design and sourcing, have been able to stay relevant. Growth of Indian retail and the growth of branded wear has opened lots of opportunity in the manufacturing and supplying for the domestic market.
In next few years, as the domestic demands grows, the taste of domestic consumer will evolve, and manufacturers and brands will have to upgrade themselves as the competition will get tougher.
Any tips/message for students who would like to pursue this career?
For those who want to pursue a career in fashion technology, I would advise them to tread a balance between their academics and current affairs. A fast paced and seasonal industry like fashion is sensitive to trends but the technological side of it is equally challenging.