Since design is such a niche profession – especially in India – it is only natural that people have a lot of misconceptions about this industry and, by extension, about the life of a design student.
Being a student of Fashion Communication, I have had to explain my field of study and even justify my decision of undertaking it on several occasions.
Don’t get me wrong – I welcome curiosity. You want me to help you get a better understanding of what I study and how? I’m happy to oblige, as long as you come to me with a clean slate, leaving all your pre-conceived notions behind.
Sadly, that’s exactly what people don’t do. People love making presumptions about designers and fashion school students.
These are a few of the most obnoxious frequently asked questions you can expect if you are planning to pursue a career in design.
- “Will you design my wedding dress?”
Seriously. I am not even an apparel designer. I. DON’T. DESIGN. CLOTHES. And yet, that’s the first thing people ask me when I tell them I am studying design. Some people don’t even ask! They just go, “meri shaadi ke kapde toh tu he banayegi!”
Even if you are talking to a fashion designer, do not assume they will design clothes for you just because you are their friend. They are paying their tuition fee to become successful designers, not your local darji.
Let’s get this straight, once and for all: we have a lot of respect for tailors, but that’s not who we are.
- “So, you must be good at drawing?”
This question is just embarrassing for all parties involved. The person who asks this will end up looking like a fool because they believe designing = drawing.
And, the person who is asked this question? They will slowly die inside remembering their last attempt at art. Because, in case you had any doubt about this, designers are not artists. Heck, some of us still use stick figures in our sketches. Go figure!
- “How often do you party?”
Let me just whip out the rolling paper I carry with me at all times (because designer = stoner) and use my magic crayons to illustrate (because designer = artist) just how many hours of the week I spend partying.
Yeah, we might have fashion shows in our college, but that doesn’t make our lives any more glamorous than a DU student’s. We don’t even have any concept of chilling on weekends – designers work seven days a week, round the clock. If we are lucky enough to get some free time, we like to spend it in bed in a pair of sweats because we really need to catch up on the sleep we lost working on the last project before we start the next one.
Two years down and I barely even know what a proper party looks like!
- “Isn’t design a very superficial thing? Is it even necessary?”
Yes, some people have indeed been obnoxious enough to tell me that my profession is, in fact, useless. Why, thank you. Don’t get hit by the door on your way out. Of my life.
The usual argument goes that people will always need doctors and engineers, but design is actually not very significant in the greater scheme of things. The problem here is in the misconception that the sole purpose of design is to make things look pretty.
In fact, design is all about innovation, problem solving and functionality. Aesthetics come much later in the design process. Everything you see around you is designed to suit your needs – more so in today’s digital age.
- “Do you really need a degree to be a designer?”
No, I don’t really need a degree, I am just here because I had lots of money to waste.
Okay, it’s not a completely unreasonable question – I can call myself a designer whether or not I have a degree. But it’s the 21st century, it’s a competitive world, you can no longer hope to be successful until you spend a few years understanding the basics of whatever field you will be competing in. Design is no exception.
You may not need a degree to be a designer, but you definitely need a degree (or two) if you wish to make design your career rather than your hobby.
So, if you know someone who is a design student, please don’t ask such questions. If you have already asked one of these, I hope you feel like an idiot. Now, go apologize.
And finally, if you are a design student, next time someone asks such a question, just point them to this article. You can thank me later!
Image Source: Google
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