Hierarchy of Fashion : Haute Couture
Haute couture started when the English born designer Charles Worth opened his Paris atelier in 1858.
It was Worth who founded the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne to regulate the craft of haute couture.
Today there are 30 fashion designers on the official Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
Typically a fashion designer specializes in one area of the fashion industry, including Haute Couture and prêt –a- porter. Couture is an exclusive segement where designers create exquisite statement with their technical skills and intricate vision.
Haute Couture is a French term, where Haute stands for “high” or “elegant” and couture means “sewing”. In order to become an Haute Couture house one has to pass through a stringent application process to be recognized by the governing body “Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris”.
Haute couture garment requires minimum of 800 hours on the production of one garment each. Couture design represents an extravagant idea about the brand, the lifestyle and luxury that it relates to, where budget is not a limitation, and emphasizes more on the designer’s unique vision and niche market that it address to.
A typical daywear can start at $10,000, to several hundred thousand dollars for a heavily embroidered and intricate gown. The changing market dynamics has resulted in Couture becoming more popular in newer markets such as China, Middle East and Russia.
- produce a customized design for a niche market from an abstract idea
- planning and develop and construct a design
- work in a team together with pattern makers, seamstress and machinist
- ensure the design complements client’s lifestyle and silhouette
- technical understanding of the design and its construction
- sourcing, designing fabrics, trims, and embellishments;
- supervising the prototyping process
- working extra hours
- working in a studio environment.
- orking under deadlines
Typical remuneration of couturier range from $85,000+. A successful designer builds hi/her career on a combination of creativity, imagination and perseverance.
- creativity, innovation and flair
- understanding of colours
- in-depth knowledge of fabrics and materials
- conceptualization if ideas
- design and aesthetic skills
- technical skills
- good organizational and time management
Employers usually expect to see a portfolio that clearly demonstrates your ability to design and produce garments and accessories.
Some fashion designers find work overseas with designers based in Europe and the USA. Opportunities exist for self-employment. Competition for design jobs is intense throughout the industry.
How your career develops will depend on the specific area of design you trained in, the work experience you have built up and your professional reputation.
Progression may be slow, particularly at the start of your career.
Being proactive and making contacts in the industry is essential.