Of the many professions inked to the fashion industry, one of the most challenging yet surprisingly understated jobs is that of the designer’s assistant. Responsible for all the action behind the scenes, designer’s assistants not only undertake maximum workload doing odd jobs and pulling long hours at work but their wide ranging skill set makes them an irreplaceable component to the business houseand an indispensible pillar of support to the designer. Irrespective of a fashion design qualification or a management degree, all one needs in this job is the drive to tackle challenges. SK got talking to assistants to three leading Indian designers and here’s what they had to say…
Julie Deb Pareek, Assistant to designer Neeru Kumar says, “After I completed my Fashion, Advertising and Marketing degree from San Francisco, I began working as a senior stylist at departmental store Macy’s for two years. After I moved to India I took up the position of the assistant to designer Ranna Gill and now I am assisting designer Neeru Kumar. I love my job and the fact that it requires me to have a 360 degrees approach to elevating the business. After I joined Neeru, my endeavors have been to ensure she gets optimum media coverage, she makes maximum appearances and the quality of her work is highlighted in the best possible way. To be successful in this job one of the most important skills one needs to possess is excellent networking skills. You need to be in constant touch with your customers therefore you should come across as friendly and approachable. I think it helps if you have a fashion background as it helps you understand the industry a little better. The job requires being up to date with international trends, domestic competitors and industry dynamics. Besides that one also needs to have excellent negotiation, presentation and management skills”.
Anirudh Birla has been working as an assistant to designer Ankur and Priyankamodifor the label AM:PM since the last four years and says, “ After I completed my BSc in management I joined my sister, Priyanka, and brother in law, Ankur and began assisting them in expanding the reach of AM:PM. I think one of the major reasons why I enjoy my job and have continued to deliver is because I consider this to be my own business. Even when I look at other assistants to designers it is invariably those who take charge and are passionate about the growth of the business that are able to mutually benefit along with it. It is key to remain patient, as this profession demands a lot from you. Some of the responsibilities that I undertake on a daily basis include checking up on sales, coordinating with magazines for shoots, dealing with buyers, looking into the merchandising aspect and taking up various odd jobs”.
Ashutosh Murarka has been working with designer duo Pankaj and Nidhi since the last three years and in the words of Pankaj, “ He is the most hard working, extremely talented, right and left hand of our business”. Ashutoshsays, “I began working with Pankaj and Nidhi after I completed my course in Fashion Designing from NIFT. Its now been three years since I have been continually assisting Pankaj and Nidhi in conceptualizing and styling fashion shows, coordinating with media, managing international buyers, handling the team and assisting in design.Each day when I wake up in the morning I take it upon myself to lighten the burden off the shoulders of my employers, this is the primary responsibilities of my job and I believe that this attitude is that has helped me be a success in my profession”.