When it comes to the Fashion Industry it may seem there are only that many pathways to reach in the business, namely, designer, stylist, editor or photographer. These are integral to the industry but in the last 10 years or so, the industry has significantly evolved with emerging new trends.

This is an industry where the creative process is always on the line. Newness, innovation, value addition, kitschy have all to be achieved at once. Designs have to be manufacture friendly and raw materials easily accessible.

For fashion designers, one of the most challenging aspects of the business is the manufacturing process. The adoption of 3D printing, however, would make manufacturing quicker, easier and cheaper, lowering the barrier to entry for emerging designers across the globe.

3D printing will play a bigger part in fashion as it turns conventional manufacturing on its head. Instead of starting with some fabric and removing sections to create a desired shape or design, 3D printing begins with nothing and only adds material as the production process unfolds. “This is one of the biggest attractions for manufacturers as they can cut down on potentially vast amounts of waste.”

As more apparel, home furnishing makers adopt the technology, it has the potential to trickle down to the masses. 3D printing will facilitate differentiation and customisation, enriching the dialogue between the consumer and the designer, giving them a wider range of goods in quick-time than ever before.

Consumer Psychologist

Over centuries, items of use were determined by necessity to a ‘tell’ on our personalities. This has given rise to ‘people choice’ professionals, the Fashion Psychologists. They apply psychological theories to understanding that our choices impact not only our own emotions, but also those of the people we interact with.

Fashion businesses can use consumer psychology to make shoppers more willing to purchase certain products or services. This could include looking at details like packaging, shelf placement or advertising.

To become a fashion psychologist, or any psychologist for that matter, BSc is theoretically enough, but many courses are simply not in-depth enough. People who are interested in becoming fashion or consumer psychologists should study not only psychology, but explore other behavioural sciences like neuroscience, anthropology and sociology.

At present, these professionals are hired by some big brands, at some point, more and more brands will see the advantage and will be consulting either in-house or external behavioural experts.

Fabric Research and Development

Over the past few years, several major apparel giants from Nike have been sourcing or developing new technologies to create a new generation of materials that enhance the style, performance and sustainability of their products.

Major breakthroughs in fabric development occurred in 1958, when Lycra hit the market, followed by Gore-tex, which disrupted the outdoor and performance-wear sector. But recent years have also seen a wave of new innovation, such as the emergence of wearable technology and smart materials, which has been explored by companies including Ralph Lauren. We have heard their technology-enabled tennis shirts, which monitored the heart rate and stress levels of players at the US Open Tennis Championships in 2014.

While smart fabrics may still be in their infancy, it is a fast- growing market with new capabilities and is sure to play a more significant role in fashion, particularly given the emergence of the athleisure sector, which has led to a greater interest in performance materials. Smart materials have also opened up a whole new conversation around clothing and health.

For a career as a fabric developer, a degree in textile science or textile engineering is preferred.

Sustainability Expert

A lot many fashion companies are prioritising sustainability and putting sustainable business models at the heart of their organisations. This means putting focus on how they produce their products and hiring sustainability consultants whose sole function is to ensure that the company is doing whatever they can to integrate sustainable sourcing and environmentally friendly practices.

Companies need to constantly look for ways to incorporate more recycled materials into their products, drive innovative projects that cut our impact on the planet, and expand programs like Fair Trade that have a direct positive impact on the products made.

As customers have become more conscious of their buying decisions and companies need to be transparent in both environmental and social impacts of their supply chains. By pursing a green agenda from the beginning, brands will build immense loyalty amongst consumers, particularly millennials, who market experts say are more likely to buy a brand that supports a cause.

Personal Stylist

Personal styling was once reserved for Hollywood starlets, affluent socialites and top executives. But as e-commerce has become a dominant way to shop — 54 percent of consumers worldwide shop online weekly, tech-savvy retail companies are trying to democratise styling, just as Uber has granted everyone a private driver. The whole online shopping experience is becoming more impersonal with no tactile experience anymore.

As fashion and tech become more entwined, the role of a personal stylist has evolved to incorporate a more in-depth understanding of technology.  The role of personal stylist is to help software engineers and data scientists realise how a stylist makes decisions, so that they make algorithms and make personal styling become a great experience for the consumer.

In recent years, online styling services using intelligent algorithms to offer personal styling help have emerged, but instead of using only AI, robot -like suggestions, individual personal stylists will also be required by industries that can customize an individual’s needs. Fashion is one of the few industries that can provide such interesting career choices in the future.