Current Issue 13thFebruary 2016 - 19 February 2016, i.e. No. 45

Career in leather goods and accessories design

Dr. Satya Prakash Pandey

If designing is your passion and fashion your forte, then a degree in Leather Goods and Accessories Design can be your big ticket to the glamour world. Accessory design is one of the latest career trends that seem to have caught the fancy of many. We don’t blame them! After all this is one profession where the designers get to design all cool stuff ranging from gloves, to scarves to belts and more. Not only this, a career in accessory design can open your doors to the runways too. Leather technology in recent times is fast emerging as a lucrative career option. Until a few years ago, those who happened to be in the industry were there by way of experience rather than through any formal training. But now, in India, scores of institutes are offering certificate as well as diploma courses in designing as well as production, adding a much needed professionalism to this industry. Accessories are a growing business with substantial employment opportunities.
The Indian leather industry is growing by leaps and bounds. One must be wondering why India is exporting so much of leather to western countries. Apparently because leatherwear still enjoys a great demand abroad and nowadays even the domestic market is developing and consuming the offerings of this industry. To many, it would also be a surprise to know that the Indian Leather industry is the fourth largest export earner in the country. One can only imagine what shape this industry takes on further maturing.

Nature of Work:

            The demand of the leather goods is on the rise and is expected to grow further. With more and more multinationals coming to India, this industry is poised to become a hi-tech industry. Leatherwear constitutes a variety of products ranging from footwear and accessories like belts, bags, purses and caps to toys, upholstery, baggage, musical instruments, garment tags, gift items etc.

At present, most of the people in this industry are not trained but now with this industry advancing and developing both technologically and professionally, it calls for qualified professionals to cater to the needs and requirements of the people. Thinking of this industry as a career option, one can either take up designing or may get into the technical side that is production, depending upon the interest and aptitude. Both the options are rewarding. As far as designing is concerned, world over, designers have started using leather as an important part of their designer wear and accessories, which has made leather amongst the top apparel material. The other option being production is also not a bad proposition. On attaining requisite qualifications in the field of production, one can start working with leather manufacturing companies and tanneries.


To pursue a career in Leather Goods and Accessories Design, passion, super creativity and drive are needed. However, earning a specialized degree in Leather Goods and Accessory Design from leading fashion and art schools can position you for sleek jobs in fashion houses and glam stores. Several fashion and fine arts schools offer specialized courses as well as graduate programs in Leather Goods and accessory design. In order to enroll in associate or undergraduate programs, students must possess 10+2 and must pass standardized entrance tests. Most graduate and advanced programs entertain previous on-hand experience in designing and may request portfolio of creative work together with college transcripts during admission.

Personal Skills

If you are creative and, stylish and have enough verve to transform your ideas into attractive  accessories, then a career in accessory designing may be your stuff. Designing is a serious business and it takes acute aesthetic refinement and creative knack to do justice to it. Aspiring designers wanting to join the fashion taskforce should have an up-to-date idea on new trends and have a wide grasp of economic parameters and technical skills. In-depth of understanding of technology, marketing, production and sales is always an added advantage. Apart from that, students should have an impeccable flair for style, perfect artistic skills, great sense of color and textures and more. Passion, patience, perseverance, dedication and, commitment are just other complementary skills required for this profession. 

Leather industry as such, does not ask for very special attributes but just like any other industry, one needs to be a high achiever, committed, dedicated and hard worker for higher goals. If one happens to be in the production line. The work can be quite tiring, especially while working in the tanneries and production houses, often involving a lot of hard work and strain.  Designing successfully, on the other hand is more of a combination of mental ability and artistic finesse. Creativity with uniqueness can do wonders for designers. So being creative and original is of utmost importance. They should combine well their mental ability to constantly think and come up with new ideas, with dexterity to give shape to their ideas.

  • Designers are required to display both a high level of creative ability and technical understanding of production methods
  • Fashion awareness, colour and shape sense are important
  • Problem solving skills, time management and a lot of self discipline go in to the making of a fashion design.
  • The ability to communicate ideas both visually and verbally
  • Openness to new ideas and influences
  • Interest in how cloths are made, fascination with change and development;
  • Team work skills and physical  stamina are essential as hours of work are fairly long and demanding and you have to work in a team against tight deadlines.



Professional qualification has a great role for working efficiently in an organization. Apart from a professional degree/diploma, it’s also very important to up-date with the latest international standards and competition. In India there are various institutes offering several courses in leather products designing and technology. Some of them are as follows

  • M.Sc. in Leather Goods & Accessories Design (M.Sc.-LGAD)
  • B.Sc. in Leather Goods & Accessories Design (B.Sc. - LGAD)
  • Diploma in Leather Goods & Accessories Design
  • Certificate program in Leather Goods & Accessories Design.


Leather Goods Institutes
1. Center for Leather Goods & Accessories Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI), Ministry of Commerce &Industry, Govt. of India, Noida 201301
2. National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi
3. Anna University, Sardar Patel Road, Guindy, Chennai

(Above list is indicative only.)

Career Prospects

An accessory adds to individual’s fashion sense! If you wish to be a major force in the fashion industry, then putting your passion and skills into accessory design can push your career to great heights. The beauty of this business is that you can start your craft from your kitchen top and then push your designs to retail and designer stores for world to know. Aspiring designers pursuing a professional course in accessory designing can expect to find job as designers, product managers, brand managers, visual merchandisers and entrepreneurs in areas like leather goods, precious and costume jewelry, tableware, giftware, watches, footwear, handicrafts and lifestyle products etc. What’s more, if you have the right entrepreneur skills, you can even own your own accessory line.The leather industry is set to boom with bright career opportunities in both technical and designing areas. The Indian corporate along with foreign multinationals in this industry have made it possible to look forward to exciting employment options. Earlier Indian exports included only raw materials, but now leather goods are fast catching up with increasing acceptance in the international markets. This has enhanced opportunities for designers.

            Designers are found to be working with leather goods companies as technical designers and style designers. While Technical designers train themselves in pattern making, cutting, designing, Style designers are responsible for updating the product in fashion and style. Designers are also employed by leather garment production houses and boutiques. Established designers also hire young designers to work with them.

On gaining sufficient experience, one can also set up his own unit for production and marketing of leather based products. As far as career growth and progression is concerned it is purely performance based and there is no limit to what one can achieve. If you have a strong commitment to design and want to specialize in accessories, while enriching your personal project and boosting your professional career, this course responds to your needs.


            The remuneration in the leather goods industry depends upon the company, nature of work and the area where you work. As most of the jobs are in the private sector, pay is generally high. With multinationals setting up their base in India, this industry is no longer confined to small scale and financial returns can be quite satisfactory. Fresh recruits can expect a starting pay package between Rs. 10000 - 15000 p.m., as a Designer, Merchandiser, & different category/product specialist designer depending upon their qualifications and the size of the organization. For freelancers and those self-employed in their own units returns are not fixed. It varies on the basis of  individual performance. 

The author is a Sr. Faculty & ex-head, Centre for Retail, Footwear Design & Development Institute, Ministry of Commerce &Industry Govt. of India, Kolkata Leather Complex, Gate no-3’ South 24 Praganas, West Bengal-743502 email- satya@fddiindia. com/



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