If you have a love for fabrics and enjoy exploring how different fabrics make clothing and accessories look, then a career in fashion designing may be just the perfect career path for you. Fashion designers spend their days designing and developing clothing and accessories. In this occupation it will be important that you are well-versed and educated in the common practices, techniques, and concepts that are used on a daily basis in this career field. It is common for fashion designers to work under the direct supervision of a manager; ideally this manager will help facilitate your creative processes and help them come to life. Keep in mind, the majority of fashion designers work for mass market manufacturers designing specific pieces of clothing. In this career field it is important that you have a keen sense of style and can pay attention to detail so that you can stand out against the fierce competition. Find that perfect fashion design school below!
Some fashion designers choose to obtain their associate of arts degree, while others pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree program in fashion design. While it is important to gain a solid foundational knowledge of fashion design aspects, it is equally important to learn about the aspects of the business side of the fashion industry. For instance, you will be well served to complete courses related to finance, marketing, and business. In addition, your coursework will help you obtain a solid understanding of a variety of applicable software that will be used in this industry. Depending upon the learning institution you choose to attend you may also be required to complete an internship. This will give you the opportunity to showcase the abilities you have in fashion designing. In this industry, your portfolio is likely to be your biggest asset. This will allow you the chance to show potential employers your designs and how your designs have improved through your degree program. If you would like, take a moment and research any of the schools that you find listed on our site. Any schools that interest you will be more than happy to send you an information packet that will demonstrate what they have to offer potential students.
It is common for individuals who are interested in fashion design to also pursue career paths in window dressing, jewelers, interior designers, artists or floral designers. While each of these common professions will require you to use your artistic design abilities, it is of course in different capacities. For instance, while a floral designer will be using what he or she knows about balance and color to design stunning floral bouquets, an interior designer will be using what he or she knows about layering and patterns to create welcoming spaces. Research any of the fashion degree programs below. Any of the colleges will be able to answer any and all your enrollment questions or questions regarding this exciting career.
Love clothing? Are you one of those people that many people turn to when they want the best advice for what they should wear? Do you want to always be on the cutting edge of the fashion world? If you answered yes, then it could be that a career in fashion design is going to be something that interests you and fits your personality perfectly! A fashion designer is the person behind the scenes of not only the clothes that you see on the rack at stores, but at shows that are performed throughout the United States, along with the shoes that you are seeing on the shelves at stores.
What are the Roles of a Fashion Designer?
So, what is it that a fashion designer does on a daily basis? There are several duties that a fashion designer will have to undertake. These duties include:
- Follow the latest trends in the design world
- Determine which designers are likely to be a win for the customers
- Develop theme based clothing lines
- Design clothing collections
- Attend trade shows to follow trends, see latest fabrics and designs
- Utilize computer aided programs
- Work with other designers to find a happy medium
- Promote clothing lines with retailers and consumers
- Oversee clothing designs from design to the final production stage
Those who are most successful in the fashion design industry are going to be those who have a degree and have some retail experience. Those who have experience in retail are more likely to know the buying habits of consumers and can make a sound decision on what would sell and what would not. Keep in mind that it usually takes 18 to 24 months to get a piece designed and then make this to the shelves for consumers. Thus, the job is one that requires you be ready to put in the time and devote yourself to the tasks at hand.
Online Fashion Design Degree Program
How does one become a fashion designer? This is what many people are wondering. The key is to find a program near you that offers a fashion degree. However, fashion design is often associated with colleges in the Northern part of the United States and on the West or East Coast. Many colleges or universities in the Southern areas of the US are not going to have fashion design as a career choice. This is why many people who want to take this type of coursework find themselves going out of state in order to get the education they need.
IF you were to ask most fashion designers who are already in the work field, they often will say that they have a Bachelor’s degree. They most often have this degree in Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising. What are these two degrees? We examine them further:
- Fashion Design: Within this program, a person is going to focus on using their own creativity in order to design clothing that is going to impress and be the next best thing. However, they are going to do this in several ways. Student learn about textiles and fabrics to give them knowledge of what will and will not work within their own designs. They also learn how to use computer-aided design technology (CAD) in order to develop designs rather than having to hand draw these each time.
- Fashion Merchandising: Fashion merchandising is very similar to Fashion Design in that the person works on the textiles and fabrics of clothing, along with learning how to use the CAD program. However, with this degree, students also focus on the next trends and how to spot these. Those who follow this degree path often are involved in the buying process and what determines the next best trend rather than the actual designing of the clothing. However, they still have the necessary skills to do this.
There are those who opt to get an Associate’s degree in Fashion Design. However, in most cases, this type of degree is not going to help a person to earn the job that they want since many higher level courses are not included. This can be a great degree to start out with and gain more experience in the fashion industry before getting a Bachelor’s degree if a person is interested.
Subjects Learned in School
There are several subjects that you are going to be required to learn while in school. These can include:
- Tailoring courses
- Sewing courses
- Basic fashion theories
- Fashion drawing
- Marketing in the fashion industry
- 3-D design
- Color theory
- Computer-aided design
- Fashion business
- Portfolio presentation
- The craft of costume design
- And many more!
All of the courses are meant to ensure that once you graduate, you are going to be able to enter into the fashion world and succeed.
An Internship May be Required
One of the interest facts about becoming a fashion designer is that most students find that you must have to have an internship in the fashion industry in order to get hired by another company. Many students who enter into this field utilize internships as a way to showcase their skills and start to build their portfolio to show later. Internships help a person to know what they need to do once they are in the working world. They may often work as an assistant to a designer in order to learn all the tips and tricks of succeeding in this market. One of the most important things that potential fashion designers need to remember while they are going through school and even starting their internship is that they need to start compiling a working portfolio. This portfolio is going to contain sketches and designs that you have come up with that showcase your style and the way that you are with fashion. These are the portfolios that potential employers are going to look at and will be the deciding factor as to whether you are hired or not. Thus, this portfolio should only be the best of your work. Many students of fashion design only utilize those assignments that their instructors have given great remarks, and also utilize their free time to come up with something that is new and exciting. Either way, be sure that you are already working on this while in school, as this will be something that employers are going to want to see.
Industry and Career Outlook
For those who are interesting in the fashion design industry, they are going to find that there is some intense competition. IN fact, from 2014 to 2024, the entire fashion industry is only expected to grow about three percent. This is much slower than other occupations that a person could choose from. Some interesting facts about the industry:
- More of the clothing is being produced internationally which is resulting in many fashion designers losing their jobs.
- However, for fashion designers that are considering the wholesale industry, they are going to see an increase in the need for fashion designers. Many stores are looking to sell more fashion orientated clothing at wholesale prices, which is why this sector is expected to increase dramatically.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has the employment change from 2014 to 2024 by only 700 new jobs produced in this field. Thus, those who are looking into this career will find that the competition for these jobs may be intense. For those who are interested in where these fashion design jobs are located, here are the states in which fashion designers are being seen and just how popular this career option is in this state:
1. New York and California are the most popular areas
2. Oregon, Kansas, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are next in line.
3. Followed by Washington, Idaho, New Mexico, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey and Massachusetts
4. These states have very few but they are being seen: Utah, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Caroline, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Hawaii and Connecticut.
The Work Environment
In 2014, there were about 23,100 jobs for fashion designers in the United States. For those who are interested, the employers of these types of jobs include:
- Apparel, piece goods and notions merchant wholesalers held about 32% of all fashion jobs
- Apparel manufacturing held 13% of jobs
- Management of companies and enterprises hold about 10%
- Specialized design servers only had 6% of all jobs
An interesting fact is that one out of four fashion designers are self-employed as of 2014. They are employed by independent clothing lines to submit their designs and get these approved, allowing a person to set their own hours and days they work. There are several fashion designers who are self-employed who have deigned their own clothing line that has their name as the brand. In the United States, most fashion designers are going to be working in New York City or California. However, they will travel frequently to trade and fashion shows in order to see the latest trends. IN addition, many people travel to foreign countries to view materials and meet those who are manufacturing the clothing for them. In terms of work schedules, most fashion designers are considered full time employees, working 40 or more hours per week. However, those who are working on big projects may put in over 60 hours per week in order to meet deadlines or the company’s needs.
Salary for Fashion Designers
For those who are new to this career, they are going to find that the salary is much lower than those who are seasoned fashion designers. The median annual wages that are earned per year is $64,030 as of May 2014. Those who are just starting out, they often earn less than $33,260 per year. The highest paid fashion designers earn more than $129,380. While New York and California are often looked at as the fashion designer central locations for work, some states still have a few fashion designers employed. Below are the most popular states for fashion design work and their annual wages:
- New York: $83,980
- California: $76,370
- Florida: $54,790
- Texas: $55,850
- Massachusetts: $88,390
- Oregon: $62,690
- Georgia: $83,980
- Connecticut: $76,370
In terms of salary and the state in which this job is located in, here are the states along with the average wage spectrum seen here:
- $67,210 to $88,390: Washington, California, Georgia, New York, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts
- $60,130 to $65,940: Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Vermont
- $56,430 to $59,760: Idaho, New Mexico, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Carolina and New Jersey
- $43,780 to $55,850: Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida
Other states have not released their data as to how much fashion designers are getting paid on average who reside in this state.
Career Qualities Needed for a Fashion Designer
For those who are thinking about going into this type of work or who are looking to get hired, there are several aspects that employers are looking for, and characteristics that showcase a person will be great in this career. These qualities include:
1. Have a great artistic ability since they are going to be sketching their designs and must utilize their vision to turn this into reality.
2. Communication skills help any person as they are going to be working hand in hand with other people and teams. Being able to give answers and instruction are vital when designing a piece.
3. Computer Skills as most fashion designers may sketch their designs initially, but will then transfer this onto the computer. They must be able to utilize CAD programs and other graphic editing software.
4. A fashion designer must be a creative person. They have to work with various colors, fabrics and shapes to create something that is unique and is going to take the world by storm.
5. Ability to make decisions easily as there are going to be questions to answer and ideas that will have to be used or turned down. If you have an issue with telling other people what to do, then this career could turn out to be more difficult for you.
6. A fashion designer must be detail orientated. After all, it is the small intricate details that make a piece worthy of being put out into the market. Have a detail orientated view is going to ensure that the pieces are something that others are going to want.
7. Must be ready to compete with others who on the market, so having a strong sense of competition is going to be great.
8. Having strong sewing skills is a plus for many employers as this means that you can put your designs into reality at first as a prototype to showcase.
9. You must have a love for fashion. After all, your entire career is going to be in the fashion world. If you love fashion then this means that this career could be an amazing fit!
10. You must have a dose of creativity in your mind as you want to be unique. While you have to take note of tends, the most successful fashion designers out there use their creativity in conjunction with the trends to create a masterpiece.
If these qualities are something that a person naturally has, then fashion design may be for them. However, these are also qualities that can be worked on while in school to ensure you are the best fashion designer that you can be!
What are Employers Looking for
For those who are close to graduating with a degree in fashion design, then they are getting ready to start interviewing for jobs throughout the United States that fit their wants and desires. There are always going to be openings to be found, however, what are these employers looking for? We have compiled several of the requirements for applicants, so you can be even more prepared!
1. A four-year degree in Fashion Design or Fine Arts
2. Associate degree in fashion design or fine arts with four years of experience
3. 2 or more years of experience in the apparel industry
4. Ability to utilize Adobe CC and Microsoft Office
5. Highly organized and detail orientated
6. Superior verbal communication
7. Keen sense of color shades
8. Portfolios are a must have and must be brought at the interview. No consideration is given for those without a portfolio.
9. Specific experience in certain industries for example: young menswear, women’s outwear or the like.
11. A team player
12. Outstanding sketching and illustrator skills
13. Trend forecasting ability
Several of the open jobs that are found online are listing many of the qualities that were mentioned beforehand as a requirement for those who apply for these positions. Remember, that when a job application requires experience, any internship that you had could qualify for experience and allow you to land this job.
Tips for Your Portfolio
The portfolio that you submit as part of an application is a necessary component. Many companies will not hire a fashion designer without a submitted portfolio. With this being said, we have a few tips that could help you in landing a job once you have the required education!
1. Consider catering your portfolio to the employer that you are looking to be hired with. During school, you may be working on various types of fashions. However, if you are applying for a job that caters to women, then only utilize those pieces in your portfolio that showcase your talent in this area. This is merely a suggestion, as some employers may love seeing your innovation in other areas, especially if they are looking to expand their offerings! Remember, your portfolio is like your resume, and you would cater a resume!
2. Ensure that your portfolio is of the right size. While many students come out of college with a portfolio that is almost poster sized, most employers are going to find it easier to flip through a portfolio that is letter sized. Many students take their college portfolio and put the images onto letter sized paper, have this laminated and then professionally bound. Remember, the portfolio is the first look at you that a potential employer will have.
3. Always have a digital version of your portfolio. With all the applications that are available online, many employers may request to see this portfolio uploaded to an email or whatnot. You want to be able to provide this portfolio in whatever way the employer requires.
4. Have your clothing designs been modeled? Were the model’s professional? You are going to find that this is one way to make your portfolio stand out. And this is something that should be remedy while you are in school and working on this portfolio.
5. In your portfolio, you may want to consider including a few sketches alongside the finished products. This can give an employer a great idea of how you work. Sketches should not have a huge role in the portfolio, but including a few could be to your benefit.
6. Never include garments that are not up to the current trends. You do not want to seem outdated to an employer.
7. Organize this portfolio by theme or the date in which they were created. This will make this flow more smoothly.
8. Consider starting your own website showcasing your creations. This not only shows your fashion ability but also shows that you have strong technical skills which are almost always something that employers are looking for.
9. Include specifications for designs that showcase the process, the material and any other aspect that could make this design something that the employer could see come to life.
10. Be sure not to go overboard in your portfolio. Remember that many employers are getting hundreds of applications for these jobs. If you hand in a portfolio that is over 100 pages, chances are they are going to look at the first ten or so designs and make a decision right then. This is why so many fashion designers keep their first portfolio around 5 to 20 pages.
11. Be sure to read the requirements of the employer for your portfolio, as they may have certain requirements that they want you to adhere to. And do these requirements! This shows that you can follow directions.
If you have a love for fashion, then becoming a fashion designer is something that you may want to consider. Remember, this is going to be a highly competitive career and it may be hard to get your start. But, in the long run, you can find years of success and fame if this is what you are aiming for in the fashion world!