Fashion Designer

How to Become a Fashion Designer
Fashion Designer Job Description
Skills and Qualities of a Fashion Designer
Fashion Designer Salary
Influential Professional Fashion Designers
Leading Fashion Designer Organizations
Top Cities for Fashion Design Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Fashion Designer

In the industry of fashion design, employers usually look for individuals with a bachelor's or associate's degree in fine arts or fashion, and knowledge of textiles and fashion trends. Classes include color, textiles, sewing, pattern making, fashion history, and computer aided design. Classes in human anatomy, psychology, mathematics, and business are also useful for those interested in a career in fashion.

Individuals wishing to pursue a career in this field can learn necessary skills through internships with design or manufacturing companies. Designers can also learn skills through work in retail, tailoring, and by entering designs into amateur competitions. The last of these can also gain individuals valuable exposure within the industry.

What does a Fashion Designer do?

Designers study trends in fashion, sketch original designs, select colors and fabrics, and oversee the production of their designs. This process generally takes between eighteen and twenty-four months. While some designers conduct their own research, others rely on research done by others, contained in reports by industry trade groups. After initial ideas have been sketched, designers visit textile manufactures or trade shows to decide which fabrics will be used with which designs and to make fabric purchases. A prototype of each design is made and tried on a model so adjustments can be made. After the final adjustments, samples are made and used to market the new products to retailers. In smaller design firms, fashion designers are more intricately involved in all of these steps. In large firms, fashion designers are often responsible of the initial design concept and the selection of color and fabric. Then they oversee technical designers, pattern makers, tailors, and hand sewers who turn their designs into products.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Fashion Designer?

Fashion designers must be creative, have an appreciation for beauty, and an eye for the details of color, balance, and proportion. Designers must be able to communicate their ideas verbally and visually. Though computers are now aiding facets of the design process, sketching ability is still an important skill for someone entering this field. Those in the design industry must also have pattern making and sewing skills in order to give proper instruction on how their designs will be constructed. In addition, successful fashion designers have sales skills in order to persuade clients to purchase their designs.

How much does a Fashion Designer make?

There is a large gap between the annual earnings of those fashion designers just starting their careers and those that become very successful. Beginning salaries in the fashion industry tend to be very low until an individual has become established in the industry. Salaried fashion designers usually earn higher and more stable incomes than those that freelance or own their own companies; however self employed fashion designers that become hugely successful can earn many times that of salaried designers. As with all individuals in business for themselves, self employed fashion designers must provide for their own insurance and retirement. In 2006 the annual median incomes of all fashion designers were $62,610 with the middle fifty percent earning between $42,140 and $87,510 per year.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Thomas Jacob Hilfiger's parents wanted him to be an engineer, but he had other aspirations. By eighteen he was already customizing jeans and re-selling them. Hilfiger's first store was named The People's Place and was located in downtown Elmira, New York where he grew up. Unfortunately, this store went bankrupt when Hilfiger was only 25. At this point he was offered designing jobs for both Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis. Though Hilfiger was broke, he turned them down to begin the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation. This company went public in 1992 and by 2004 had annual revenues of over $1.8 billion. In 2006, Hilfiger sold his company to a private investment company.

Ralph Lauren is a fashion designer and business executive who is most well known for his clothing brand Polo Ralph Lauren. After dropping out of business school, Lauren worked as a salesman for Brooks Brothers, selling ties. In 1967, with the backing of Norman Hilton, Lauren opened a necktie store where he also sold ties of his own design under the brand name Polo. He later purchased the name Polo from Hilton and has since turned his fashion empire into a billion dollar business. In 2007, there were over 35 Ralph Lauren boutiques in the United States.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The idea for Fashion Group International was conceived at an informal luncheon attended by seventeen women who were leaders in fashion in 1928. The idea was born out of their common belief that the fashion industry needed a forum to showcase the fashion business and women's roles in it. Just two years later, the organization became a reality. Today this organization has grown into an international professional organization with a membership of over 5,000 women and men. Fashion Group International strives to be the industry authority on fashion and design and to help its members advance in their careers.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America was founded in 1962 and is an association of over 300 top designers in the United States. This organization is determined to advance fashion design as a branch of art within American culture, raise artistic and professional standards, define a professional code of ethics, and to promote appreciation of fashion arts. The Council of Fashion Designers of America hosts an annual awards event, provides support and resources for aspiring designers still in school, and nurtures designers in the early stages of their careers. This organization has also repeatedly mobilized its influence to raise money for charitable donations.

What are the top cities for Fashion Design jobs?

Individuals looking to pursue a career in fashion design have the more obvious choices of New York City or Los Angeles, California where there are large concentrations of designers. However, several fashion designer openings also exist in Atlanta, Georgia, Dallas, Texas, and Miami Florida.

Other Careers of Interest

Fashion Design Jobs

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