Fashion Designer

What Does a Fashion Designer Do?
Fashion designers plan, design and oversee the manufacturing and sales of their garments. Some specialize in designing clothes, shoes, accessories or do all three. Fashion designers begin their process by researching current fashion styles and projecting future trends, as well as referring to trend reports published by fashion industry trade groups. They use this data to sketch preliminary designs, followed by trips to manufacturers or trade shows to preview fabrics. Prototypes are then sewn and worn by models to see what adjustments need to be made and the designer chooses which designs to sell. Finished products are marketed to clothing retailers and shown at fashion and trade shows. Depending on the size of the firm and the designer’s experience, they may be in charge of only design aspects, technical tasks or oversee and participate in all steps of production. They may work for design firms, apparel wholesalers or manufacturers or are self-employed.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Fashion Designer?
The employment outlook for fashion designers should remain stable, as the population grows and continues to demand for clothing, shoes and accessories. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fashion designers can expect jobs to grow by 1 percent between 2008 and 2018, indicating little or no change to employment. One reason why the industry is in a standstill is because firms keep their design work in-house and don’t need to hire additional fashion designers. However, the demand for stylish, affordable clothing will continue to rise and increase the need for designers in apparel wholesalers. As overseas apparel manufacturing increases, there will be fewer job opportunities in U.S. cut and sew manufacturing firms. The salary outlook for fashion designers should remain favorable, as competition is prevalent in this creative and glamorous occupation. Fashion designers made an average salary of $61,160 in 2008, with the best opportunities occurring in design firms that produce mass-market clothing for department stores and retail chain stores, according to the Bureau.

How Can I Become a Fashion Designer?
Prospective fashion designers need to exhibit creativity, dedication and fashion knowledge when entering this highly competitive industry. An effective way to explore your talents and learn the ins and outs of the field is to earn a college degree. Most employers hire candidates with at least two years of formal college training in fashion design, apparel design and manufacturing or another related subject. An associate degree will give you a comprehensive education in fashion design and allow you to gain hands-on experience in fashion drawing, sewing and tailoring. In addition, you will learn about the business aspects of retailing and fashion merchandising. Another way to gain valuable skills is to work in retail stores as a personal stylist, custom tailor or do an internship with a design or manufacturing firm. Once you’ve completed the basic educational and training steps in fashion design, you can start marketing your designs and entering them into contests and fashion shows. For the most up to date fashion news and designer career information, check out The Fashion Group International.