What does a Fashion Designer do?

Median Pay $67,420
Growth Rate 3%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A fashion designer designs clothes, accessories, or shoes for consumers and retail companies. They create new designs that may use a variety of materials and and specify the measurements of those designs. During the design process, they decide on fabrics, colors, styles and the accessories needed to put the design together.

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How to Become a Fashion Designer

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A fashion designer usually has a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising and/or fashion design. These programs also teach students about textiles, fabrics, and how to create fashion using computer-aided design technology (CAD). These programs also help students build their own portfolios for future job opportunities.

Job Description of a Fashion Designer

A fashion designer follows fashion trends to help them to determine a design that would attract customers. Once a theme is decided upon, they create sketches of an original idea for clothing, footwear, or accessories. This process is generally aided by a computer design program (CAD). In many cases, a team will work on a prototype design and use models to determine how the design will look. After the samples of the design are approved, the creation is then manufactured and sold to consumers. The design creation usually involves about 6 months of planning and design until the project is completed.

Fashion designers may also visit manufactures and trade shows to obtain samples of fabrics and follow fashion trends. They may also pull creative inspiration from their environment, travels, and other cultures. Some designers prefer to specialize in a certain area such as clothing, costumes, footwear or accessory design. Some start their own design company or sell designs to retail stores. They are also employed by high-fashion houses that offer personalized design services to clients.

Fashion Design Career Video Transcript

Do you love clothes, and sketching outfits from your own imagination? Fashion designers get the chance to make their ideas a reality in this competitive industry. Fashion designers create designs for garments and accessories using pencil and paper or computer-aided design. They start by making a detailed pattern, then cut it into fabric or other materials to construct a sample of their design.

These professionals travel to trade shows, manufacturers, and fashion shows to stay on top of changing trends and find new materials. From an initial sketch to the first version of the garment, the designer can expect long hours, hectic deadlines, and clients who are perfectionists. Fashion designers are almost as likely to be self-employed as they are to work for large brands and labels. They often consult with executives and a sales team to choose a theme for their seasonal lineup.

The fortunate and talented few ultimately win their own label, catering to individual clients or stores. Most aspiring designers obtain a college or trade school education in fashion design. A portfolio (a collection of designs and completed projects) is required to apply for most positions. Making a name for yourself as a fashion designer is difficult, but the thought of fame waiting at the end of the show, is a great motivator.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Fashion Designers.

National Center for O*NET Development. 27-1022.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.