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How to Begin a Career as a Fashion Designer: The Education, Experience, and Job Requirements Needed to Become a Fashion Designer

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The following article provides information on how to become a fashion designer. Educational requirements as well as experience needed to become a fashion designer are covered. A general job profile for a fashion designer is included along with the job outlook for fashion designers.

Fashion. Fashion shows. Designer lines. Glamour and glitz. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this, the world of fashion designers? Watching Project Runway provides me with a slim glimpse into this world but also makes me aware of the challenges fashion designers and those working to become fashion designers face. I love fashion (what I wouldn’t give to design my own shoes!), but I know being a fashion designer isn’t for me. Read on to learn what it takes to get a job as a fashion designer and see if you have what it takes to become a fashion designer.

Fashion Designer Job Profile



Fashion designers create all forms of apparel — dresses, suits, shoes, and other clothing — as well as accessories, intimate apparel, children’s clothing, and much more. The process from a fashion designer’s ideas to a consumer purchasing the final product is long with many steps. The US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the production of a single piece can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months.

As a fashion designer, depending on where you work, you will be involved in varying aspects of the entire design and manufacturing process. As a lead or head designer at a large firm, you may simply create the design and choose the fabrics and colors. Fashion designers may also specialize in costume design with production companies. Fashion designers must be able to predict future trends and create cutting-edge designs.

Plus, if you are interested in being self-employed, working as a fashion designer will help you achieve this career goal. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that one-fourth of fashion designers are self-employed.

Education Required to Become a Fashion Designer

Some of the top designers in the world became designers from sheer will, such as Ralph Lauren, who did not attend fashion school and began his line by selling ties. However, obtaining an education in design is the best way to become a fashion designer. A top design school on your resume gives you credence. You can find the best design schools here.

Entering top design schools is highly competitive. The best chance you have is to send in a portfolio with your design drawings. You have to show the school you have the innovative ideas the fashion world is looking for. Once accepted to a fashion school, you will take fine arts classes and learn color, form, pattern making, and cutting techniques.

The most important aspect of attending fashion school is the fashion show at the end of the semester. This fashion show affords students the opportunity to show their lines to top designers and employers in the industry. Students are scouted from these shows, or students can work as interns in order to gain experience and be hired. Students can earn different degrees, such as Bachelor of Fine Arts or Master of Fine Arts.

The Academy of Art University in San Francisco reports that major fashion firms have hired its graduates, such as Escada, Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Getting the right education will help you become a fashion designer and possibly work with top designers around the world.

Fashion Designer Job Outlook

The fashion industry is highly competitive due to the glamour associated with the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a low 5% increase in fashion designer jobs over the next eight years.

The fashion industry is witnessing a variable that may not have been anticipated just a decade ago. With the increasing outsourcing of apparel manufacturing overseas or to foreign countries, jobs in the manufacturing sector of the fashion industry have declined. However, this decline will not adversely affect fashion designers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the best opportunities will be with firms that design clothing for sale at retail chain stores. The demand for the design and manufacturing of mass-market clothing will be high in the coming years. Competition for fashion designer positions at boutique firms or with high-end designers is high, and few opportunities are available.

Becoming a Fashion Designer

In order to become a fashion designer, you should attend the best fashion design school you can get into. Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you while in school to work closely with the fashion industry. The final show at the end of the semester is your chance to show your skill and creativity. The fashion industry is competitive, with the most opportunities in mass-market apparel, but hard work, determination, and an eye for fashion can get you into top firms.
On the net:Fashion Net

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