Careers in Fashion

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Looking for an entry level job or internship in fashion? This is an overview of how to approach the search and a list of companies that might have relevant entry level and internship opportunities.

My favorite day in elementary school was “opposite day.” On that day we were supposed to wear clothes with as many different clashing patterns as possible. And while I’d like to think my horizontally stripped sweater and red and green plaid pants looked great together, it’s probably time that I admit I’m no Sarah Jessica Parker from Sex and The City. But if you love stylish high heels like her, have a great eye for color and detail, or simply have an interest in creating clothing, you should consider being a fashion designer. Apparel designers are responsible for conceptualizing and making garments.

Fashion Careers

Photo Credit: Flickr user nicasaurusrex

Fashion Design Career Guide Overview

  1. What a Fashion Designer Does
  2. A Typical Day for a Fashion Designer
  3. Salary and Career Progression for a Fashion Designer
  4. Best Locations for Fashion Designers
  5. Pros and Cons of Being a Fashion Designer
  6. What You Need to Know for a Career in Fashion Design
  7. Fashion Design Resources
  8. Careers Related to Fashion Design
  9. Companies with Jobs and Internships in Fashion Design

What a Fashion Designer Does

A fashion designer creates clothes, jewelry, shoes, and/or accessories that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. To do this they design garment combinations of line, proportion, color, and texture from a wide range of materials, colors, patterns and styles. They take into account many factors like who might wear the clothes and in what situation.

A Typical Day for a Fashion Designer

A typical day for a fashion designer might involve studying trends or finding target markets by attending a fashion show or reviewing trade magazines. Then they might design ideas with clients. Later they might sketch out some ideas for new garments on paper and writing specifications like color schemes, construction types, and materials. After that they test out some of the sketches by draping fabric on a dress form. Once they’re happy with the fit, they will work with a pattern maker to create a finished version of the pattern and then test the final design on a model.

Salary and Career Progression for a Fashion Designer

A fashion designer typically makes between $30,000 and $98,000 per year, although beginners earn closer to $20,000 to $50,000 annually. After 20 years of experience, the median salary range increases to around $40,000 to $180,000. There is high salary potential in this field, but it might take awhile to get there. Common future jobs include chief fashion designer ($30,000-$195,000), technical designer, apparel designer ($32,000-$86,000), and product development manager ($45,000-$128,000).

Best Locations for Fashion Designers

The cities with the highest salaries for fashion designers now are:

  • New York, New York
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Los Angeles, California
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • San Francisco, California

Pros and Cons of Being a Fashion Designer

Pros
  • Very artistic and creative
  • You can directly influence culture
  • You work with something very concrete and real
  • Fashion shows are fun!
Cons
  • Long hours
  • Takes a while to work your way up
  • Lot of work with your hands

What You Need to Know for a Career in Fashion Design

Most fashion designers have an associates degree or a bachelor’s degree in fashion design. Important areas of training include color, textiles, fashion history and computer-aided design (CAD). Sewing and pattern-making skills, an eye for color and detail, and sketching ability are also important. It’s also a great idea to try to get a relevant internship.

Fashion Design Resources

If fashion design still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.

Required Reading

Key Folks to Follow on Twitter

Blogs and Websites

Networking Opportunities

Careers Related to Fashion Design

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Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Fashion

BustedTees Logo

BustedTees - BustedTees is a New York, NY based t-shirt company that was started by the same team as CollegeHumor.

See the complete BustedTees profile


Piece & Co. Logo

Piece & Co. - Piece & Co. is a Chicago based social enterprise that partners with fashion/retail brands to have female artisans "create beautiful, handmade products and accessories."

See the complete Piece & Co. profile


eponym Logo

eponym - eponym is a company based in Brooklyn, NY that helps "the world’s most exciting brands create and distribute their own eyewear.”

See the complete eponym profile


Fashion Update Logo

Fashion Update - Fashion Update is a New York, NY based company that offers tours that will help you “find designer name merchandise for less than a fraction of the retail cost.”

See the complete Fashion Update profile


StyleCaster Media Group Logo

StyleCaster Media Group - StyleCaster Media Group is based in NYC and aims “to bring style to the people, empowering millions of readers to discover and share their style.”

See the complete StyleCaster Media Group profile


Vince Logo

Vince - Vince is a New York, NY based fashion brand that offers a “collection of iconic essentials that women and men would want to wear every day.”

See the complete Vince profile


Lands' End Logo

Lands’ End - Lands' End is a Dodgeville, WI based "international apparel brand synonymous with timeless American style.”

See the complete Lands’ End profile


Stitcher Logo

Stitcher - Stitcher is a San Francisco, CA based company that lets you access “over 20,000+ radio shows and podcasts on your iPhone, iPad, Android or PC–anytime, anywhere.”

See the complete Stitcher profile


Tradesy Logo

Tradesy - Tradesy is a Santa Monica, CA based marketplace for new and gently used fashion that can “turn your closet into cash.”

See the complete Tradesy profile


RocksBox Logo

RocksBox - RocksBox is a San Francisco, CA based company that lets you “experiment with different looks, discover the latest designers, and only buy the jewelry that you truly love.”

See the complete RocksBox profile


REVOLVE Logo

REVOLVE - REVOLVE is based in Cerritos, CA and is the “virtual home for an unrivaled collection of the world’s most coveted brands.”

See the complete REVOLVE profile


Destination Maternity Corporation Logo

Destination Maternity Corporation - Destination Maternity Corporation, which is based in Philadelphia, PA, does $500 million in annual sales as “the world’s leading maternity apparel retailer.”

See the complete Destination Maternity Corporation profile


Reformation Logo

Reformation - Reformation is an LA based “environmentally sustainable fashion brand that repurposes vintage and surplus materials to create a chic, limited edition collection.”

See the complete Reformation profile


Loverly Logo

Loverly - Loverly is a New York, NY based "one-stop-shop for wedding planning where brides and grooms find ideas, people to hire and things to buy.”

See the complete Loverly profile


Todd Snyder Logo

Todd Snyder - Todd Snyder is a New York, NY based men’s fashion brand that is inspired “by Savile Row craftsmanship, military tailoring, and a distinct New York sensibility.”

See the complete Todd Snyder profile


Arc'teryx Logo

Arc’teryx - Arc'teryx is a Vancouver, BC based company that merges “unrivaled designs with the best quality, highest performing materials" to keep you warm.

See the complete Arc’teryx profile


Jockey Logo

Jockey International - Jockey International is a Kenosha, WI based company that aims “to satisfy the human need for comfort” by offering more than 600 styles of underwear and t-shirts.

See the complete Jockey International profile


Lilly Pulitzer Logo

Lilly Pulitzer - Lilly Pulitzer is a King of Prussia, PA based fashion brand and retailer that is known for its over the top, colorful prints.

See the complete Lilly Pulitzer profile


Black Diamond Equipment Logo

Black Diamond Equipment - Black Diamond Equipment is a Salt Lake City, UT based company that is “all about climbing and skiing.”

See the complete Black Diamond Equipment profile


Resistol Logo

Resistol - Resistol is a Garland, TX based company that sells about a million hats a year, which makes them the largest headwear manufacturer in the world.

See the complete Resistol profile


Volcom Logo

Volcom - Volcom is a San Clemente, CA based “designer, marketer and distributor of premium quality young men’s and young women’s clothing, accessories and related products.”

See the complete Volcom profile


Kevia Logo

Kevia - Kevia is a Portland, OR based company that offers “handcrafted sustainable jewelry” that is inspired by the natural world.

See the complete Kevia profile


C. Wonder Logo

C. Wonder - NYC based C. Wonder offers "clothing, accessories and home decor products of outstanding quality and astonishing value in a setting that excites and inspires.”

See the complete C. Wonder profile


Coldwater Creek Logo

Coldwater Creek - Coldwater Creek is a multi-channel "specialty retailer of women's apparel, jewelry and accessories" that started as a one-room mail order business.

See the complete Coldwater Creek profile


Charming Charlie Logo

Charming Charlie - Charming Charlie is a Houston, TX based “fashion accessories retailer” with more than 200 stores across the country.

See the complete Charming Charlie profile


DNA Footwear Logo

DNA Footwear - DNA Footwear is a Brooklyn, NY shoe retailer that is now working to be “the top online destination for today’s latest trends in the world of footwear.”

See the complete DNA Footwear profile


Fancy Logo

Fancy - Fancy is an NYC based company that allows you to "discover, collect and buy from a crowd-curated catalog of amazing goods, wonderful places and great stores."

See the complete Fancy profile


Trumaker Logo

Trumaker - Trumaker is a San Francisco, CA based e-commerce and men's fashion upstart that makes “it easy to get shirts made just for you.”

See the complete Trumaker profile


Kramerica Industries Logo

Kramerica Industries - Kramerica Industries is a New York, NY based energy, fashion, food, tourism, and housing conglomerate that is in the business of thinking up new ventures.

See the complete Kramerica Industries profile


PureWow Logo

PureWow - PureWow is based in NYC and offers a "free daily email for stylish women of substance, featuring the very best in culture, fashion, travel, tech & so much more!"

See the complete PureWow profile


Lumi Logo

Lumi - Lumi is a Los Angeles, CA based company that has developed “a revolutionary photographic print process for textiles and natural materials.”

See the complete Lumi profile


Glossybox Logo

Glossybox - Glossybox is a New York, NY based company that offers subscription boxes with “exclusive cosmetic samples and perfume samples from the best makeup brands online.”

See the complete Glossybox profile


Rue La La Logo

Rue La La - Rue La La is a Boston, MA based e-commerce company that offers flash sales on "the best in women’s and men’s fashion, home, travel, kids, and more.”

See the complete Rue La La profile


Steven Alan Logo

Steven Alan - Steven Alan is a New York, NY based fashion designer and retailer that offers a "unique brand of casual, smart, self-assured essentials for both men and women."

See the complete Steven Alan profile


Rainbow USA Logo

Rainbow USA - Rainbow USA is a Brooklyn, NY based retailer that offers an “assortment of clothing for juniors, plus sizes, and children."

See the complete Rainbow USA profile


Everlane Logo

Everlane - Everlane is a LA and SF based “luxury clothing design and manufacturing company” that “aims to provide low-cost, high-quality goods by cutting out middlemen.”

See the complete Everlane profile


BaubleBar Logo

BaubleBar - BaubleBar is an NYC based jewelry company that gives women the opportunity to “buy high quality pieces without a high price tag.”

See the complete BaubleBar profile


J. Crew Logo

J. Crew - J. Crew is a New York, NY based apparel retailer that started with a catalog in 1983 and is known for its preppiness, but that may be changing.

See the complete J. Crew profile


UNIQLO Logo

UNIQLO - UNIQLO is a Japanese brand that "has evolved from a chain of roadside stores to an international leader in style, quality, and fun.”

See the complete UNIQLO profile


Twice Logo

Twice - Twice is a San Francisco, CA based company that buys and sells “high-quality, affordable secondhand clothes online.

See the complete Twice profile


Stitch Fix Logo

Stitch Fix - Stitch Fix is a San Francisco, CA based company that is using strong curatorial talent to sell clothing and accessories to women.

See the complete Stitch Fix profile


MeUndies Logo

MeUndies - Me Undies is a Beverly Hills, CA based company that offers “the world’s most comfortable underwear in all your favorite colors and styles.”

See the complete MeUndies profile


Rent The Runway Logo

Rent The Runway - Rent The Runway is a New York, NY based “community designed to fill the needs of women who know and love high fashion" but may only want to wear something once.

See the complete Rent The Runway profile


ShoeDazzle Logo

ShoeDazzle - ShoeDazzle is a Santa Monica, CA based company that was built to feed women's shoe addictions without draining their pocketbooks.

See the complete ShoeDazzle profile


Pacific Sunwear Logo

Pacific Sunwear - Pacific Sunwear is an Anaheim, CA based company “dedicated to embracing the amazing diversity and unique sense of adventure that California offers."

See the complete Pacific Sunwear profile


Tailgate Clothing Logo

Tailgate Clothing - Tailgate Clothing is a Ankeny, IA based company that is bringing fashion back to collegiate apparel and generating a ton of revenue at the same time.

See the complete Tailgate Clothing profile


Alex and Ani Logo

Alex and Ani - Alex and Ani is a Cranston, RI based company that “offers eco-friendly, positive energy products that adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit.”

See the complete Alex and Ani profile


1stdibs Logo

1stdibs - 1stdibs is a New York, NY based company that runs an online marketplace for “the most beautiful things on earth" (antiques, jewelry, fine art, etc.).

See the complete 1stdibs profile


GTM Sportswear Logo

GTM Sportswear - GTM Sportswear is a Manhattan, KS based company that helps athletes perform better by looking better.

See the complete GTM Sportswear profile


Chictopia Logo

Chictopia - San Francisco based Chictopia has built "the ultimate online destination for trendsetters to be inspired, socialize, and share in fashion."

See the complete Chictopia profile



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