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 Design Career Guide Overview
- What a Fashion Designer Does
- A Typical Day for a Fashion Designer
- Salary and Career Progression for a Fashion Designer
- Best Locations for Fashion Designers
- Pros and Cons of Being a Fashion Designer
- What You Need to Know for a Career in Fashion Design
- Fashion Design Resources
- Careers Related to Fashion Design
- 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
- Very artistic and creative
- You can directly influence culture
- You work with something very concrete and real
- Fashion shows are fun!
- 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.
Key Folks to Follow on Twitter
Blogs and Websites
Careers Related to Fashion Design
Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Fashion
Check out the latest job and internship postings in fashion.