Train For a Career in Fashion Design

Do you notice what everyone is wearing? Do you stay on top of the latest trends in clothing and accessories? Do you have a passion for fashion?

If so, then you should consider a career in fashion design. From the design table to the showroom floor, there are many steps involved in bringing fashionable clothing to the marketplace. Many highly skilled people are involved-designers, pattern makers, cutters, stitchers, photographers, fabric experts, wholesalers, and fashion models. With the right training, you could be one of them.

Fashion designers often work for big companies, helping to make both haute couture (high-priced custom-made clothing) and the off-the-rack clothing that is sold in department stores and boutiques. Fashion designers can also work for themselves, and many own their own independent fashion companies. Specialized designers create footwear and accessories such as purses and hats. From the neighborhood tailor to the international artist who designs “red carpet” dresses for movie stars, the world of fashion is diverse and multi-faceted.

The fashion industry is becoming increasingly global. A ready-to-wear apparel company may have designers in one country, the manufacturing facility in another, and retail outlets all over the world. Successful fashion designers enjoy travel, are interested in all aspects of creating clothing, work well with a variety of people, have a keen eye for trends, and know how to design clothing that people want to buy. Pricing is important, too, because mass market designers need to create clothing that can be manufactured and sold at the lowest possible cost.

Computer skills are increasingly important. Many designers sketch initial ideas with paper and pencil, and then translate these hand sketches to the computer. Computer-aided design (CAD) is increasingly being used in the fashion design industry. CAD allows designers to create clothing designs on virtual models and in a variety of colors and shapes. These CAD templates can then be used to direct the manufacturing process, which is often located thousands of miles away.

What’s the job outlook? Opportunities are out there if you have the right training! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, during the current decade from 2008 to 2018 “the best job opportunities will be in design firms that design mass market clothing sold in department stores and retail chain stores, such as apparel wholesale firms.” But having the right training is key! Most fashion designers have an associate (two-year) or bachelor’s (four-year) degree in fashion design. Program areas may include design, business, marketing, merchandising, and even human anatomy and computers.

Is the fashion industry competitive? Yes, it is! Many people are lured by the promise of a glamorous lifestyle, but a career in fashion design means plenty of hard work and long hours. This is why quality career education can make a big difference to a person’s success in the competitive fashion marketplace.

How can you get started? Find an accredited school or degree program. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits nearly 300 postsecondary institutions with degree programs in fashion design. The best way to start is to log onto a reputable college directory website. You can enter the search terms that are appropriate for you, such as “fashion design college in New York” or “online fashion degrees.” You’ll be presented with the colleges that meet your criteria. Compare programs and financial aid and career services. You can request free information from the schools that interest you. It’s that easy! Then you can narrow down your choices and make your applications…and in less time than you think you could be training for a rewarding career in fashion design.

Become a Fashion Designer With These Basic Steps

Becoming a fashion designer is a creative journey in uncovering the student’s likes and dislikes. Styles and fads come and go and then come around again. This is true of the fashion design industry also, particularly so! The industry is often influenced by the entertainment industry (television, movies, music, etc.) For example, “That 70’s Show” gave hippie fashion a new comeback chic. This is true of other movies as well. A great example of this would be “Pirates of the Caribbean” that brought about a huge influx of skull and cross bones designs. The typical pirate symbol, more related to a gothic or punk style, became mainstream after the debut of the movies.

This pop culture influence inspires mass market designers. However, couture fashion designers strive to be the source of the inspiration rather than an imitator. The difference between this can be found in the training of the merchandiser versus the designer. Many aspiring fashion designers choose to go into fashion merchandising. However, these two fields require slightly different curriculum. One will focus on sales, marketing, and business where as the other–fashion design–will focus on creativity and imagination in bringing ideas and concepts to life.

Following middle school, students can choose college preparation courses to direct their educational tracks to their own possible careers. For a student wishing to take the path of a designer of any type, art classes are essential to building the basic knowledge and core concepts that they will use.

High school courses should be selected to assist in building a professional portfolio to show to potential design colleges. By starting their educational planning very early, it is possible for students to make the most of their high school years by focusing on extracurricular activities that will add spice to their college applications. For example, potential fashion designers can take classes not only in art but also specialized math and computer classes, multimedia classes, and drama activities that will allow them to explore different aspects of the fashion world. Some high schools even offer classes in small business ownership or entrepreneurial skills.

For students who end up at the college level and wish to break in to the fashion design industry, it is never too late. Courses in drawing, painting, life drawing, and silkscreen, and color theory, fashion and art history are some of the beginning requirements for any fashion design student. Advanced students of fashion design will continue with patternmaking, sewing basics, advanced sewing techniques, and digital designing.

It is crucial for a fashion design student to have access to this type of basic curriculum in college in order to prepare for the true test of their abilities: their internship. Once the student has taken the basic and advanced courses, it is time for them to specialize in some aspect of the fashion industry. When people think of fashion, they think of runway shows and couture collections. There are fashion centers throughout the world, but most people tend to consider New York City the center of all fashion design. If the college student did not choose a college near a fashion design center, it may be possible for them to choose an internship located in that area. Some other possible internship locations would be Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, and other metropolitan areas.

The best source of internship possibilities will be the college faculty and guidance counselors. It is important to do your homework by researching potential internships; but, they can definitely guide the student to someone that they may not have considered.

The fashion world has its niches. Every designer starts somewhere. They do not just graduate from college and poof have their own design house and their own collections. They were mentored by someone in the business. Some of them were self taught and did not have the opportunity to study in a college environment but learned in the school of hard knocks. Whatever the case, if there is a desire to learn the fashion design business, then there is a way to do it.

Consider working at a place that does alterations or tailoring to build up sewing skills. Consider designing your own clothes. Think of functionality, practicality, body type, personal statements, coloring and fabric choice. Study the masters–who is on the edge of fashion now that you want to emulate? Why do you like their style? What IS your style?

By taking all of these factors into consideration, any student pursuing fashion can find their place in the design world.

Fashion Designer – Do You Have What it Takes to Get Into Fashion?

For an artist, the world of fashion can seem more like a business than a world of creative fashion design. Aspiring fashion designers need to understand that this is all necessary. Business is the life blood of fashion and the fashion itself is only the soul. Fashion simply wouldn’t be able to see mass production if it were any other way. So you may be a ‘creative’ but as a fashion designer you must develop a passion for not only design but manufacturing challenges, the excitement of marketing and overcoming competition.

In the professional world of fashion, you’ll spend less than 10 percent of your time designing your collections and the rest of the time working out money management issues, and executing marketing strategies. These are the only things that will give life to your creative work and allow you to survive as a fashion designer so your garment designs will hit the store shelves and not just remain the beautiful figments of your creative imagination.

You want to become well acquainted with the business aspect of fashion. Don’t even think of starting out on you own. Work for any designer, design house or clothing manufacturer first so you can become well versed in how the fashion industry works on a daily basis and carefully climb up the ladder from there. Study how other fashion designers made their way to the top. Most of the biggest name designers worked under other designers for years before they started their own labels. They often worked for more than one fashion designer or fashion house. Having different positions and seeing different ways of how business was handled, they gained hands on knowledge, experience, confidence and acquired indispensable assets of credibility and reputation at the same time.

So if you’re getting into fashion design you’ve got to plan on being a lifer if you’re going to one day own your own line. Here is a list of characteristics you need to either have already or acquire as you go along in order to become a successful fashion designer:

– A hard edge against negative feedback and rejection.

– You need a very competitive spirit.

– You need the ability to be organized and be able to function under extreme stress of dealing with difficult people, multiple deadlines and responsibilities.

– You need to love or learn to love the marketing, negotiating and networking game in the world of fashion.

– And you need the willingness to keep your mind open to learning new things as a fashion designer.