Education Information

How To Become a Fashion Designer

Fashion design is a collision of creative impulse and business principles in one challenging career. Opportunities for employment may exist in entertainment, industry, retail, and technology. But becoming a fashion designer may take thorough training and a tremendous amount of work. After all, if it were easy--everyone would be doing it.

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Education Information

Career Haute Couture: When You Absolutely Must Become a Fashion Designer

There's just something about the fabrics, the colors and the fashionista spirit that drives you to this field. Becoming a fashion designer means so much more than understanding clothes. It's knowing how to identify the trends that drive the consumer to buy. Learn that, and your career potential may very well be unlimited.

The Fashion Design 411
The fashion design industry is comprised of a wide variety of professional positions that may range from the creative to the systematic. The population of true designers is a select group, with new positions and annual turnover remarkably low.

The median annual wage of fashion designers in May 2007 was $62,810, with the 10 percent earning $121,640 and the bottom 10 percent earning $31,340. Potential salary and employment opportunities should be best with design firms that create mass market clothing. Also, because about 25 percent of professional in this field work temporary or contract positions, the environment can be right for entrepreneurs and business self-starters.

Becoming a Fashion Designer: What It May Take to Get There
Two paths may exist: a traditional academic route and a career training alternative. Approximately 250 postsecondary institutions accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design may offer 2- or 4-year degrees in fine arts. Community colleges and trade schools may also provide career training without the breadth of a liberal arts-based degree.

Program and Course Requirements
The changing landscape of the fashion design industry is taking students through an unusually contemporary readiness strategy. The emergence of Auto CAD as a design tool is placing a premium on candidates with advanced technical skills. Also, communications remains an integral part of the job and encourages students to consider the academic development option.

Common courses may include textiles, color, pattern making, sewing, tailoring, fashion history, and more. You may also develop a working portfolio during your studies that can be used both to gauge your progress and market yourself to potential employers.

How to Become a Fashion Designer:
Some things to do to keep yourself ahead of the curve:

  • Prepare Early. Get basic courses out of the way as soon as possible--mathematics, psychology, design and sketching, and human anatomy to name a few.
  • Make Contacts. Use your preparation period to cultivate valuable industry and career contacts that you can leverage when job-hunting.
  • Continue Learning. Professional development is one of the keys to becoming a fashion designer; that means always taking advantage of conventions, workshops, and showings.

Your fashion design career should be what you make it. As with most creative fields, conscientious planning and a determination to learn the basics often make the difference.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fashion Designers
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2007
State of California, Fashion Designers in California


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