One of the most exciting and coveted careers in fashion is that of a fashion designer. For those with an inherent sense of style and creativity, fashion design may come easy. Ask yourself, are you always setting the latest trends among your peers when it comes to clothes and accessorizing? Are you inclined to make your own clothes if you can’t find what you are looking for in stores? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, pursing a career as a fashion designer may be the best decision you ever make.
You don’t necessarily need a degree from a top fashion school in order to break into the world of fashion design. However, the fundamental skills and techniques needed to thrive are more easily learned in a classroom setting and courses in fashion design can be found at fashion institutes all over the United States.
In order to build a solid foundation for your career in fashion as a fashion designer, it is a good idea to begin with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in fashion design.
Great fashion designers should have a keen knowledge of textiles, color and creative construction. They need to be able to see design in everything, and bring creativity and vision to their work. In addition, fashion designers should possess a keen understanding of marketing, branding and visual merchandising in order to make their mark and succeed on a business level.
A degree in fashion design can help prepare an individual for a challenging career as a designer. Courses in fashion illustration, color and design theory, brand management strategies and trend forecasting will greatly enhance a talented, budding designer’s portfolio.
While proper training can help further a career, a talented fashion designer will have a variety of skills that may or may not be learned at a fashion school. For instance, an individual’s sketching abilities will help to translate a concept into a concrete design. This requires artistic talent. Comprehension of art and design history allows you to pull from timeless concepts, incorporating them into your design aesthetic while assimilating modern techniques into your garments. Furthermore, being an effective speaker is increasingly important, as designers should be able to articulate construction details with clients and production staff.
A first-rate fashion designer will continually reinvent or refine his/her work through practice. Taking the time to continuously sketch out ideas and experiment with different colors and fabrics can help any aspiring designer hone their skills, and begin their exiting careers in fashion.
A fashion designer’s job opportunities directly reflect the aspect of design they chose to focus on in their studies. Whether they design dresses, accessories or shoes, they all have a place within the fashion world. The best fashion designers will be up-to-date on current trends, and will be able to anticipate their targeted audience’s needs. Fashion designers should also be able to anticipate future trends seasons ahead of time.
A fashion designer may decide to work in high fashion—in which case they may want to frequent fashion shows and take note of the designs they see on the catwalk. This kind of fashion is commonly termed “haute couture.” On the other hand, a designer may want to work for lower-cost clothing companies that cater to a more widespread and mainstream audience. Fashion comes in all shapes and all sizes. A designer may decide that they want to specialize in plus size clothing or clothing for children.
The earning range of fashion designers is huge. According to Payscale.com, the starting salary for most fashion designers is $31,862 per year. With a few years of experience, salary jumps to $45,350, and with five to ten years of experience, fashion designers can expect anywhere between $62,246 to $78,441. It’s important to note that a fashion designer’s salary depends largely on the popularity of their clothing. In this way, the field is very results-driven.
In order to continue earning a salary, and in order to gain a larger salary, fashion designers must continually create popular and compelling work. Furthermore, the fashion designer’s employer type also plays a huge role in how much they will be paid.
If fashion designers are self-employed, they will inevitably make less money—usually around $35,000 to $40,000 on average. Designers who are employed through companies earn between $55,000 and $75,000. Location can also pay a factor in a fashion designer’s salary.
Not all famous fashion designers attended fashion school; but those who did will tell you that it better prepared them for the fashion world. Fashion design is a fast-paced, intense and stressful field where only the most talented and determined professionals enjoy successful careers. Your fashion degree will not only provide you with the needed technical skills for fashion jobs, but also the hands-on experience you need to prepare you for the industry.
Courses for fashion design majors include the following:
• Fashion design
• Fashion merchandising and marketing
• Knitwear design
• Fashion journalism
• Menswear design
• Textile design
• Active sportswear design
• Visual merchandising
On top of these courses, most fashion schools will require fashion design students to put on a student fashion show and/or create your own fashion line before graduation. The Academy of Art University chain is the only fashion school invited to show student work at the famous New York Fashion Week every year.