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How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 8 ) – Look Good on Paper

Writing a Resume and Cover Letter That Will Get You in the Door


The resume is your marketing tool that will sell employers on the idea of interviewing you. Even if you’re an ideal candidate for the position, if you don’t look good on paper, recruiters won’t give you a second glance. Not only do your skills and qualifications have to impress, but you need to make sure they stand out amongst the hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of other resumes that companies will receive for the same position. Keep reading to find out how to create a well organized, intelligent resume that will get you through the door!

What They Want to Know

Your resume should include the following information:

  • Contact info: Basic information about yourself that also serves as your header. Include: Name, Address, Phone, and Email
  • Objective: A brief statement (one or two sentences) describing the position you are seeking and how you hope to contribute to an employer.
  • Education: Name of school, Years attended, Concentration, Degree received, GPA (if above 3.0)
  • Qualifications/Skills: An itemized list describing relevant abilities such as knowledge of computer programs, languages, etc.
  • Work Experience: chronological list of previous employers, starting with the most recent. Include position held, duration, and important responsibilities/accomplishments.
  • Honors and Awards: List any honors and awards and year received.
  • Course Highlights/Relevant Activities: If you have limited work experience, list course highlights, or relevant extracurricular activities, clubs, or organizations you may have participated in.

There are tons of resume creating resources and examples out there, many of which can be misleading and inaccurate. If you choose to seek more examples, make sure you select a reputable source. Click on the resume sample link below to see our example of a well formatted, clearly organized resume.

What They Don’t Want to See

Knowing what not to include can be just as important as knowing what to include. When listing work responsibilities, don’t over exaggerate – a professional recruiter can see right through an unrealistic resume. Also avoid making general statements- if you can, always list specifics to support your qualifications. For example, instead of citing “designed collection of dresses”, state “designed and illustrated 5 piece dress collection for Fall 2007 collection”. Giving specifics adds individuality and gives the recruiter better insight into your achievements.

When listing job responsibilities, it’s a good idea to use action verbs to add variety to your statements. Write Express has a good variety of action verbs to choose from. And then of course are the basic resume no-no’s: any personal info like age, religion, race, and salary requirements have no business in your resume.

Formatting

There are of course many different ways to format your resume, but keep in mind that your resume has only a few seconds to grad the recruiter’s attention so if it’s not easy to follow, you won’t stand a chance! As an entry-level candidate or even after a few years of experience, your resume should not exceed one page. Recruiters won’t care what high school you went to (unless it was industry specific), or what your hobbies are, so keeping your content concise and relevant to the desired position is a good way to maintain a reasonable length.

Just because your resume is clean and organized, doesn’t mean you can’t get a little creative with it. Experimenting with different fonts and coloring for your headers is one way to make your resume stand out amongst a sea of black and white. If your field is eveningwear, using a delicate script for your headers can be a great accent. Just remember to keep it simple- the fonts should still be legible and should support, not detract from your resume.

Presentation

While you will probably use Microsoft Word or a similar word processing program to create your resume, if your resume is going to be emailed, you should convert the file to PDF. When printing your resume, select a professional presentation paper. Your local stationery or office supply store has tons to choose from. Once again, paper choice should not detract from the content of your resume or affect its appearance if your resume is faxed or photocopied.

Cover Letter

Anytime you fax or email your resume, it should be accompanied by a cover letter. The first thing that recruiter reads, the contents of your cover letter should serve as an introduction and offers an opportunity to talk briefly about your background and knowledge of the company. You should definitely invest the time to make your cover letter well-written and well-focused. A poorly written, vague cover letter is a surefire way to get your resume overlooked.

Without repeating the details of your resume, introduce yourself to your prospective employer in three or four concise paragraphs including the following points:

  • Why you are writing / the position of interest
  • What you have to offer the company (accomplishments, work ethic etc)
  • Your knowledge, enthusiasm and reasons for interest in the company
  • Request an interview and specify how you will follow up

Keep in mind that the desired outcome of the cover letter is for the recruiter to take action so it should be tailored specifically to the company you’re applying to instead of for a general position. Use your company research (you did research the company right?) and draw upon your knowledge of what they usually look for in successful employees to demonstrate how you can be an asset to their organization.

A quick word about following up: do it! I cannot tell you how many interviews I’ve received because I followed up after sending my resume. Not only does it demonstrate your follow up skills (very important) but it emphasizes your interest in the position. In one instance, a recruiter told me that from over 300 resumes he received, he contacted me for an interview because I was one of a handful of people who actually followed up. A handful (out of 300+) sounds like a pretty good way to make yourself stand out!

Once you’ve prepared your resume and cover letter, proofread them more than once to catch any mistakes or irrelevant information. Have a friend take a look to catch any mistakes you might have missed. When you’ve finished your resume, you’re ready to begin applying for positions! Remember that even after you’re hired, your resume should grow along with you. Keep it constantly updated as you gain experience and skills and when it’s time for you to look for another position, you’ll be glad you spent the time on it along the way.

Source: Designernexus.com

 

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How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 7 ) – Setting the Course

Decide Where You Want to Go and Develop an Action Plan to Get There

So you want to be a fashion designer, right? You might be applying to different fashion schools, already in school, about to graduate, or maybe you already have your first job in the industry. No matter which stage you’re at, it’s important to have an idea of where you ultimately want to end up. If you’ve read the previous “Break it Down” article, then you’re aware of the different categories and specializations within the fashion industry. Have you thought about which fashion market you want to end up in? What specialization? With so many different options, how do you know which one to choose? In this segment, we’ll walk you through the process of weighing your options, setting career goals, and developing a plan of action to increase your chances of reaching them.

Know Yourself

Before you can plan where you want to go, you need to figure out where you are. Getting a clear picture of who you are will clarify what will make you happy and fulfilled in your career, and in life. Here are a few things to ask yourself:

  • Preferences: What do you like to do?
  • Skills: What do you do well?
  • How do your personal desires fit into the picture?
  • How much do you value creating a balance between work and your family and friends?
  • Do you prefer a small or large company setting?
  • What are your work values, and how important is it that your employer shares these values?
  • What’s your ideal work environment?

Career assessments are great tools that will cover the above questions and more to help you identify and organize your qualities and preferences. Assessments can easily be found at your school’s career/guidance office, career agencies, and of course via Internet sites such as www.assessment.com.

Do Your Homework

Once you have a better idea of your skills, interests, traits, and desires, you can begin selecting career choices that fit you best, and weeding out the ones that don’t. Take another look at our “Break it Down” article, and using the results of your assessment, decide what design market is the most appealing to you. Select a category that interests you, such as menswear, womenswear, sportswear, or intimate apparel. Then break it down by specialization. Would you prefer to work with wovens, knits, tops, dresses, bottoms…? You may find a few that interest you- and that’s ok because the next step is to do your homework and research your chosen markets and specializations.

Make a list of companies within your chosen market and research them as well. Your objective is to educate yourself as much as possible in these areas so you can make an intelligent decision regarding career choice. As you learn more about your chosen paths, you may discover that you had unrealistic expectations and your needs and wants may change. Informational interviews can be a helpful way to gain insight into a particular category/company of interest. Informational interviews will be discussed in more detail in our “Preparation is Key” article (coming soon).

Define Your Goals

After assessing yourself and exploring your career options, the next step is to set career goals for what you hope to accomplish. Defining your goals will help you take the right steps to reach your ideal career. Keep in mind that your goals may change at anytime. In fact- as you reach your initial goals and continue to grow and develop personally and professionally, setting new goals will be essential. It is important to constantly motivate yourself- keep learning and striving for satisfaction. Remember, the world changes quickly and so do you!

Set the Course

To set your career plan in motion, you will need to follow through with the goals you’ve set. Break each goal into manageable “chunks.” Each week/month tackle a step or two. For example, if one of your first goals is to get a position as an entry-level designer for a better sportswear company, your calendar may look like this:

  • Week 1: Research moderate companies
  • Week 2: Prepare portfolio
  • Week 3: Prepare resume and cover letters
  • Week 4: Prepare interview responses and wardrobe
  • Week 5: Apply for positions

Breaking your goals into smaller tasks will help them seem more feasible, and by completing each task one by one, you’ll reach your goal faster than you thought!

When your job matches your interests and your personality, you are more likely to be happy and successful in your work. Having a plan of action and being prepared doesn’t mean that you’ll get that dream position immediately after graduation. But your classwork, job search, market research, etc. will all be focused in the direction that will get you there one day!

Mialn Fashion Campus

Source: Designernexus.com

 

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How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 6 ) – Well Put Together

What to Include in Your Fashion Portfolio

What’s the most common faux pas when it comes to fashion design portfolios? Many fashion design students and entry-level apparel designers make the mistake of filling their fashion portfolios with all of their favorite fashion illustrations, or photos of garments they’ve made.
The trouble with this is that apparel industry companies don’t need to see tons of imaginative avant-garde fashion sketches – who’s really going to wear that stuff? They just don’t sell! Don’t get me wrong, you should still show off some fashion figure illustrations and your ability to develop an apparel design collection, but following an organized presentation format is a much better approach to showing off your fashion design talents and skills.

Choose Your Dream Market

First thing’s first: decide in which market you want to have your fashion career, and make a list of fashion industry companies that fit into that category. For example, if you would love to be a fashion designer for a better sportswear collection such as Bebe, other fashion companies on your list could include Armani Exchange, Anthropology, and DKNY. Then take some time to look into the companies you chose. What’s their design philosophy? Who is their customer? Where do they draw inspiration from, and what does their current collection look like?

Once you’re familiar with the type of fashion industry companies you want to design for, think about what they want to see from you – the fashion designer. You’ll need to show that you have an eye for style and can create a cohesive apparel design collection for a specific customer, and the company should be able to identify with the price point and styling of your fashion designs.

Putting It All Together

In addition, most entry level or assistant fashion designers start out sketching computer fashion flats, assembling fashion presentation boards, and preparing apparel tech packs. Show your prospective employers that you’ve got each area covered! Develop a series of 3 to 6 small groups with 6 – 8 fashion figures or complete outfits per group. Start off each design group with an inspiration page: a collage of images, fabric swatches and other findings that help set the mood and introduce the color story for the group. Next come the fashion illustrations, which show fashion figures in various poses wearing your apparel designs. These fashion sketches will demonstrate how garments will look on a fashion body and give you the opportunity to express how you would match up each piece to create coordinated outfits.

 

Following your fashion figure illustrations are flat sketches or floats (stylized flats). A “flat” is basically a black and white sketch of how a garment looks when laid flat. Fashion flats must be clean, correctly proportioned, and include all garment details like: seams, topstitching, buttons and hardware. While some apparel companies still sketch flats by hand, the vast majority creates flat sketches via computer so it is important that you are comfortable using popular CAD software such as Adobe Illustrator for the fashion industry.

Apparel floats are more stylized versions of flat sketches that usually show some kind of movement in the garment. Alternating the use of flats and floats from one fashion design group to another is a good way to add variety to your fashion presentation layout while showing your versatility. Fashion CADs (flat sketches rendered with colors and fabrics) can also be incorporated into a group of your fashion illustrations or flats and can be added as a separate section.

 

And please don’t just display your fashion sketches on a plain white or solid color page! Tie each design group together using fashion backgrounds that follow the theme for each group. Fashion backgrounds are an extra opportunity to show your creativity and fashion presentation skills.

Does Size Really Matter?

In a word: yes! Make sure your fashion design portfolio is a manageable size. Most likely, you’ll be showing your fashion portfolio in an office and need to open it on a small or cluttered desk. Anything larger than 9″ x 12″ is just too large and unnecessary. I remember making my first fashion portfolio 11″ x 17″ (the advice of a college professor, believe it or not). As you can imagine, it was not practical at all – I even recall one interview in a small office where I had to present my apparel design portfolio from my lap!

That being said, by following these guidelines, you’ll be sure to create a kick butt fashion design portfolio that will get your talents noticed and give your fashion career a competitive edge amongst other apparel design candidates!

Source: Designernexus.com

 

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How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 5 ) – Fulfilling Your Vision

Becoming Your Own Fashion Designer

I know some of you may have been disappointed by the realities we exposed in our “How to Become a Fashion Designer” article series. Our apologies, but we had to destroy the bliss of naivety to spare you from many rude awakenings when you start your fashion career! That being said, I’m sure there are also some of you who are determined to become that ideal vision of a fashion designer: create your own label, design your own fashion lines, runway fashion show and the whole nine. We commend your ambitiousness and of course, we are here to help! Here’s our suggested approach to become your own fashion designer.

Learn the Fashion Biz

First thing’s first, and we’ve all heard it a million times: Fashion is first and foremost a business. Yes it’s true – you could have the best apparel collection in the world, but if you don’t have the business savvy to manage your fashion design operations or market yourself; you’re in for a rough and disappointing journey in the fashion industry. Countless talented fashion designers try creating an apparel line without the proper business foundation to support them. Issac Mizrahi, and Narciso Rodriguez are just a few well-known fashion designers whose fashion careers were almost destroyed by their lack of business knowledge.

We highly recommend educating yourself and taking business courses- either in school or on your own. Really get to know the fashion industry. However, if for some reason you prefer not to, you should at the very least seek a knowledgeable (and trustworthy) business partner to handle that end for you.

Finding a Niche

Concerning the actual apparel designs, if you want to make your mark and get noticed in the fashion industry, you have to make sure your apparel designs stand out amongst the swarm of pretty outfits already crowding the runways. If your vision for your collection is just to design “pretty” clothes, the chances of your work getting noticed are like finding a needle in a haystack! The cliché word of advice is to design for a niche market. But what does that mean?

A Cause for Design

Here’s our take on finding a niche: find a cause, and design for that cause. Choose something that you’re passionate about, or pick a theme and design for that theme. Create a trademark that you will become known for. Betsey Johnson is known for her funky, outrageous, one-of-a-kind garments that reflect her quirky personality. Diesel created their highly functional, hardware driven signature style from the construction worker lifestyle. When apparel designs are consistently focused around a specific element or concept, they will receive more attention and that concept will become your design signature. Once your fashion line is established and well known, you can always expand. And whatever you decide on, make sure it’s something you believe in; something you are passionate about. When your fashion designs come from the heart, it shows, and you’re inspiration will be endless.

Get Your Name Out There!

So once you’ve selected your cause and designed an extraordinary apparel collection around it, how do you make sure your fashion designs get publicity? Fortunately, modern technology makes promoting yourself a much easier task. There are tons of venues that showcase emerging fashion designers such as nolcha.com and haute.net (See the Independent and Underground Fashion at our Resource Center for more links). There you will find underground designer showcases that give beginner designers their own venue space. You bring the designs – they bring in the crowds.

In the past few years, an underground fashion revolution has emerged, creating a shift in the apparel industry. Consumers are tired of apparel fashion clothing that is dictated by an elite few fashion designers, and have begun searching for more unique, down to earth sources for their apparel & fashion needs. New waves of fashion designers are discovered in unconventional places and recognized for their individual fashion design styles. Educating yourself, knowing the business, designing for a cause you love, and promoting yourself through new avenues are all steps in the right direction towards having the fashion design career you’ve always envisioned!

Source: Designernexus.com

 

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How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 2 ) – Fashion Industry Career Specializations

Fashion Industry Career Specializations -BREAK IT DOWN

Coming straight from fashion school, you might be thinking that as a fashion designer, you’ll have the opportunity to work with all types of apparel. But what you may not know is that generally, the fashion industry is split into categories, and then categories within categories. Basically, the apparel industry is very specialized.
The breakdown begins with price (which usually corresponds with quality). The lowest apparel classification is Discount, and at the height of fashion is Haute Couture:
  • Discount Fashion: These stores sell fashion merchandise that retails at a discounted price from what other apparel stores charge. Outlet malls or stores like Ross, Walmart, Target, or Conway are example of discount retailers that sell discount labels.

  • Budget / Mass Market Fashion: Mass market apparel usually consists of knock offs of higher priced designer fashions that are sold at low competitive prices to the masses. Old Navy, Forever 21, and Charlotte Russe are a few popular budget apparel labels. Department stores in this category include JC Penney, and Kohl’s. This fashion market usually retails for less than $100.

  • Moderate Fashion: These include nationally advertised apparel fashion brands such as Nine West, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, and Zara. Examples of moderate department stores are Macy’s and Dillards. These apparel brands typically retail for less than $300.

  • Contemporary Fashion: More than just a specific price point, this classification is a fashion-forward image often aimed at women in their ’20s and early ’30s looking for trendy fashions priced more affordably than Designer pieces. BCBG, Betsey Johnson, Bebe, and Rebecca Taylor fall into the Contemporary fashion category, which usually retails for under $500.

  • Better Fashion: Also selling for less than $500, these collections use better quality fabric and styling than lower-priced brands. Armani Exchange, Jones New York and Anne Klein are a few examples of better-priced apparel lines.

  • Bridge Fashion: Priced under $1,000, these apparel fashion lines serve as a “bridge” between better and designer fashion categories. Bridge fashion includes names like Ellen Tracy, Dana Buchman, DKNY, Emporio Armani, and Lauren by Ralph Lauren.

  • Designer Fashion: True fashion designer collections typically sell for more than $1,000 per item. The fabrics, fit, details, and trims are superior to other ready-to-wear items. Some examples of designer labels are Gucci, Prada, Versace, Armani, and Chanel.

  • Haute Couture / Avant-garde Fashion: Also know as couture, these terms have been commonly misused by ready-to-wear brands. Haute Couture, or simply “couture” fashion designers sell custom, made-to-measure apparel, which costs tens of thousands of dollars, and is affordable only to a select few. Technically speaking, there are only ten official Haute Couture Fashion Houses including: Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel, and Givenchy. Avant-garde fashion designers produce high quality, one-of-a-kind garments that experiment with new fashion design concepts and push the envelope of popular apparel design.

Even within the fashion industry categories listed above, each apparel market is broken down into more specific career specializations. First, fashion companies are broken down by customer: men’s, women’s, children’s etc. Then are further divided by type of apparel: sportswear, eveningwear (special occasion), sleepwear etc. And then even fashion design teams are designated to specific areas like Wovens, Knits, Sweaters, Tops, Bottoms, Dresses, Outerwear and so on.

A discouraging thing to note about the fashion industry is that it is very difficult to move from one career category to another. If you start building your fashion design career with mass-market apparel companies, you’re going to face some barriers when you apply for that dream fashion designer job at Ralph Lauren. The same goes for apparel design specialties. If you’re experienced in designing children’s woven tops, chances are you won’t land a position designing women’s dresses. If you’re absolutely determined on making a switch in the fashion industry, you’re best bet is to start from the bottom in your desired career field and work your way up again.

Something else to consider is the different types of apparel manufacturers and retailers out there. There are fashion manufacturers who design and produce their own apparel designs, which are then sold to fashion retailers. These manufacturers do not have their own retail fashion stores. Examples include Shoshanna, Jones New York and Carmen Marc Valvo. There are also fashion manufacturers that own licenses for a variety of brands. For example, at the time of this writing, Phillips Van Heusen (PVH) owns Calvin Klein and IZOD, but licenses brands like DKNY, Sean Jean, and Kenneth Cole.

Then, there are fashion retailers that only sell merchandise purchased from manufacturers. These include stores like Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus. There are also many manufacturers that also have their own fashion retail locations such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Armani Exchange and Nicole Miller. Other apparel retail stores have their own product development teams and have merchandise manufactured specifically for their private label designs such as Gap, Old Navy, and Express. In addition to purchasing merchandise from outside manufacturers, many department stores also have their own private label collections. Examples are: I.N.C. (Macy’s), and Arizona Jeans (JC Penney).

Pre-Fall 2011

The largest employment opportunities out there lie within mass-market apparel companies. They often pay rather well to begin with, however these figures usually level off after a few years of experience. The higher-end fashion markets pay less to start, and work hours are longer, but the prestige you’ll receive from such reputable companies will do wonders for your resume.

Source: Desigernexus.com

 

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How to Become Fashion Designer (Part 1) – Creating a Competitive Edge in the Fashion Industry

Creating a Competitive Edge in the Fashion Industry



Here you are, about to enter the real world with your fashion portfolio full of stunning design illustrations and a head full of hopes. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that glamorous perception of the apparel industry is a myth, and that vision of yourself as a famous fashion designer with your own clothing line is almost close to impossible to reach. The actual chances of that are probably the same as becoming a movie star.
High Fashion by Karl Lagerfeld 01
This doesn’t mean you won’t become a successful apparel designer working for a company – it means that your chances of becoming the glamorous clichè portrayal of a fashion designer are quite slim. Not only do you have to compete with the already established professional apparel designers, but nowadays throw pop singers, celebrities, and TV stars into the mix. There is a better chance that you’ll end up working for an established fashion designer’s collection or as a designer for the next big celebrity’s apparel line.
High Fashion by Karl Lagerfeld 05

If this sounds like old news to you, then congratulations – you’re a step ahead of the game because you already know what you’re getting into. If what I just said comes as a total surprise, take a moment to let reality sink in – and then keep reading. In either case, we want to give you the info you need to know to prepare yourself for what lies ahead. In this “miniseries” of fashion career articles we are going to cover:

High Fashion by Karl Lagerfeld 03

High Fashion by Karl Lagerfeld 04

All the articles from the list above help give you that much-needed competitive edge and increase your chances of getting where you want to go within the fashion industry. Basically, we want to prepare you as much as possible for a career in fashion, so take it from fashion designers who have been in your shoes, and soak it up!

Source: Designernexus.com

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Fashion Designer Career Information

Fashion Designers Overview

Fashion designers with a 2-year degree or 4-year degree in fashion design who are knowledgeable in fashion trends, fabric, and textiles are what employers are looking for. Due to the creativity and glamour of the job, there is a lot of competition to become a fashion designer. Most jobs for fashion designers are in California and New York.

Nature of the Work for Fashion Designers

Fashion Designers
Fashion designers study fashion trends, sketch designs of clothing and accessories, select colors and fabrics, and oversee the final production of their designs in order to produce clothing items and accessories that consumers want to purchase. Fashion designers can work in men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, including intimate apparel and maternity wear.


Many fashion designers specialize in clothing, footwear or accessories but some enjoy creating designs for all three. Between 18 and 24 months, fashion designers begin their design process and turn it into a final production. A fashion designer’s first step is to research trends in current fashion and to predict the trends that will follow. Whether they use trend reports or do their own research, fashion designers rely on the research to indicate what styles, colors, and fabrics will be popular in the upcoming season.

Trend reports and research are also important to textile manufacturers who use the information to begin designing patterns and fabric simultaneously with the fashion designer who is sketching the design. Once a fashion designer’s sketch is complete, the fashion designer and manufacturer meet to discuss fabric and pattern choices.

A prototype is created once the design and fabric are agreed upon which uses cheaper materials as a model to make any necessary adjustments.

Once a fashion designer make a decision, article samples are made and distributed to clothing retailers. Fashion designers can also see their design at fashion and trade shows throughout the year.

Though many fashion designers sketch by hand, many use computer-aided design (CAD) to translate the sketches into the computer where fashion designers can view their designs on virtual models.

The involvement of a fashion designer depends on the size of the design firm and experience. For large design firms, fashion designers usually take on the role as lead designer who create designs, choose colors and fabric and oversee the technical designers responsible for turning the idea into a final product. Large firms may also employ their own pattern makers and tailors as well. For fashion designers working in smaller firms, a bulk of their work includes overseeing technical aspects, pattern making, and sewing. Some fashion designers choose to work for apparel wholesalers or manufacturers. This involves fashion designers to design for the masses where designs come in various colors and sizes.

Many fashion designers are also self-employed and design for individual clients as well as those who sell their designs to retail or specialty stores. Fashion designers in costume design for motion picture, performing arts or television productions perform extensive research on certain styles and eras and then draw sketches, select fabrics and oversee production. They may also be restricted to a costume budget.

Fashion designers employed by manufacturing establishments, wholesalers, or design firms will usually work normal and regular hours while those who freelance can either work by job or under a contract. Freelance fashion designers can work long hours in smaller environments where pressure is intense from clients. Whether fashion designers work in large firms, small firms, or freelance, long hours will occasionally be necessary for all fashion designer who have to meet deadlines or prepare for fashion shows.

Communication is essential for fashion designers who are constantly dealing with suppliers, customers and manufactures.

Fashion designers may also need to travel for fashion shows or to get fabric.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Fashion Designers

A fashion designer typically needs an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in fashion design in order to find employment. Fashion designers who may be thinking about running their own business or store may also combine a fashion design degree with a business,marketing, or fashion merchandising degree. Typical courses for an associate or bachelor’s degree in fashion design includes color, textiles, sewing and tailoring, pattern making, fashion history and computer-aided design (CAD). Taking courses in human anatomy, mathematics, and psychology can also be useful for understanding the body and how to run a company.

Around 300 postsecondary institutions with programs in art and design are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Most schools expect a basic art or design course to be completed before formal admittance into a program is allowed. Sketches may also be requested before admittance.

Interning, working at manufacturing firms, working at retail stores or with a personal stylist can help fashion designers learn the necessary skills of the industry.

Those who want to become successful fashion designers can also enter their designs into amateur or student contents.

Fashion designers must have a strong aesthetic, good communication skills, be able to problem solve and sketch. A good portfolio is also important for an aspiring fashion designer to have. The ability to work well in teams is also important for fashion designers who will remain in contact with manufacturers, supplies, and buyers.

Though design is a big part of becoming a fashion designer, they must also be knowledgeable in pattern making and sewing. Knowledge of these skills will make it easier for fashion designers to instruct others on how garments should be constructed.

Those starting out as fashion designers usually begin as sketching assistants for pattern markers. After working for an experienced designer, fashion designers may be able to advance to such positions as design department head or chief designer.

Some fashion designers also go on to start their own business or begin selling their designs to stores.

Top 10 Most Popular Fashion / Apparel Schools

1. Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, New York)
2. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising – Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California)
3. The New School (New York, New York)
4. Academy of Art University (San Francisco, California)
5. International Academy of Design and Technology (Multiple Campus Locations)
6. Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa)
7. Katharine Gibbs School – New York City (New York, New York)
8. Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, Georgia)
9. The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
10. Virginia Commonwealth University – Richmond (Richmond, Virginia)

See All Fashion/Apparel Design Schools

Online School: The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division

Employment and Job Outlook for Fashion Designers

Number of People in Profession

15,780

Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to little or no change (decrease or increase by 2%).

Job Opportunities & Competition

May face, or can expect, keen competition for job opportunities. Job openings may be fewer than job seekers.

About 15,780 jobs are held by fashion designers, 31 percent work for apparel, piece goods, and wholesalers while 13 percent work for apparel manufacturers.

With a high demand for clothing, footwear, and accessories, some new jobs may open for fashion designers. Middle-income consumers are demanding affordable yet stylish clothing which means fashion designers will be needed in apparel wholesalers.

Since most apparel manufacturing is done overseas, cut and sew manufacturing jobs will likely decline.

Design firms that design mass-market clothing in department stores and retail stores will offer the most job opportunities for fashion designers.

Earnings and Salary for Fashion Designers

Median annual wages for salaried fashion designers are $64,260. The middle 50 percent earn between $44,110 and $90,020. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $32,320, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $130,900.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Source: Campusexplorer.com

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