Tag Archives: Fashion Design

All About Fashion Design (Part 1) – Fashion Design, Fashion Structure and Fashion History

Fashion design

Fashion design is the art of the application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories. Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social lattitudes, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories. Some work alone or as part of a team. They attempt to satisfy consumer desire for aesthetically designed clothing; and, because of the time required to bring a garment onto the market, must at times anticipate changing consumer tastes.

Fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They must consider who is likely to wear a garment and the situations in which it will be worn. They have a wide range and combinations of materials to work with and a wide range of colors, patterns and styles to choose from. Though most clothing worn for everyday wear fall within a narrow range of conventional styles, unusual garments are usually sought for special occasions, such as evening wear or party dresses.

Some clothes are made specifically for an individual, as in the case of haute couture. Today, most clothing is designed for the mass market, especially casual and every-day wear.

Fashion designers can work in a number of ways. Fashion designers may work full-time for one fashion company, known as ‘in-house designers’ which owns the designs. They may work alone or as part of a team. Freelance designers work for themselves, selling their designs to fashion houses, directly to shops, or to clothing manufacturers. The garments bear the buyer’s label. Some fashion designers set up their own labels, under which their designs are marketed. Some fashion designers are self-employed and design for individual clients. Other high-fashion designers cater to specialty stores or high-fashion department stores. These designers create original garments, as well as those that follow established fashion trends. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers, creating designs of men’s, women’s, and children’s fashions for the mass market. Large designer brands which have a ‘name’ as their brand such as Calvin Klein, Gucci, or Chanel are likely to be designed by a team of individual designers under the direction of a designer director.

Structure

Designing a garment

Fashion designers work in different ways.Myriam Chalek, Owner of Creative Business House states it in Vogue Magazine: Each fashion designer is unique hence the uniqueness of the sample’s development. Nevertheless the mainstream is pretty similar: From a sketch to a sophisticated illustrated CAD design, fashion designers before using any fabric put their ideas on paper. It’s only once they have the concept of the wanted design that they will use fabric. Myriam Chalek explains that the first steps of the garment production are very important: once the designer is in sync with whats in his head and whats on paper, he will either create a muslin prototype of the sample and once satisfied he will have the pattern done and then the final sample. Or he will create a pattern and then work directly with the fabric to produce the sample. This second method is usually not recommended if the designer is going to modify the sample as it is being created in so far as the fabric can be wasted and the final sample not being the true representation of the original designer’s concept. The pattern production is the most crucial part of the garment’s production because job the fit of the finished garment/sample depends on the pattern’s accuracy. Samples have to be perfect because that’s what the fashion designer present to potential buyers.

History

Fashion design is generally considered to have started in the 19th century with Charles Frederick Worth who was the first designer to have his label sewn into the garments that he created. Before the former draper set up his maison couture (fashion house) in Paris, clothing design and creation was handled by largely anonymous seamstresses, and high fashion descended from that worn at royal courts. Worth’s success was such that he was able to dictate to his customers what they should wear, instead of following their lead as earlier dressmakers had done. The term couturier was in fact first created in order to describe him. While all articles of clothing from any time period are studied by academics as costume design, only clothing created after 1858 could be considered as fashion design.

It was during this period that many design houses began to hire artists to sketch or paint designs for garments. The images were shown to clients, which was much cheaper than producing an actual sample garment in the workroom. If the client liked their design, they ordered it and the resulting garment made money for the house. Thus, the tradition of designers sketching out garment designs instead of presenting completed garments on models to customers began as an economy.

READ ALSO:

ALL ABOUT FASHION (PART 2) – TYPES OF FASHION, INCOME, SCHOOLS

ALL ABOUT FASHION (PART 3) – FASHION STAR SYSTEMS, WORLD FASHION AND THE GLOBAL FASHION INDUSTRY

Source: Wikipedia.com

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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 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 4 ) – Learning the Fashion Lingo of the Fashion Industry !

Fashion Industry Terminology That May Come Up in an Interview

When it’s time for that big job interview, don’t get thrown off-guard when an interviewer uses a fashion industry term you don’t know. Make sure you’re familiar with the common apparel industry terms listed below. You might even try using some yourself to really impress!


Fashion Illustrations: Used most often in fashion design portfolios, these stylized fashion figure drawings are what most people think of when talking about “fashion design”. While fashion schools focus heavily on fashion illustrations, they are rarely used by designers in the apparel industry. Despite this, fashion illustrations are still used in fashion design portfolios, because they demonstrate a fashion designer’s sketching skills and individuality, adding a “wow” factor to their presentation.

Mood Board: Used often in fashion portfolio layouts, the mood board is placed at the beginning of each design group and contains images, fabric swatches, trims, and other findings, which express the mood, inspiration and color story for the collection of apparel designs that follow.

Flats: Flat sketches, better known in the fashion industry as “flats”, are black and white fashion sketches that show a garment as if it were laid “flat” to display all seams, hardware, and any other design details. While they can be drawn by hand, nowadays fashion flats are usually sketched using computer software such as Adobe Illustrator. Always included in design packages and tech packs, they serve as an important reference for patternmakers, merchandisers, as well as production and sales teams, and manufacturers. Flats are an absolute must in every apparel design room.


Line Sheet: A line sheet is a reference guide used by salespeople and buyers when discussing and presenting am apparel collection to buyers. Typically, several garment styles are listed on one page and the following information is included for each style: a black and white flat sketch, style number, season, price, delivery date / order cut-off date, color, and fabric information. They usually contain actual fabric swatches as well.

CADs: Fashion CADs, (Computer Aided Designs) are computerized, color rendered, flat sketches that simulate the appearance of an actual garment. As a basic rule of thumb, the more realistic the CAD sketch is – the better. CAD sketches are often used as visual aids during sales presentations, and can serve as a sample substitute when an actual sample is not yet available. They are often sent to buyers for visual references.

Presentation Boards: Most fashion presentation boards are simply CADs, except they are presented in a nicer layout. Usually including fabric swatches or artwork, they are preferred by most sales people for presentations. Even when real samples are available, they add variety to an already existing style.

Specs: Sample specifications or “specs” are garment measurements and details that are included in design packages and tech packs. Many apparel specs are shown along with fashion flat sketches, and are important to sample development.

Tech Pack: Also known as design packages, tech packs are vital to the garment production process. Usually they contain fully detailed fashion flats and specs, topstitching and hardware details, any necessary artwork layouts, and basically any other information required to produce a sample garment. Tech packs are sent to factories to make apparel samples for approval.

Fits: Fits, or garment fittings, is the process of making sure a sample garment meets all necessary measurement and detail specifications to achieve the desired fit. Conducted by technical designers, the apparel fitting process involves measuring a sample garment, checking all hardware, topstitching and details, and communicating any necessary comments or revisions with factories.

Grades / Grading: When the fit of a sample garment is approved, a size grade will be sent to the factories to begin production. A size grade is a chart containing measurements for the ordered size range of an approved style.

Color Card: The specific color themes used in each season’s fashion line are chosen from color forecasting services. Color cards are then assembled for fashion presentations, combining forecasted colors with standard popular selling colors.

Yarn Dyed: Fabric that is woven with yarns that were dyed before weaving. Most good quality fabrics are yarn dyed.

Piece Dyed: Fabric that is dyed in a vat by the bolt (full piece) after it is woven.

Lab-dips: Lab dips are conducted by factories to provide a visual aid of how a color will look when it is dyed. Since the lab dip is produced in a beaker and is not an actual production run, the actual production sample will vary from the lab dip that is provided. When the goods are dyed in a real production run, the conditions are dramatically different from the laboratory. Production does not begin on fabric unless a lab dip is approved or the customer waives the lab dip process.

Textile Design: Quite often in the apparel industry, fashion designers are involved in the process of creating textile designes, which is artwork for prints, plaids, or stripes to be used in fabric development and production.

Strike-off: A test sample of printed fabric made to show and verify color and pattern before entering into production on larger quantities.

Pitch Sheet: A pitch sheet shows a full repeat of a textile design and contains samples of the individual colors included in that print. Pitch sheets are used by factories to produce strike-offs for approval.

Source: Designernexus.com

Read also:

  • Fulfilling Your Vision ( Part 5 ):
    Becoming Your Own Fashion Designer
  • Put Together ( Part 6 ):
    What to Include in Your Fashion Portfolio
  • Setting the Course ( Part 7 ):
    Developing an Action Plan for Your Fashion Career
  • Look Good on Paper ( Part 8 ):
    Writing a Fashion Resume and Cover Letter that will Get You in the Door
  • Preparation is the Key ( Part 9 ):
    Preparing for, and Mastering the Interview

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How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 3 ) – Fashion Designer Skills 101

Important Skills that Fashion Schools – Don’t Cover Nearly Enough

In fashion school most of your time was spent learning how to draw fashion sketches, drape, sew, and create garment flat patterns. While these are certainly good skills for fashion designers to have, they aren’t very practical when you’re trying to land your first design job in the fashion industry. In the real world you’ll be expected to know how to draw fashion flat sketches, measure garment specs, and create CADs and presentation boards. I know some of you are thinking “But I learned those things in school too!.” To which I reply: “You think you know, but you have no idea!”

Apparel Draping and Patternmaking

Take it from experience: fashion schools don’t focus on the above skills nearly enough to fully prepare you for your first job in apparel design. Patternmaking and draping are valuable skills, which come in handy when you are dealing with a lot of apparel fittings. Usually garment fittings are conducted by technical designers, but if you are interested in a fashion design career for creative reasons, you’ll most likely be miserable in this type of position. On the creative side of fashion design, all you need is a basic understanding of what creates a good fit, and how to fix a bad one. In the vast majority of apparel designer positions, hands-on patternmaking skills are not necessary, unless you plan to enter Project Runway!

Sewing

On the creative side of fashion design, sewing is as relevant as patternmaking is for technical design. It’s good to understand the general concepts of garment construction, but you don’t need to be a seamstress. In the apparel industry, if you need to know how a certain garment is constructed, there are tons of references available: from apparel in clothing stores, to “how to” fashion design books and online articles. The point I’m trying to make is: if your sewing skills leave something to be desired, don’t stress over it.

Illustration

Sadly, fashion illustrations are a dying art in the fashion industry – they are very scarcely used by apparel designers in the real world. They take too much time and have no practical application. The fashion illustration has been replaced with computer drawn stylized garment sketches (floats) or more accurate technical flats (flat sketches), which are more popular for their practicality. Not only do they present a clear representation of the apparel design concept, but they are also a must have when it comes to garment production. Fashion flats can be turned into CADs and can be used in mood/presentation boards. Amazingly, fashion schools have not followed this industry shift, and still focus more heavily on fashion illustrations, and not enough on flat sketching.

Computer Programs

I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing popular computer applications for creating fashion flats, floats, and CAD sketches. Most apparel design companies expect proficiency in Adobe IllustratorAdobe Photoshop, and Microsoft Excel. These programs are relatively affordable in comparison to other fashion industry specific software, which run from $7Kto $30K per user – yikes! Unfortunately, the coverage of Illustrator and Photoshop provided by fashion schools does not meet the actual demands of the apparel industry. Many fashion companies also request knowledge of WebPDM, so if your fashion college offers a course in this program, it would be wise to take it. If your fashion school does not teach WebPDM, make it a point to find a school or venue that offers this program and take it!

On the Interview

It’s amazing how many fashion design candidates are rejected because they don’t know the most important basics. I’ll look at applicants’ fashion portfolios: filled with beautiful, well-drawn fashion illustrations and then say “That’s nice, but can you draw flat sketches?” If fashion flat sketches are included in their portfolios, they are usually very basic, lack important details, and are not visually appealing. If the candidate’s apparel sketches are halfway decent; my next question is “do you know Illustrator and Photoshop?” Almost everyone says yes,but when tested, it’s usually far from the truth. It’s not that they are lying… a lot of fashion design graduates and even professional designers seriously believe they know these programs well. They did well according to the fashion school standards; but fashion schools don’t teach how to use Illustrator and Photoshop for fashion designwell enough for entry level fashion designers to be competent in the demanding apparel industry. Fashion schools just cover the basics, which are quickly forgotten without practice. Take the extra effort to explore these and other CAD programs beyond what fashion schools teach: read books, find online courses and tutorials. Not only will you be ready with the skills you need to succeed in the fashion industry, but discussing how you went the extra mile to keep up with apparel industry standards will definitely impress any prospective employer!

Practice, practice, practice

My suggestion is to practice flat sketching as often as you can. Make sure you learn and are really comfortable with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop for Fashion Design – what you’ve learned in fashion school is not enough!! To acquire additional knowledge: read books, take additional courses, (offered in either classroom or online settings). Take a look at industry standard examples of flat sketches. Our Fashion Flats section contains many free downloads of flat sketches in both JPEG and vector (Illustrator) formats for your reference. If you can improve your skills to reach the quality of those shown, you’ll be in very good shape. They are free for you to use. Please download them so you can also use them as slopers to trace and basics to work from.

Educate Yourself!

Many fashion schools such as FIT in New York (Fashion Institute of Technology) offer “Flats and Specs for the Fashion Industry” courses. But believe it or not, they are not required by the curriculum; they are electives! These are some of the most important skills that fashion design students should be learning. Another good elective course is “Creative Fashion Presentation” – this skill is very handy. Sales people use CAD fashion presentations a lot as visual aids. In addition they create a good impression and convey your creativity level. If you can make outstanding fashion presentations, you’ll be asked to make them often, and believe me: it’s much more fun to make presentation boards than do fittings, send faxes, and organize showrooms.

Creating Specs in a Copycat Industry

So now we can talk about specs (garment specifications). Knowing how to spec (measure and detail) a garment is a fundamental skill for a fashion designer. Many apparel companies create their fashion spec sheets using Microsoft Excel. Although garment sizes and measurements vary from one fashion company to another, if you know the principles, you’ll be able to quickly adapt to the standards of any company. You don’t even need to know how to develop apparel specs from scratch!

As a head fashion designer, I’ve had to make decisions on what garment spec standards to use. Often I simply went to different fashion stores, and found garments with good fit and copied the basic measurements. And this isn’t a rare practice – the fashion industry is a major copycat industry: most apparel that we see hanging in the stores are knock-offs of another fashion brand, who copied the design from another design brand, and so on. There are even official terms for copied fashions! A “knockoff” is when a style is copied, and a “rub-off” is when patterns are copied. Once, while I was on a European shopping trip in London, a sales person at a store noticed I was a fashion designer collecting design ideas for an upcoming season. He mentioned that his store received a constant flow of fashion designers from American design companies such as Calvin Klein, whose designers come to knockoff their merchandise. That’s right: even top fashion design brands use knockoffs for their ready-to-wear collections.

Givenchy Fall Winter 2010/2011 Haute Couture - Veladoras: long   corseted dress hand embroidered in an open lace design in golden thread,   fine gold chain and crystals worn with a tail coat embroidered with   hand cut gold metallic sequins and crystals; Coronos: long corseted   dress embroidered with hand cut gold metallic sequins and crystals

To sum it up: in order to get a job in the fashion industry before the rest of the entry level fashion design candidates, you need to focus on refining skills that are highly demanded in the apparel industry. Become proficient in drawing flat sketches and include apparel flats in your fashion portfolio, and be extremely comfortable and knowledgeable in Illustrator and Photoshop. Check out the My Practical Skills Store, where you’ll find our ebook tutorials for Adobe IllustratorAdobe PhotoshopMicrosoft Excel, and How to Spec a Garment for the Fashion Industry. Each ebook contains easy to follow tutorials, with illustrations every step of the way. They are designed to prepare you with comprehensive industry specific skills and foundations to give your fashion design career a competitive edge.

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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