|Fashion Designer: A Quick Look
||$62,860 per year
$30.22 per hour
||Post-secondary education (bachelor’s degree)
||Apparel and entertainment industries
|Number of positions (U.S.)
|Job Growth (2010-2020)
||-3 per cent (declining, compared to the national average)
|New positions (2010-2020)
What Does A Fashion Designer Do?
Fashion Designers work long and strenuous hours in the world of fashion. They spend a large portion of their time designing apparel, accessories, or footwear with computer-aided design software.Read more.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fashion Designers earned a median yearly pay just shy of $63,000 in 2012.Read more.
Becoming A Fashion Designer
The best path to becoming a Fashion Designer is to attend a higher learning institution and receive a bachelors degree in a related field (either fashion design or fashion merchandise).Read more.
CLICK HERE TO FIND LOCAL & ONLINE FASHION DESIGNER SCHOOLS
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the fashion industry (and the Fashion Designer position by extension) will experience a 3 percent decline between 2012 through 2022.Read more.
Fashion Designer Salary According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly pay for a fashion designer in May 2012 was $62,860. Median salaries serve as the midpoint of all earnings in a respective field. These salary ranges represent the halfway point in which half the professionals in the field make earn and the other half earn less. The lowest earning 10 percent of employees in the field earned less than $34,110 that year. In contrast, the highest earning 10 percent earned over $126,290. As you probably noticed, a wide disparity exists between the highest and the lowest earners in the field. Income in the field of fashion differs widely based on a fashion designer’s professional acumen, place of employment, and reputation. While starter salary packages in the fashion industry may be very low, salaries for more experienced figures are typically much higher and stable. Typically, a freelance or self-employed fashion designer earns much less than a salaried one. The most reputed and famous freelance designers in the business earn impressive levels of income. We've also compiled a list of the top five ranking industries who employ fashion designers ranked by number of professionals enlisted, produced the following salaries:
- Company and Enterprise Management - $78,590
- Specialized Design Services - $62,560
- Apparel Manufacturing - $62,390
- Apparel, Piece Goods, and Wholesale Products - $60,590
- Wholesale Electronics - $57,950
This first item on the list, company and enterprise management, probably won't surprise anyone considering the corporate nature of the industry. Surprisingly, Fashion Designers working in the electronics industry earned the lowest average income.
How To Become A Fashion Designer Almost all Fashion Designers these days have graduated from some higher learning institution with a degree related to the field (such as fashion design or fashion merchandise). Most employers higher designers based on the level of creativity they can demonstrate. However, technical knowledge of the clothing, accessory, and footwear manufacturing process is also essential to finding employment in the fashion industry. Educational Requirements As previously mentioned, fashion designers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising. In order to earn such a degree, a candidate will need to learn about the many facets of fabric production and fabric characteristics/care. The candidate will also accumulate various CAD skills which will enable them to create designs on the computer. Artistic skill are also a must since most aspiring Fashion Designers will only have their portfolio of artistic sketches and designs to show for themselves. Fashion Designer’s rely heavily on their portfolios. These artistic resumes are extremely important, just as they are for most other artists. This portfolio should include as wide a range of styles and designs as possible to prove a fashion designer’s skill and personal vision. Early on in the Fashion Designer's career, employers will base their hiring decisions on this portfolio alone. As a fashion design student, you should also take part in numerous design and student fashion competitions to further expand your portfolio and reputation. Over 300 post-secondary institutions exist in America with accredited art and design programs from the National Association of Schools and art design. You can obtain a fashion design degree from most of these schools. Usually, you will have to prove you’ve taken basic art and design classes before the school can accept your enrollment. Schools usually base the application process on sketch submissions and other types of proof attesting to artistic skill level. Professional Experience Candidates typically gain acceptable levels of professional experience in the fashion industry through hands-on internships and assistantships to older, established designers. Internships serve as an efficient method to effectively network within the fashion industry. They also teach candidates how the design process unfurls, and consolidate one’s knowledge of fabrics, colors, and artistic creation. With time and accumulated experience, fashion designers may become chief designers, heads of a company's design department, or creative directors. They also fill various other management/supervision positions or even start their own fashion design business. The most successful professionals in the field will go on to work for the highest end fashion labels and design houses in the industry.
Fashion Designer Job Description Fashion Designers typically work full time. However, part time job opportunities for Fashion Designers also exist. Working hours in the field may be long and strenuous. This is especially true during the busy time right around the end of a production or fashion show's deadline. Since self-employed fashion designers work in contract-based regimens, employers typically expect them to work longer, more flexible hours. Employers also expect these self employed designers to adjust to their needs and schedules. Duties A fashion designer's job usually consist of the following responsibilities:
- Research contemporary trends and designs to gauge the needs and interests of the public
- Choose the theme and style of an upcoming collection
- Design apparel, accessories, and/or footwear using computer-aided design software
- Collect textile samples from industry trade shows or manufacturers
- Pick out the embellishments, colors, styles, and fabrics of each specific item of footwear, apparel, or accessory
- Pitch or showcase design ideas to the fashion house creative director, as well as to other decision makers in the industry through trade shows;
- Market the resulting apparel and accessory designs both to the public, as well as to the retailers
- Supervise the production process of each individual design
In larger apparel companies, designers usually work with one another in large teams. A creative director leads these teams. While some designers specialize exclusively in apparel, accessory, or footwear design, some designers work in all three categories at once. Some designers begin the design process from trends and style ideas they collect from industry reports and market research; however, others take their design inspiration from their daily lives and experiences as well as from artwork and the media. The first step in the fashion design process usually involves producing a sketch of the design, either via freehand, or with the aid of CAD software. This design is then modeled in a virtual environment and adjusted in terms of style, design, color, or fabric. Producing a cheaper prototype of the design and modeling it on a real-life model can actually replace this digital modeling stage in order to make the necessary adjustments to the design. After the initial sketch or prototype have become definitive designs, the designer produces samples with the very same materials that will end up being used in the production process per se. These samples are presented in trade shows, modeled before creative directors, or sent out to fashion editors for feedback. The items that receive positive responses then go into mass production followed by marketing and retail campaigns. Several types of designers work in various industries. These designers include clothing designers, footwear designers, and accessory designers. Costume designers, designers who produce designs used in the entertainment industry (dance, film, theater, television, etc.), also need to research their designs more thoroughly for accuracy and adequacy. They also work closely with the actors and directors involved.
Job Outlook The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the fashion industry and the position of Fashion Designer will experience a 3 percent decline from 2012 to 2022. This decline stands out in contrast the estimated percentage of growth in all employment in the US during the same period (11 percent). While all the occupations in the arts, media, entertainment and sports will likely see a 7 percent increase in growth during that span of time, the Bureau expects the field of fashion design to see a drastic decline. The Bureau predicts that the international expansion of apparel production will account for this decrease in employment. Since the apparel industry has been estimated to see a 51 percent decline over that same decade, the decreasing need for Fashion Designers only makes sense. The U.S. will still likely need fashion, accessory, and footwear designers, especially since the development of new clothing technologies will prompt more ample opportunities for creating clothing and footwear from exciting new fabrics. The fashion industry will remain competitive. The number of candidates is high while the number of available job opportunities is limited and cannot support the high numbers of candidates. Those with good portfolios, experienced in the industry, and with a formal, higher education related to the field have the best chances at finding employment as fashion designers. New York and California hold the highest number of job opportunities in the country.