Fashion Designer Education Requirements and Career Information
Fashion designers are responsible for the styles of dress we see around us on a daily basis. They create the suits, dresses, shirts, shoes and accessories worn by millions of people each year. Most schools offer both 2- and 4-year degree programs in fashion design that typically include internship opportunities with clothing companies and professional designers.
Educational Requirements for Fashion Designers
In order to work in the fashion industry, prospective designers must complete an Associate of Science or Bachelor of Arts Degree in fashion design. Students enrolled in either of these programs are trained in fashion illustration, pattern drafting, draping, clothing construction, design, fashion history and production techniques. In addition to the technical and creative aspects of fashion design, the majority of these programs also include courses in marketing, accounting and business. These courses are likely to include presentation, fashion advertising, inventory control and maintenance and trend forecasting.
Internships and Professional Training
Fashion designers are not only trained in a classroom setting, but through internships and other professional environments. Most undergraduate programs in fashion design will include opportunities for students to complete course credits by working at design firms, manufacturing firms, retail stores or alongside stylists and tailors. These opportunities allow students to see first-hand how their work affects the marketplace and to gain sales and marketing experience.
Fashion designers conceptualize, design and manufacture apparel for men, women and children. They develop ideas into final products by making sketches of their ideas, selecting fabric, colors and patterns that work together in both a creative and functional way. After researching current fashion trends and forecasting future trends, designers then visit manufacturers and trade shows to select fabrics and patterns and begin work on their designs. A prototype of the garments is created and then adjusted until it ultimately resembles the designer's original concept and design. Final samples are then manufactured and presented to retail outlets. Fashion designers are subject to tight deadlines and long work hours, and they need to be able to work with suppliers, manufacturers and retailers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hunt for work in the fashion industry is highly competitive, and there will be little change in the number of employment opportunities for fashion designers from 2010 to 2020. The median wage for fashion designers was $62,860 per year in May 2012.
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