There’s just something about the fabrics, the colors and the fashionista spirit that drives you to this field. Becoming a fashion designer means so much more than understanding clothes. It’s knowing how to identify the trends that drive the consumer to buy. Learn that, and your career potential may very well be unlimited.
The Fashion Design 411
The fashion design industry is comprised of a wide variety of professional positions that range from the creative to the systematic. The population of true designers is a select group, with new positions and annual turnover remarkably low.
The median annual wage of fashion designers in May 2007 was $62,810, with the top 10 percent earning $121,640 and the bottom 10 percent earning $31,340. Potential salary and employment opportunities should be best with design firms that create mass market clothing. Also, because about 25 percent of professional in this field work temporary or contract positions, the environment can be right for entrepreneurs and business self-starters.
Becoming a Fashion Designer: What It Takes to Get There
The road to become a fashion designer is similar to most trade or artisan fields. Two paths exist: a traditional academic route and a career training alternative. Approximately 250 postsecondary institutions accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design offer 2- or 4-year degrees in fine arts. Community colleges and trade schools also provide career training without the breadth of a liberal arts-based degree.
During or after training, potential candidates typically intern with manufacturers, buyers, or retail outlets in preparation for the day-to-day demands of the job. Opportunities for interdisciplinary and international study should be available to promising students.
Program and Course Requirements
The changing landscape of the fashion design industry is taking students through an unusually contemporary readiness strategy. The emergence of Auto CAD as a design tool is placing a premium on candidates with advanced technical skills. Also, communications remains an integral part of the job and encourages students to consider the academic development option.
Common courses may include textiles, color, pattern making, sewing, tailoring, fashion history, and more. You may also develop a working portfolio during your studies that can be used both to gauge your progress and market yourself to potential employers.
Become a Fashion Designer: Short-cuts and Time Savers
Some things to do to keep yourself ahead of the curve:
o Prepare Early. Get basic courses out of the way as soon as possible–mathematics, psychology, design and sketching, and human anatomy to name a few.
o Make Contacts. Use your preparation period to cultivate valuable industry and career contacts that you can leverage when job-hunting.
o Continue Learning. Professional development is one of the keys to becoming a fashion designer; that means always taking advantage of conventions, workshops, and showings.
Your fashion design career should be what you make it. As with most creative fields, conscientious planning and a determination to learn the basics often make the difference.