How to Become a fashion designer? Skills, salary, job profiles explained

Break into the Fashion Industry by being a Fashion Designer following these steps. We've covered everything you need to know about being a Fashion Designer.

Fashion Designers are considered to be some of the most creative professionals in the Fashion Industry. You love fashion trends and sketching designs on the back page of your notebook is the best time pass for you, so you might be considering Fashion design as a course to pursue.

But before you become a fashion designer or pursue your studies there might be multiple questions that need to be answered.

Fashion designing is one of the most charismatic career choices as it involves creativity, works best for people who’re highly passionate about art and design.

What Does a Fashion Designer Do?

A fashion Designer is a highly creative profile who’s responsible for what people wear. keeping up with trends, coming up with sketches for their clients(market), coming up with new designs and fabric innovations is where a designer comes into play.

Check out the different types of Fashion designers, ready-to-wear, mass market, shoe, and accessory designers to name a few.

Below is a detailed fashion designer key responsibilities explained one by one.

1. Find Inspirations

As creative professionals, fashion designers may draw their inspiration from anything they like. But an inspiration helps them to maintain a theme around their collection that further brings uniformity and originality to their collection.

You can also create a Fashion Moodboard once you’re done with finding inspirations as it helps you get a clear vision on how to proceed further.

2. Textures and Fabrics

Fashion Designers have a good hold on different fabrics. They know what fabric to use for any silhouette that they want. Their choice of fabrics depends on the color, texture, buying power of their target audience, durability, etc. They use software like Illustrator and CAD to sketch designs.

3. Come up with a Collection 

Once they know every detail of the other dynamics, based on their research and creativity, they come up with their collections which are either displayed through runways or retail stores later.

4. Check Production & Manufacturing

The collection is first on paper which is then doodled on Illustrator. The manufacturing and production start if it’s a mass collection. Custom-made designers mostly get it done by their teams.

5. Market and Sales

Taking care of marketing and sales means if you’re an independent designer, you need to market them as a setup for the promotion of your designs or send them to retailers for selling them further. Marketing plays a major role in keeping your buyers/ audience aware of your collections.

The Average Salary for Fashion Designers

Most of the time, a fashion designer works full time. Either he/she works independently as a brand or works under a brand to design their clothes. An average salary for fashion designers ranges from $7.25 to $50.25 per hour, where New York pays the highest of $79,110 an average per year followed by California ($78,680), Maine ($72,940), etc. 

How to Become a Fashion Designer in 2022

These are a few steps you must follow to become a Fashion Designer:

1. Education

Irrespective of any career that you chose to be in, getting a professional education that will enlighten you with the fashion industry facts helps a lot. It covers the history of design, a lot of design and fashion references in the context of evolution, the current and future trends. 

We’ve listed a variety of fashion schools you can choose to attend, check them out.

2. Technical Skills

Skills are more important than having a graduation certificate. With better skills your problem-solving capabilities and design techniques. Good hold on specific skills will always be better than your competition. These skills include Pattern Making, Sewing, Illustration, etc.

3. Niche Down Your Skills

While it’s important for a fashion designer to have a list of skills, it’s important to niche down to 2-3 skills which should be your USP than your other skills while you work.

Technical knowledge of software, rendering, sketching, and sewing helps you provide a better quality of content. 

Read about various fashion apps that help you to build skills like styling etc.

4. Learn about Different Fashion Designers

Learning case studies of different designers will help you get guidance that no one else can provide. Read about Fashion Designers like Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi, Tom Ford to get inspired and then create a path of your own. This also helps you crack that designer profile interview if you aspire to get one.

5. Develop a Portfolio

A portfolio helps a head designer or recruiter understand your creativity, thought process, and understanding is recruiting. It helps you as a designer to collect your work and showcase it as a souvenir of the work you’ve done so far. It’s ideal to make a portfolio before you work so it’s easy on both ends.

Here’s how you can create a Fashion Portfolio to get started.

6. A Resume

A Fashion designer, just like any other job profile would need an impressive resume to be able to work with big brands and designers. Most of the time, a recruiter asks for your resume and portfolio before hiring or getting considered for a job.

7. Internship

Internship at a respected brand or a designer label helps you improve your skills and get a real-life experience on how work-life would look like and the skillsets you need for a specific designation.

An Internship is considered crucial for your learning module as it provides hands-on practical knowledge about things you’ve theoretically read.

Get your desired Fashion Internship and learn every skill required to ace as a Fashion designer.

8. Building a Professional Network

Networking involves building connections with people in the fashion industry while becoming a fashion designer as it helps you get to know more people that brings more opportunities and jobs.

9. Focus on your Target Market

There are various fashion designers already acing in various fields. While you enter the market, you must know what you are getting into. Hence do deep market research, find loopholes where you can create a monotony of your own. There goes a lot behind researching for the right audience, make sure you spend that time. This is an ideal situation if you want to start your own Boutique.

10. Market Yourself

Create content online to showcase your talent. You not only get recognized by recruiters but you have your audience to sell your collection which is a boon in the world of digital media.

Can You Become a Fashion Designer Without a Degree? 

Fashion Design is a creative education that can only be pursued if you’re artistic enough. That means it has more to do with art, creativity, and skills than a typical degree. 

Although there are various Fashion Colleges to get an education, you can become a Fashion Designer without a degree too. These are a few steps you can follow to help yourself out:

  • Introduce yourself to Design Softwares
  • Illustration
  • Technical Skills
  • Attend Events and Network
  • Develop a collection/ Portfolio

1. Introduce Yourself to Design Softwares

Design Software makes your work a lot easy and optimized. There are different Design Softwares like CAD, Illustrator, Indesign, Photoshop to get hold of designing and editing skills that will help you for a longer run.

2. Illustration

Sketching on paper and software is considered to be a core skill while you want to pursue Fashion Designing. Practice and get accustomed toiIllustratng various designs on a sketchbook and software like Illustrator.

Try Adobe Illustrator Courses on Udemy, if you feel like getting trained professionally.

3. Technical Skills

Technical Skills involve Pattern making, sewing, embroidery making, etc. You need to have a good hold of these skills. You can follow different Youtube Channels to help yourself be educated in this setup.

4. Attend Events and Network

Networking is crucial whether you want to get a job or start your line. Attend fashion events, you can also connect people on LinkedIn and have conversations about things that interest you, of course in the fashion domain, ask questions from people who’re experienced in this field.

Read about different types of Fashion Events you can attend and get yourself noticed.

5. Develop a Collection/ Portfolio

Coming up with your collection and building an impressive portfolio will help you get your dream job. Keep working hard until you reach the desired fashion portfolio based on types of Fashion Design categories, upload it on Behance and apply to different firms if that’s what you’re looking for.

Fashion Designer Salary in the Usa?

The average salary for a fashion designer in the United States is around $68,960 per year. An average salary for fashion designers ranges from $7.25 to $50.25 per hour in the US, which makes an average of $63k to $97k, whereas New York pays the highest of $79,110 an average per year.

Are Fashion Designers Happy?

Fashion Designers rank highly among careers. Overall they rank in the 77th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores. Fashion designers have rated their job profile 3.6 out of 5 which makes it better than average job satisfaction.

Even if workload and pressure are quite much expected as in other designations, since Fashion designing is more on a creative end, people tend to enjoy the designation better than others.

Resources for Fashion Designers

These are some of the fashion associations and groups that can work as resources of learning for you:

  • International Association of Professional Fashion Designers
  • The United States Fashion Industry Association
  • Association of Sewing And Design Professionals
  • Americas Apparel Producers Network
  • International Association of Clothing Designers and Executives

These associations help students to break into Fashion Industry, help them be skillful, in receiving discounts on certificate courses, provide advocacy services, webinars, annual conferences, and a career center to name a few of these benefits.

In addition, websites like WWD, BoF, Fashionista, FibretoFashion, Fashion Brain Academy, Successful Fashion Designer Podcasts help you stay updated with everything that you need to know about Fashion Industry.

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