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How to Become a Fashion Designer?

Do you fancy becoming a fashion designer?

Have you been designing at home and want to find out how to reach a wider audience and showcase your skills to the world?

Fashion designers need to have various skills; these include art and design, as well as a general knowledge of the industry. There are many roles for a fashion designer to jump into, whether mass-market, ready-to-wear, or high fashion couture.

We are living in a world where everyone is attached to their phones. With more and more people using social media to showcase their designs and work, it is far easier to reach a wider audience than in the past. However, the market is competitive, and you must stand out to be successful. A budding fashion design hopeful should choose a niche.

So, let’s take a look at How to Become a Fashion Designer and what this exciting career entails!

how to become a fashion designer

What Is A Fashion Designer?

The fashion design industry is a multi-billion dollar business with a great variety of career options. A fashion designer sketches, designs, and creates fashion garments for profit. However, it doesn’t stop there; they don’t only make clothes.

They must communicate with other sectors in the fashion business, such as merchandisers, stylists, costume designers, magazine editors, semesters, and many more. A fashion designer’s main skill is design, but communication and creativity are also key.

So, let’s take a look at the skills needed to become a designer…

how to become fashion designer

Skills Needed

Artistic Capability

First of all, you must have decent artistic skills. If you are not artistic or have no basic knowledge in art and design, you need to cross a career in fashion design off your list. You must be able to sketch and create drawings with realistic ideas so you can bring them to life.

Most if not all fashion designers already have a natural artistic flair. Not all artistic skills can be taught; however, you can take courses and practice to expand and evolve the skill you already have.

Creativity

Designers must come up with original ideas and execute them well. Selling clothing in a busy market is a challenge. Designers must think of ways for their garments to stand out from the crowd. Most designers create garments that are recognizable and distinguishable to them. Some designers want people to look at something and know exactly who made it!

Sewing Skills

As a fashion designer, you must have basic knowledge of sewing skills. If you have been interested in the industry for some time, you will likely have already practiced these skills at home – fantastic! However, if not, it’s highly advised you come up to speed on basic sewing skills using a machine. Knowing how garments come together and which fabrics work using the sewing machine will help create a sleeker or desired design.

how to become fashion designers

Fabric Knowledge

First of all, familiarizing yourself with different materials and fabrics is a great way to learn how to design successful products. There are excellent resources online to teach you additional skills such as embroidery, sewing, crochet, and changing tension stitching.

Make sure to touch and feel fabrics and not just go with a small swatch so you can truly understand how the garment will come together. Often universities spend a lot of time guiding students on fabric choices and details that complement each other.

Business Skills

If you are starting your design business by yourself, you must know how to run a business. This includes keeping track of budgets, pricing, and thinking of ways to advertise and promote your products.

Excellent Communication Skills

A fashion designer isn’t always the one sewing and piecing together the outcome of the product. This means you have to give clear direction to staff or a seamstress. Communication is key in almost any job role but especially an artistic position.

You want your designs to come to life and be exactly how you designed and imagined them. Therefore you must possess the skills to guide people to create the perfect final products.

Competitive

If you have a competitive streak, this industry is perfect for you! The fashion design industry is highly competitive. You only have to look online to see the thousands of retailers selling their products and creating innovative ideas. Designers must keep up with the new trends. They must strive to be a step ahead of the competition at all times.

Style

This doesn’t have to be personal style, but understand which colors compliment each other and which items look great together. Not to say don’t think outside the box. Fashion designers are renowned for taking risks. But, make sure the clothing is wearable for your target market.

Work Well With Others

As a designer, you may get success working only by yourself. However, it is unlikely you will reach a broader market. Therefore you must work well with others in your team and create great relationships, so they want to stay working with you. You will have to deal with several industry experts, so it’s best to gain yourself a good reputation.

Keen Eye for Detail

A keen eye for detail means being aware of even the tiniest details on a garment you’re working on. Designers must check for small mistakes on garments that make them less wearable. A keen eye for detail can also include emphasizing one part of the garment. That could be a tailored collar, asymmetric styling, or an oversized look.

What Do Fashion Designers Do?

Fashion is another form of art and self-expression. Designers create clothing from an idea or inspiration. They go through the creative process of choosing materials and textures for the design, trial and error with fabrics, and gaining more inspiration as the cycle continues.

Whether your dream as a fashion designer is to have a runway at New York Fashion Week or would instead focus on selling your ready-to-wear garments online, fashion designers create these garments to tell a visual story, and if your works speak to the public, your products will sell.

Choosing a Niche

This is a great way to establish yourself in the fashion world. Choosing something you enjoy creating is advisable, such as womenswear, menswear, swimwear, accessories, or sportswear.

Social Media as a Tool for Fashion Designers

Brush up your social media skills! Social media is an exceptional tool for both upcoming designers and well-established designers. It’s a great platform to share your garments (for free) and allows the public to give feedback on pieces you have created.

You only have to scroll through Instagram or TikTok to see young millennials diving headfirst into the fashion world, recording the process of their creations and even selling their garments on the platform too.

The Top 5 Colleges In The World

You don’t have to attend school to become a fashion designer. Take a look at the infamous Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors, and Alexander Wang. None of them studied fashion design specifically at university and are some of the most well-known names in the fashion industry.

After studying courses such as architecture, graphic design, or art and design, some designers go into fashion. Attending university, however, may help you brush up on specific skills and gain a broader knowledge of the industry. However, attending school is expensive. You must look through all the courses the school offers and find the one that suits you best.

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) – New York, USA

FIT offers courses in fashion design, business, marketing, and styling. Established in 1944, the school has seen the likes of Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and Caroline Hererra graduate. Some people regard it as the MIT of fashion school, and graduates can expect a top-quality education with some of the best in the business.

The school has around 7,900 students, with 83% female. Fortunately, the school isn’t as challenging as MIT, with a 53% success rate for undergraduate applicants. New York residents can expect to pay $5,585 per semester for a Bachelor level course. Out-of-state resident applicants are looking at $10,846 per semester.

how to become the fashion designers

Parsons The New School for Design – New York, USA

Another well-thought-of school in New York, Parsons, includes impressive alumni including Tom Ford, Alexander Wang, Donna Karen, and Jason Wu. The school offers courses in fashion design, fashion business, marketing, and interior design.

Students attending this school can expect impressive guest lectures from previous successful students. The school is not cheap, and it gears towards students who take fashion seriously and have high career expectations. Tuition fees cost around $25,861 per year, but that doesn’t include supplies and housing.

There are also extra fees involved, including university service fees of $600 per semester, health insurance of $3338 per year, and more.

London College of Fashion – London, UK

London College of Fashion stands out for its variety of courses, including fashion marketing, journalism, buying, and merchandising. University to both Jimmy Choo and Henry Holland hosts around 5,500 stylish students. It is a partner university to the University of Art’s London. The school is challenging to get into, with a 23% success rate for undergraduate applicants and 36% for postgraduate.

The tuition fees are due annually, and UK residents can expect to pay £9,250. International student fees may rise by up to 5% over the academic years. Enrolling in 2022 will cost students £23,610.

Central Saint Martins – London, UK

Central Saint Martins is also part of The University of Arts London, and it’s partially government-funded. This means that more students from different walks of life can attend the university. Saint Martins is well-known for its difficulty getting a place on the course.

Only 50 students out of 600 have their applications accepted into the school! The school has one of the highest employability rates for graduated students. This makes it even more appealing to students looking to jump straight into work after graduation. The university offers courses in fashion, textile, and jewelry design.

Get a scholarship…

To attend Central Saint Martins, the fees are the same as the London College of Fashion. However, Central Saint Martins does accept scholarships; check out their website for more information on the scholarship program.

Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne – Paris, France

Now, we wouldn’t be talking about fashion if Paris didn’t make the top 5. Paris is notorious in the fashion world and is home to big names such as Coco Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Christian Dior.

Founded in 1927, Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne is a challenging school to be accepted into. Most students looking for a place must have already completed a design course elsewhere or have experience in the fashion industry.

True couture and high fashion…

Previous students include Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Andre Courreges, and Karl Lagerfield. The school is associated with determining which brands should be considered as true couture and high fashion.

The school will cost European students between €10,900 to €12,700 per year. Overseas students can expect to pay around €13,050 to €14,400 per year.

Fashion Designers Salary

Like any creative industry role, the salary can vary. Fashion designers in the US made an average annual salary of $75,810 in 2020. The highest-earning 25% made around $101,700 and the lowest 25% made $54,470. If you do land a successful position in the fashion design industry, you can lead a very comfortable life with a creative and financially stable career.

All For The Love Of Fashion!

Let’s first take a look at my Fashion Designer Job Description and Fashion Designer Interview Question, as well as my Seamstress Job Description, or perhaps even my Makeup Artist Job Description, to see what these positions are all about.

Our website also boasts endless fashion opportunities such as our Saks Fifth Avenue Application, our Neiman Marcus Application, our Ralph Lauren Application, and our Barneys New York Application, or why not try our Levis Application and Levis Strauss Interview Questions, and finally, our Guess Application and Guess Jeans Interview Questions in 2022.

For some gorgeous inspiration, we recommend reading up on the Illustrated World of Couture, Stupell Industries High Fashion Black Book, and Coco Chanel: The Illustrated World of a Fashion Icon, or how about Dior: The Collections, and Louis Vuitton: The Birth of Modern Luxury Updated Edition all available online today.

Final Thoughts

You must already have an artistic flair and be naturally creative when it comes to fashion design. It isn’t something that can be naturally taught.

In such a competitive industry, you must stand out and produce excellent garments that the public wants to buy. Whether you choose high fashion couture or create garments for high street fashion brands, you must create original pieces that sell.

Good luck and all the best in your new career as a Fashion Designer!

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About Calvin Miller

Calvin has over 20 years of experience in a leading employment agency in Tucson, Arizona, and is passionate about finding the perfect position for everyone who uses the company’s services.

He lives with his wife, Annette, and their two sons Jake and Joseph.

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