Fashion design is similar to the advertising trade, in that most of the businesses involved are located in New York or California. More specifically, they are located in New York City or the Los Angeles area. Accordingly, those who want to pursue a career in fashion design and attempt to break into the industry with a major firm may be faced with relocation. However the education comes first. Here are a series of steps that hopefully will take you to the portal of a career in fashion design.
- Survey the employment field . You don't need to do a lot of research to find job listings for the fashion business and to learn what skills are desired. Most employers want to see some formal education in the field, either an associate's degree or a bachelor's in fashion design.
- Familiarize yourself with the raw materials . Fashion design starts with a concept, but the execution involves creating a design that is attractive, perhaps has an innovative feature, and can be manufactured at a reasonable cost. That means you'll need to be familiar with textiles, ornamentation techniques, and with the recent history of the industry. Some of this will come with your college work, but independent research will pay off in an interview.
- Can you do this with an associate's degree? Some schools offer a two year program that will qualify a fashion design graduate for internship opportunities or for jobs in the merchandising department of a retail outlet or in manufacturing firms. An associate's degree will provide a foot in the door for some opportunities in the industry but not for all.
- Consider a bachelor's degree in fashion design . There is much to be learned about this business, which combines artistic ability with the business considerations associated with manufacturing. Fashion degree students are schooled in color, textiles, sewing and tailoring, pattern making, fashion history, computer-aided design (CAD), and design of different types of clothing.
- Decide if the math and computer work fits with your skills . Design work necessarily requires working with dimensions, for bodies of various size and shape, for both men and women. You'll need to be comfortable working with a CAD program and other specialized software programs as they come along.
- Practice your sketching skills . Sewing and patternmaking are an important part of the business. Many rookie fashion designers start out as assistants to patternmakers and thus need to be able to execute a precise pattern from a sketch.
- Consider working for yourself. One quarter of all fashion designers do. You'll need to learn about this work from a professional who is doing it, probably in Los Angeles or New York. In both cities fashion designers work with performing arts organizations and film making companies.