Fashion designer duties include creating designs for clothing and other accessories and making those designs come to life. Learn more about fashion design and how to enter the industry.
What Does a Fashion Designer Do?
Fashion designers are primarily responsible for designing and making clothing, footwear, and/or accessories. Fashion designer responsibilities may include overseeing teams of designers or other team members to make their designs a reality and then marketing their designs for retail or other markets. There are other fashion designer duties, such as:
- Observing fashion trends to predict designs for consumers
- Choosing a theme for designs and collections
- Utilizing computer-aided design (CAD) programs for designs
- Participating in fashion shows with designs
- Picking fabrics, colors, designs, and more for pieces
- Instructing manufacturers or teams of designers on how to make the piece
- Managing the production of pieces
- Creating prototypes or models
- Discussing designs with directors or managers
- Finding new consumer markets for designs
Fashion Designer Job Description: Additional Details
Fashion designers are likely to work long and/or irregular hours to meet deadlines and/or prepare for fashion shows. These designers most commonly work in New York or California and may have the opportunity to travel to various destinations for fashion shows or meetings with fabric and material suppliers. Explore some other aspects of a career as a fashion designer here.
How Much Do Fashion Designers Make?
As of May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average annual salary for fashion designers was $87,610. The industry with the highest level of employment of fashion designers was apparel, piece goods, and notions merchant wholesalers, where designers made an average salary of $87,530. The highest paying industry was other miscellaneous manufacturing, where designers made an average salary of $106,920 in 2018.
What is the Job Outlook?
The BLS also reported that the job outlook for fashion designers from 2018 to 2028 is 1%. This means little to no change in the numbers of fashion designers employed during this time frame. This may be attributed to the balance of clothing production being overseas with the growing need for fashion designers in the retail trade industry.
How Do You Become a Fashion Designer?
Associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs are available in the field of fashion design, and some of these fashion design programs are available online. However, most fashion designers need at least a bachelor’s degree. Typically this degree is in fashion design or another related major, such as fashion marketing or fashion merchandising.
Bachelor’s degree programs in fashion design are typically offered as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. These programs usually have sewing labs and other hands-on experiences, such as fashion shows or fashion tours in various organizations within the fashion industry. These programs may require a senior project and may include courses in topics like:
- Clothing construction
- Product development
- Fashion marketing
- Fashion sketching
- Retail buying
Outside of a formal degree, it is important for fashion designers to gain experience in the field to help build their professional portfolios. This is often done through internships (which may or may not be a requirement for an undergraduate program) or working as an assistant designer for a time.