Fashion designers create original clothing, accessories and footwear. They sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns for apparel, and give instructions on how to make the products they designed. Fashion designers most often work in wholesale or manufacturing establishments, apparel companies, retailers, theater and dance companies, and design firms. Jobs in fashion design are usually found in large cities, such as New York City or Los Angeles.
Fashion designers follow trends by reading trade publications and attending fashion shows. Leading fashion designers work with market researchers and merchandisers to create items that will boost profit margins and market share for their employers.
Fashion Designer Education
Most employers require a college degree to work in fashion design, and in these tight times, good jobs in fashion design are likely to go to graduates of top fashion-design schools. Students of fashion design learn about textiles, pattern making, color selection, tailoring, computer-aided design and the industrial process of clothing manufacturing.
Fashion Job Market
A career in fashion is one that many dream of, yet few realize. There were 21,500 fashion designers in the US 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Fashion employment is not expected to grow in the decade ending in 2020; automation of design tasks and offshoring of design work will hold down expansion.
Fashion Designer Salaries
Fashion designers earned median wages of $64,690 in 2011, according to the BLS. The middle half earned between $44,500 and $90,060; the top 10 percent grossed $127,820. The few designers who become household names stand to make millions annually.