Fashion Designers

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Also known as:
Apparel Designer, Clothes Designer, Clothing Designer, Costume Designer, Custom Furrier, Dance Costume Designer, Dress Designer, Fashion Designer, Hat Designer, Sweater Designer

ABOUT FASHION DESIGNER CAREERS
Video transcript

Do you love looking at clothes and imagining outfits that you put together yourself? If you're passionate and persistent, you might have what it takes to be a professional. Fashion designers work in an exciting but fiercely competitive industry. They must be creative, imaginative, persistent, and able to communicate their ideas in writing, verbally, and visually.

Designers need to be open to new ideas and influences and quick to react to changing trends. They combine practical knowledge about fabric and manufacturing with artistic ability. To get that knowledge, most aspiring designers go for a two- or four-year degree from a career school or specialized college program. They might then get a job with an apparel manufacturer, adapting new fashion trends and classic styles for new clothing for the mass market.

The fortunate - and talented - few ultimately win their own label, catering to individual clients, specialty stores, or high fashion department stores.

Whether a beginner or a big name, the designer considers every aspect of the clothing to be developed: what it will be used for, the shape, color, fabric, ease of use, and cost.

From an initial sketch to the first version of the garment, the designer can expect long hours, hectic deadlines, and finicky clients. They may also be required to travel to production sites across the country or overseas. But there could be glamour and fame waiting at the end of the runway.

SNAPSHOT
Design clothing and accessories. Create original designs or adapt fashion trends.
Leadership
MED
Critical decision making
MED
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Provide sample garments to agents and sales representatives, and arrange for showings of sample garments at sales meetings or fashion shows.

Visit textile showrooms to keep up-to-date on the latest fabrics.

Identify target markets for designs, looking at factors such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status.

Adapt other designers' ideas for the mass market.

Attend fashion shows and review garment magazines and manuals to gather information about fashion trends and consumer preferences.

Examine sample garments on and off models, modifying designs to achieve desired effects.

Collaborate with other designers to coordinate special products and designs.

Direct and coordinate workers involved in drawing and cutting patterns and constructing samples or finished garments.

Confer with sales and management executives or with clients to discuss design ideas.

Purchase new or used clothing and accessory items as needed to complete designs.

Sketch rough and detailed drawings of apparel or accessories, and write specifications such as color schemes, construction, material types, and accessory requirements.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Scheduling Work and Activities Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Sales and Marketing Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
TOP SKILLS
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Management of Personnel Resources Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.