What Does It Take To Be A Fashion Designer?

If you love clothes and have a passion for creating them, you might be interested in a career as a fashion designer. In this profession, you will have the chance to make trend-setting apparel, shoes, bags and accessories that will be patronized by consumers.

You’ll have the opportunity to transform plain fabrics and other materials into works of art that are functional and fashionable. If you persevere and make a name for yourself in the industry, you’ll be dressing up celebrities, have the chance to earn a lot of money and even make your own fashion label.

To become a successful fashion designer, you’ll not only need creativity, style and a keen eye for detail but technical knowledge on pattern-making, sewing and sketching as well. You also need to develop the ability to predict what future trends are going to be based on what you have read on trade industry reports and following your own intuition.

Why Become A Fashion Designer

There are a good number of reasons why you should become a fashion designer if you are passionate about creating fashion pieces. If you have the talent for and truly love conceptualizing styles for clothes, shoes, bags and accessories in your head and have the patience and dedication to actually execute them, then a fashion designing career will provide you with the satisfaction you desire. Although it’s going to take a lot of hard work to become well-known in this highly competitive industry, the rewards are going to be well worth it.

Fashion Designer Work Environment

A lot of fashion designers work full time for retailers, fashion houses or apparel firms and wholesale or manufacturing firms. Costume designers, another type of fashion designer, find employment in theater or dance firms. Those designers that have already established their reputation and experience often venture into creating their own fashion labels, sometimes bearing their own names. Designers who work with large companies often work as a team supervised by a head designer whom they directly report to.

This career involves travel several times a year not only in the United States but in other parts of the world as well to join trade shows and fashion events. They may also visit manufacturers in other countries to see fabrics and materials. When a fashion designer is preparing for a fashion show, he can expect to work very long hours just to meet deadlines.

Fashion Designer Salary

A career in fashion design is not for everyone but for those who are truly passionate about clothing, style and fashion, no other profession could be more fulfilling. Although entry level salaries are not very high, fashion designers who have a few years’ experience do earn decent salaries. Those who are really good at their craft have a chance to earn six-figure incomes and even design their own fashion line. Beginners in the industry tend to receive low salaries.

Compared to self-employed fashion designers, those who work for various establishments and receive regular salary earn more and have more stable incomes. However, those designers who have already made a name for themselves still earn way more than the highest paid fashion designer who is connected with a company even if they are self-employed.

Average Fashion Designer Annual Salary


The average annual salary for fashion designers is $78,870 a year. Salaries start at $33,910 a year and go up to $135,490 a year.

Average Fashion Designer Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a fashion designer is $37.92. Hourly wages are between $16.30 and $65.14 an hour.

Stats were based out of 18,940 employed fashion designers in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Fashion Designers

Top Paying Cities For Fashion Designers

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Fashion Designer Career Outlook

The career outlook for fashion designers is not very rosy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of fashion designers is set to decline 3 percent from 2012 to 2022. Fashion designers working in the apparel manufacturing industry are set to be the hardest hit as employment for them is forecasted to decline 51 percent in the same period. Fashion designers can still get the best job prospects if they receive a degree in fashion design, have industry experience and put together an excellent portfolio.

Fashion Designer Degree

Fashion designers often finish a bachelor’s degree in fashion design or fashion merchandising. There are around 300 postsecondary schools that have art and design programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. A lot of them have fashion design programs. You’ll need to prove that you have the talent and passion in this field as entering good fashion schools is tough as the selection process is highly competitive.

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