Fashion designers create original clothing, accessories, and footwear. They sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns, and give instructions on how to make the products they design.
Fashion designers understand that clothes are much more than protection from the elements. Clothes can make people feel confident or powerful. Or they can be comforting. Clothing can be an artistic expression—a projection of the image people want the world to see.
While fashion design jobs get a lot of attention for being the creative driver of the industry, the fashion world is actually a complex ecosystem with a large community performing a wide variety of essential functions. Designing is only one part of the whole. So whether you have the creativity and vision to launch your own clothing line, or the business and marketing know-how to sell the latest trends, there’s a place for you in the fashion industry.
Fashion designers typically do the following:
• Study fashion trends and anticipate designs that will appeal to consumers
• Decide on a theme for a collection
• Use computer-aided design (CAD) programs to create designs
• Visit manufacturers or trade shows to get samples of fabric
• Select fabrics, embellishments, colors, or a style for each garment or accessory
• Work with other designers or team members to create prototype designs
• Present design ideas to the creative director or showcase them in fashion or trade shows
• Market designs to clothing retailers or directly to consumers
• Oversee the final production of their designs
The following are examples of types of fashion designers:
Clothing designers create and help produce men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, including casual wear, suits, sportswear, evening wear, outerwear, maternity clothing, and intimate apparel.
Footwear designers create and help produce different styles of shoes and boots. As new materials, such as lightweight synthetic materials used in shoe soles, become available, footwear designers produce new designs that combine comfort, form, and function.
Accessory designers design and produce items such as handbags, suitcases, belts, scarves, hats, hosiery, and eyewear.
Costume designers design costumes for the performing arts and for motion picture and television productions. They research the styles worn during the period in which the performance takes place, or they work with directors to select and create appropriate attire. They also must stay within the costume budget for the particular production.