What Education Do You Need to Become a Fashion Designer?
There’s no standard education for fashion designers, but there are plenty of commonalities.
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Fashion designers not only get the opportunity to express themselves through clothes for a living, but they can also make a healthy mean annual wage of about $72,620, according to 2012 data from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.https://www.pinterest.com/powerpoint_templates/blue-powerpoint-template/ As a fashion designer, you’ll create and adapt designs for apparel and accessories, but before you starting designing professionally, you have to have the right education.
Fashion designers not only get the opportunity to express themselves through clothes for a living, but they can also make a healthy mean annual wage of about $72,620, according to 2012 data from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a fashion designer, you’ll create and adapt designs for apparel and accessories, but before you starting designing professionally, you have to have the right education.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that most fashion designers have a formal design education, there is no hard-and-fast requirement for this creative field. Typically, fashion designers have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in art, design, fashion merchandising, or even fashion design, which many universities offer as a major or concentration.The BLS recommends that fashion designers study at a post-secondary institution accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, of which there are about 300 in the U.S., as of 2012. Some colleges offer fashion design certificate programs for continuing, alternative or adult education.
Regardless of the type of degree, fashion designers need a strong background in basic visual art and design. Additionally, fashion designers should study textiles and fabrics, as well as acquire a detailed understanding of how apparel production and distribution works in the modern world. In fashion design programs, students often study the cultural and psychological roles of fashion in society, as well as topics such as fashion advertising, merchandising and even costume design. During or after their post-secondary education, fashion designers can further their knowledge and get their foot in the door by taking on work as intern or assistant designer.
A combination of education and hands-on experience help develop skills essential to fashion designers. Illustration skills play a key part in the conceptualization process, and the ability to construct apparel allows designers to make their concepts into reality. On a similar note, modern designers should also be familiar with using computer-aided fashion design programs.
In many cases, a fashion designer’s portfolio – a collection of conceptual or produced design ideas – is just as important as education in terms of hiring potential. On a personal level, innate creativity and artistic ability, strong communication skills and an eye for detail go a long way toward success in this field. The ability to predict or anticipate consumer trends is also a useful quality for successful designers.
Fashion designers earned a median annual salary of $65,170 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, fashion designers earned a 25th percentile salary of $46,020, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $92,550, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 23,800 people were employed in the U.S. as fashion designers.
Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.
- Jason Florio/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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