Fashion/clothing designers design clothes, accessories and shoes. Some design expensive one-off pieces. Others work in a team creating a whole range of mass-produced fashions, or specialize in particular areas such as sportswear.
The responsibilities of a designer may include:
- producing concepts
- making sketches by hand or on the computer
- developing patterns
- overseeing production
- analyzing trends in fabrics, colours and shapes.
Employers of Fashion Designers
The majority of fashion and clothing designers work for branded/high-street stores and independent labels. They may be employed at an in-house design studio, based in either a manufacturing or retail organization.
Throughout the industry, employment opportunities are often secured via speculative applications and effective networking. It is therefore important to try to build relationships with more established designers and companies, whether you are seeking permanent or freelance openings.
- creating or visualizing an idea and producing a design by hand or using computer-aided design (CAD)
- keeping up to date with emerging fashion trends as well as general trends relating to fabrics, colours and shapes
- planning and developing ranges
- working with others in the design team, such as buyers and forecasters, to develop products to meet a brief
- liaising closely with sales, buying and production teams on an ongoing basis to ensure the item suits the customer, market and price points
- understanding design from a technical perspective, i.e. producing patterns and technical specifications for designs
- sourcing, selecting and buying fabrics, trims, fastenings and embellishments
- adapting existing designs for mass production
- developing a pattern that is cut and sewn into sample garments and supervising the creation of these, including fitting, detailing and adaptations
- overseeing production
- negotiating with customers and suppliers
- managing marketing, finances and other business activities, if working on a self-employed basis.
Although this area of work is open to all graduates, a degree in the following subjects will increase your chances:
- art and design
- clothing technology
- fashion marketing and buying
- graphic design
- be creative
- an eye for colour, texture and pattern
- the ability to visualize things in three dimensions
- technical skills in areas such as pattern cutting, grading and garment construction
- to be able to draw, either by hand or on the computer
- good communication skills to explain their ideas clearly and persuasively
- the ability to meet deadlines and work within a budget
- business skills and commercial awareness, particularly if they are self-employed
- good negotiation skills when selling their own designs
- to keep ahead of trends in colour, fabric and style
- strong organizational skills.