If you're one of those people who haunts the retail clothing stores, has a closet bursting with the latest styles, and who can't resist offering wardrobe advice, a career path in fashion design may be right up your alley. If you've got creativity, perseverance, and an artistic flair to boot, you're on your way.
However, if you're hoping to achieve status as a "fashion diva," then you'll need to work hard to establish a reputation and a clientele for your designs, as the market for designer fashion is competitive and fast-paced — but achievable if you've got what it takes! For those who reach the apex of this industry, the rewards can be phenomenal.
Career planning for a position in fashion design
The fashion industry is all about creativity, skill, awareness of trends, and a good business sense. There are many career options for you to choose from, and the right one for you depends on your personal goals.
Hoping to work normal hours? Plan on designing clothing lines for the masses in the apparel manufacturing business — think retail! If you manage to build a good name for yourself, you could cater to high-end department stores and specialty boutiques.
Want to give Armani a run for his money? Anticipate being your own boss and catering solely to individual clients. Fame brings some drawbacks, though. You'll likely work unusual hours to meet the needs of your clients. Whatever the venue, though, you'll be one of the people who decides if black is really the new black.
Job training and education
To be competitive, you'll need more than great style to land a job in fashion design. Basic artistic skills are required, as are a refined aesthetic sense, and at a minimum, a two- or four-year degree in fashion design, art, or other related field.
Several universities offer degrees in the arts, but there are various fashion and design schools offering associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees in areas related specifically to fashion design and the creative arts industries. Many of these schools enjoy first-rate reputations and are an excellent way for you to earn an industry-specific degree with course selections and specialized studies that include everything from garment construction to fashion merchandising.
Education and training can also help you get a jump start on gathering the career information you need to choose the path that's right for you (see online fashion design schools). The industry is highly competitive since it draws on a tremendous amount of talented individuals just like you seeking employment in the market. Demonstrated skill is the thing that will set you above other candidates when hiring decisions are made. So if you're interested in joining the fashion industry, it's never too early to get started on your career planning!