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You are a fashion guru. It is your passion. You always know just what to wear and keep appraised of the newest styles. You know which styles are going to be popular each season. Your friends come to you for advice on what to wear and how to put an outfit together. You head is full of ideas, and you can put those ideas on paper or make them come to life in a computer. A career in fashion design might be for you.

What does a fashion designer do?

A fashion designer generates original ideas. Whether it's clothing, footwear or accessories such as handbags and belts, the fashion designer draws or uses a computer program to create something new. Then the designer will often shop trade shows or other sources to find the right fabrics or other materials from which to manifest their creation. Finally, the fashion designer will provide direction on the manufacture of their creation.

What education do I need?

While associate degrees in fashion design are available, most designers get at least a bachelor's degree. This education gives you the tools you need to be competitive, such as learning CAD programs used to create new designs.

How do I gain competitive edge?

The fashion design industry is highly competitive, and in order to be successful, you and your work must stand out. You are creative, otherwise you would not be interested in the position. An education will help you refine and direct that creativity in order to turn your ideas into marketable products. However, being creative is not enough.

Often you will be working for others and submitting your ideas for approval. In order to thrive in the industry, you must have confidence and a thick skin. You must be able to successfully market yourself, and develop the business acumen and intuition needed to determine what will sell and how to present your idea. There will be times when your ideas will be met with rejection, or a creative director will take an idea you absolutely love and ask you to change it. It's important to be comfortable enough with who you are that you can take rejection and criticism of your work, even if you have put a lot of time and energy into it.

Not just about creativity:

As stated above, in order to be successful, a fashion designer must learn to market themselves. You can have the greatest eye and the most creative ideas, but before you can get paid for those ideas, you have to be convincing and sell your ideas to others. If you are planning on working in the industry as an employee, you must convince your prospective employer that, among all the other very talented people out there, you are the right person for the job. If you are planning on going into business for yourself, then you must be able to promote your business and gain a competitive edge. This often means business and marketing classes are just as important as classes that focus on design and creativity. It may be a good idea for a fashion major to minor in marketing or business.


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