If you have artistic flair, a good eye for design and a passion for fashion then a career as a Fashion Designer may be for you.
Either working inhouse for a Fashion House or a large company or as a freelance fashion designer – making and selling your own work, a fashion designer, as the name suggests, designs items of clothing / footwear.
Styles, the type of clothing, and the fashions applied may vary, but the end result generally needs to be the same; to produce a piece of clothing – be it a bespoke one off, or a mass produced and ready for the high street design.
Job responsibilities can vary depending on whether you work for yourself or if you work for a large fashion house, but expect to multi-task much more if you work for yourself, as you may have the work responsibilities that a whole team would generally have.
There are certain HND, Foundation Degree, or Degree level qualifications that will most likely open up doors for you in the industry, more so than for an applicant with no relevant qualifications.
Degrees such as Fashion, Design, Textiles, Art, Technology and Art, and the Fashion Industry itself would be a clear advantage over more generic subjects.
However – as this is a career where the ‘proof is in the pudding’ so to speak, all the qualifications in the world will not help your chances if you have little to no practical experience of actually working in the industry, and no proven talent at making quality fashion garments. This is very much a career where you have to walk the walk – not just talk it, so be prepared to gain experience if you want to be known.
Therefore whilst entry into the industry is tougher without specific qualifications – it is not impossible and applicants irrespective of qualifications will have to prove themselves in reality. Therefore if you have no degree make sure that you strive to build up a strong portfolio of work and experience.
As highlighted above – experience is key. The reality is, that like with most careers, unless you want to work for yourself you will need to start at the bottom and work your way up. In large fashion companies – it can take quite a few years working as an assistant, junior, and in niche and specific roles before you eventually work in a role where you are fully responsible for the clothes that you design.
As employers will want to see proven experience, make sure that you build up a portfolio of work and that this is presented well and highlights all your best designs.
If you are just starting out and struggling to find experience – look for work placements, intern opportunities, temp roles, or perhaps even work for yourself and freelance.
Freelancing may mean that you struggle to make a solid wage, but the long term rewards can be worthwhile, and at least your keep much of the creative control to yourself.
It stands to reason but many of the skills required for this type of role rely on creative flair, skill and the ability to design commercial fashion garments. Good technical skills, an eye for style and an overall passion for fashion (no matter what sector you end up specialising in) are key. A strong business sense and the ability to work professionally within a team and when dealing with clients is also essential. General employment characteristics such as good time management, communication, administration and IT skills are also very valuable.
Still fancy a career as a Fashion Designer? Good luck!! We hope these basic tips help you along the way…
Looking for a job, but not too sure what career path to follow? Check out TheEmployable career directory