Fashion designers design men's, women's, and children's clothing and clothing accessories. Most work for large manufacturers producing designs for a mass level. Some self-employed high-fashion designers have specialty shops as clients, and still others cater to individual clients.
Fashion designers must have well-developed artistic abilities and a desire to create. They need to have self-discipline, imagination, and persistence. It is also important for them to be able to work independently and to effectively communicate their ideas in written, verbal, and visual ways. Problem-solving skills are essential, as well as sharp business and sales ability for those who start their own business or do freelance work. Above all, a strong esthetic sense is the most important trait a fashion designer can possess.
In 2002, fashion designers earned a median annual salary of $51,290. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10 percent, who earned less than $25,350, and the highest 10 percent, who earned more than $105,280.
Training and Education
When hiring fashion designers, employers require candidates to have a 2- or 4-year degree from an accredited school. Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the fashion world such as textiles, fabrics, and ornamentation, as well as an understanding of current trends. For those interested in freelance work or business ownership, courses in business management, marketing, and art are recommended.
Out of the nearly 532,000 design jobs in 2002, about 15,000 people were employed as fashion designers.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of fashion designers is expected to increase about as fast as the average. Because consumers continue to seek fresh, new designs from the apparel industry, demand for this type of design will remain high. This will be offset, however, by an overall decline in the apparel manufacturing industry.