Fashion Designing on a Professional Level
Many professionals in the fashion world describe it as a complex ecosystem that offer a wide variety of impressive functions. Fashion designing is only one aspect. So whether you have the vision and creativity to launch your own line, or the marketing and business know-how to set the latest trends, there’s a place for you in this industry. Designers are individuals who understand that clothes can make a person feel powerful and confident. Clothing can also be an artistic expression or even comforting or a projection of the image you want the world to see.
For those interested in making a name for themselves in this industry, they will be required to obtain formal training through one of the top design schools programs. While earning their education a design student will also be strongly encouraged to partake in an internship program in order to find employment once they have graduated. Here we will find out more about this career, the employment opportunities and what one of the design internships can do for your career.
The Creative Process for New Design Lines
Designers with a two or four year degree and who are knowledgeable in textiles, fabric and fashion trends are what some of the top companies are looking for. Because of the glamour and creativity of this job, there’s fierce competition to become the next it designer. Most of the top paying positions can be found in Chicago, New York and California.
A designer will sketch designs for accessories and clothing, while studying trends, fabrics and colors. They must also oversee the production of their designs and assist and direct as needed. A designer can work in children’s men’s or women’s apparel. Many designers choose to specialize in a particular area of clothing, such as swimsuits or intimate apparel, while others enjoy creating a wider range of designs.
The first step in the design process involves studying current trends and predicting which trends will follow. Whether they do their own research or do trend reports, a designer must ultimately rely on research to indicate what fabrics, colors and styles will be the next big thing for the upcoming season. Research and trend reports are also crucial for textile manufacturers who need this type of information in order to start designing fabric and patterns with the fashion designer who is creating the images. Once sketches of the designs are complete, the textile manufacturer and designer will to decide on pattern choices. Once the fabric and designs are agree upon, a prototype will be created. Once choices have been made, article samples will be created and distributed to retailers. A designer can also see their finished product at a number of trade shows during the year.
The involvement of the designer will depend on the size of their firm, in addition to their experience. For large firms, the designer will often take on the lead designer role. This position involves choosing fabric and colors, creating designs and overseeing a staff of technical designers who are responsible for turning the sketch into the final product. A big firm will also hire their own tailors and pattern makers. In a small firm, most of the designer’s work will include sewing, pattern making and overseeing the technical aspects of design. Some designers will decide to work for manufacturers or apparel wholesalers. This often involves creating designs for the masses where a design is available in a wide variety of sizes and colors.
Many designers are self-employed. These individuals design for individual clients and also sell their designs to specialty or retail stores. A design that works in costume design for motion pictures, TV or performing arts must perform extensive researching regarding certain eras and styles when they create their designs, oversee production and choose fabrics and patterns. They are also usually restricted to a tight budget.
Designers who work for design firms, wholesalers or manufacturing establishments will usually work regular and normal hours, while those who work on a freelance basis can work under a contract or by job. The freelancer can work in smaller environments for long hours where they may receive a lot of pressure from demanding clients. Whether the designer works for a small free, as a freelancer or for a major firm, long hours are often necessary for designers who need to prepare for shows or meet a deadline.
When it comes to dealing with manufacturers, customers and suppliers, communication in this field is essential. Designers typically need a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree in order to find employment through most firms, however, education is not required to work as a freelancer, if you have the natural talent to do so. But there is so much to learn in terms of design, researching techniques, fashion history and even the business end of it, which is why most individuals would benefit from a formal education in this area. Aspiring designers who are interested in running their own store or business can also combine a fashion degree with a fashion merchandising, marketing or business degree.
In order to make it in this industry, you will need to complete a four to five year program at a reputable school. These programs will focus on educating the student on the history of this world in addition to the design and manufacturing process. The designer will also learn new techniques for design patterns, an figure drawing and will also learn how to put together a line. During a student’s junior year, a career advisor will meet with the student regarding the type of designs the student is interested in and whether they would like to work in this world as an independent designer or be employed by a large clothing manufacturer. Based on this information the career advisor will pair you up with a designer, who will teach you different types of techniques when it comes to designing apparel as well as walk you through the creative process. You will also learn more about the business side of this world and how you can market your designs once you’ve obtained your degree. While partaking in the internship the fashion design intern will have a number of tasks, from answering the phones to set up meetings, to working alongside the designer on their creations.
A student will also have the opportunity to work another internship during their final year in fashion designer school. During the students senior year that will be working on their senior design project. The senior design project will focus on a specific type of clothing line that is exclusively designed by the student and will be eligible to be chosen for the schools yearly senior show.
The Competitive Career of the Fashion Designer
The fashion industry is one of the most competitive job fields in the country. Due to this, several graduates will continue with internships even after they have obtained their degree, as a way to get their foot in the door as far as future employment in this field. The more experience a graduate has with designing, the better their chances of finding employment through a large clothing manufacturer. By continuing their internship the designer is also able to network with other professionals in the field, while also continuing to educate themselves on the techniques and methods of the clothing industry.
A designer’s work will usually involve designing briefs, also known as design instructions, produce mood and concept boards, develop basic shapes through patterns, make in-house presentations, supervise the process of creating sample clothing items and meet with other designers to collaborate on a line or clothing or simple piece as needed.
Entry-level Requirements in the Design World
Once you’ve earned your degree, the training doesn’t stop there. Most new designers will begin as assistants before they can work their way up to the designer role. A good track record and practical job experience are crucial for progressing in this field. You can develop your skills and knowledge throughout your career by taking short courses in certain aspects of the business or by completing a postgraduate program. You can also earn recognition by joining certain organizations in this world. Belonging to one of these professional bodies can help you to develop as a designer, while also allowing you to network.
In order to be successful as a designer you must have a good eye for shapes, color and texture, the ability to use a computer, be a team player, possess drawing skills, be a great problem solver and fast thinker, have such technical skills as sewing or pattern cutting and a deep understanding of the characteristics of different types of fabrics and how they can be used.
In the beginning of your career you will typically work for independent fashion houses or high street retailers. Once you have nurtured and developed your skills in this field, you can progress to such positions as head of a department, senior designer, or even design director.
If you want more creative control, you can choose the life of the freelancer, where you can work on a specific project for a company or create your own collection. Many people who start off too big become easily discouraged when their first line doesn’t meet their expectations. Take the first year or two of your career and focus on learning from the professionals and only take baby steps. Helpful Tips for Fashion Design Most creative people have too many ideas, which at times can feel like a curse more than a blessing.
The newbie designer will have trouble deciding on what to do first and if they lack knowledge regarding the business side of things they can have a hard time seeing their line make it to the end or finding a fashion house or high end retailer to sell their finished product line. Many designers have not been to design school. They figure if they know how to draw and sew that they can figure things out on their own. But really, in this industry, it’s all about knowing where to find the right resources if you want to take your business to the next level. This includes working with local jewelry or sewing contractors and hiring interns to do some of the manual labor that you, as the designer, simply don’t have time to do. If you don’t have the time or money to go to school try taking classes on the weekends, sign up for workshops and focus on networking with pros in this field who can give you tips on how to handle your business. Another challenge in this business is setting yourself apart from the hundreds of other designers in the industry.
How can you make yourself standout? Do your research, know what trends are coming and find out how to spin these trends to add your own little flair. It’s understandable that most designers, even the pros, are often afraid to do something that’s too different, but a little flair can really highlight your talents and your own unique sense of style. Don’t be afraid to stray from the herd.
Make your presence known on social media. This includes Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram. Focus on getting as many followers as possible so you can post and spread the word about your new pieces. Starting a design career takes persistence and a lot of hard work. When you’re new to the industry, you have to expect to pay your dues as far as working in an entry-level position, before you can move up the ladder to the position you really want. If you’re goal is to work for a firm, make yourself as employable as possible by creating an appealing portfolio. If you’ve decided to work independently, focus on networking and creating a social media presence for a little free publicity and marketing.
Next, don’t be afraid to start off small. You don’t have to design an entire fall collection on your own, at least not in the beginning. Get creative and focus on creating one article of clothing at a time. Take the first year or two of your Fashion Designing career and focus on learning from the professionals and only take baby steps.