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So, You Want to Be a Fashion Designer? Here’s What You Need to Know.


If you want to be a fashion designer, there’s only one thing you really need to know: it’s going to be hard work. Becoming a great fashion designer takes time, so if you want your end goal to be reached in less than 15 years, I’d recommend another career path (unless you have the funding and resources that allow you to reach the top of your field much faster). If you truly do want to make it big as a fashion designer, however, here are some things that you should know first.


Fashion Designers Create Both Men’s and Women’s Clothes

If you’re interested in fashion design, you should realize that there are two major camps of fashion designers: those who create clothes for women and those who design for men. Although both jobs fall under one umbrella, each designer type has its own niche with subtle differences in responsibilities and career outlooks. (And yes, there are job titles specific to men’s fashion.) For example, women’s wear designers might be required to sew samples by hand (because sample-making software is often designed for men), whereas most menswear designers don’t need to operate sewing machines because machine-made samples can be mass produced using inexpensive fabric swatches.

Many Fashion Designers Start Off as Apprentices

Apprenticeships are highly recommended for those trying to break into fashion design, and often are a requirement before one can begin working as an independent designer. In many ways, fashion design is really no different than other industries: get in on the ground floor at one of these top fashion houses, work hard and show initiative/creativity/leadership, and you’ll be able to make valuable connections (and impress your boss). Once you have that experience under your belt, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish: Launch your own brand or start teaching at a local school. It may sound intimidating but it doesn’t have to be; all you need is passion and persistence!


Most Commonly Used Materials

Synthetic fibers, including polyester, rayon and acetate; silk; cotton and linen blends; leather, denim and suede (in less expensive clothing). In men’s suiting fabrics can include wool gabardine, worsted wool or mohair. Women’s clothes may include silks such as satin or chiffon in blouses or dresses and synthetic blends in pantsuits or workwear-type garments. Natural fibers are more expensive but hold their shape better than synthetics when wet. They also breathe better so you don’t get that wet-dog smell on rainy days—just be sure you avoid using synthetics for your base layer because they don’t wick moisture away from your skin like natural fabrics do.


Common Patterns in Clothing Designs

Once you have an idea of what kind of designer you want to be, or what kinds of clothing you want to design, it’s time to look at patterns and clothing designs already in existence. This can help determine if your ideas are marketable or if there’s a similar design out there that someone else has already put into production. The internet makes it easy for fashion designers (and aspiring ones) alike—just type patterns or clothing designs into your favorite search engine and read up on what others have created. When browsing through existing pieces, pay attention to details like fabrics used and especially colors; these will be critical when creating patterns of your own later on down the line.


Tools Fashion Designers Use

Being a fashion designer can sound glamorous—after all, it’s exactly what it sounds like: designing clothes. It’s important to understand that being a fashion designer is not just about going on wild shopping sprees or running around with sketches and ideas for new collections, though these things are definitely involved. While it may seem easy enough, becoming a fashion designer can take years of training and experience under your belt before you start breaking into freelance work or land your first full-time gig at an established brand.

The Importance of Being Creative

We often hear that there is no creativity in today’s society, but as we have seen there are still new and innovative ideas coming out all of the time. Creativity cannot be forced; it comes from within each individual, and when you are able to harness your creativity things become more exciting for everyone involved. If you have always wanted to learn how to become a fashion designer then all you need is an idea and some serious hard work, just like many other successful designers before you.

Working at Home or in an Office/Fashion Studio

The wardrobe is where your designs will come alive, so you’ll want an area with plenty of natural light and ventilation. You’ll also need enough space for models to stand up or lay down and move around freely while wearing your creation. While working in an office can be great for productivity, sometimes it just helps to have a changing room close by so you can quickly try on your designs and get real-time feedback from customers or clients. Lastly, if you plan on selling your line at department stores, having retail storefronts close by will allow for easy drop-offs and pickups when goods are sold through wholesale channels like Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus.

Finding Work in the Field

In today’s highly competitive fashion industry, getting your foot in the door isn’t always as simple as sending in your portfolio or dropping off an application. Because fashion designers are usually self-employed, there is no HR department waiting for your resume and cover letter—you have to make contacts yourself, develop relationships with potential employers and let them know what you have to offer before they can hire you. In other words, it helps if you already have something of a network built up! That being said, there are opportunities out there for young (and young at heart) people looking to break into fashion design: Look into internships and residencies while you’re still in school or even after graduation if you think it will give you an edge over other candidates.


Taking Care of Yourself While Doing This Job

Working as a fashion designer is tough—there’s an incredible amount of pressure, many sleepless nights, and usually little pay at first—but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Keep yourself healthy and happy by engaging in self-care activities, like daily exercise and regular time away from your phone or computer screen. While self-care is often linked with social media use, there are plenty of ways to take care of yourself offline; try jogging in nature or going for brunch with friends as a way to get out of your home office and de-stress in new ways! Just make sure you don’t give up doing things that bring you joy; your creative mindset will thank you!

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