How-To

Popular Careers For Fashion Majors

1. Fashion Designers are the creators of clothing, shoes, and accessory designs. Some specialize in specific categories, and others design in all categories including men’s clothing, women’s clothing, children’s clothing, and accessories.

The job of a Fashion Designer can be stressful and very competitive. Despite the hectic schedule, fashion design can be exciting and glamorous. Designers must study the trends of fashion as well as sketch many designs. One must be able to complete rough and detailed drawings.

As well as artistic abilities, a designer must be able to work with assistant designers, sales and management executives, clients, agents and sales representatives, and models. Traveling is a very important part of this career because shows and conferences are held in various cities and countries.

As a designer, you can choose to work for a company or become self-employed. Some of the self-employed designers work for high-fashion department stores or specialty stores. On the other end, some designers who work for apparel manufacturers conform to other designers in order to appeal to the mass market. Regardless of these differences, most fashion designers share the same tasks.In addition to sketching ideas and drawing patterns, one must be able to select fabrics, arrange showings for the press, and compare with competitors. In addition, a designer must be able to keep up with current fashions by attending fashion shows, reading trade magazines, and visiting textile showrooms.

Working as a Fashion Designer is intense yet satisfying. One must prepare long hours and extremely stressful environments. Designers can create garments or accessories such as swimwear, shoes, children’s garments, men’s or women’s wear, purses, and lingerie. Color is an important key in design as well as textiles. If proper time and energy is invested into designing, fashion can be especially rewarding.

Background experience/ Academic training

To pursue a career in Fashion Design, one must at least obtain a high school diploma. A college degree is certainly not required but is recommended. With that being stated, graduating from a Fashion Design school would greatly increase one’s chances of excelling in the industry. A great step for breaking into Fashion Design is to have contacts in the industry through previous summer jobs or internships.

From entry-level positions, the fashion designer’s career path may lead to positions such as a pattern designer, assistant technical designer, designer, and head designer. It could be more influential for a designer to submit a portfolio of their best work than having an extended education. Even though a degree is not required, it is very important to have some experience working in the industry and to obtain beneficial references.

Career training/ advancement

Due to the competitive nature of the Fashion Design industry, a perspective designer should be prepared and able to adapt to the demands of the business. Well trained college graduates begin as assistant designers. Their tasks would also involve working in work-room cutting or constructing garments. With such a fast pace in Fashion, it would be essential for beginner designers to obtain one or two years of training which involve informal training with workers that are experienced, as well as on-the-job experience.

But many employers seek applicants with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Beginning fashion designers usually start in their career as sketching assistants or pattern makers before they are qualified to advance to positions that are at a higher level. Designers who have enough experience can advance to chief designer, design department head, or a position in supervising.

Personal Qualifications

There are many skills that are essential for a Fashion Designer to have. Some of these include math and business skills, design and sketching, and pattern making. It is helpful if the individual has knowledge of art history, costume history, textiles and clothing construction. Any type of designer should be imaginative, creative and artistic. Having problem-solving skills is necessary for working in the industry. In addition to having problem-solving skills, one must also be able to come up with original ideas about a situation or topic. It is important that a fashion designer can establish and maintain interpersonal relationships by being cooperative and constructive.

Another good skill to possess is the ability to research and obtain information from all appropriate sources, as well as developing good communication skills with people inside or outside the organization (Summary 2). A designer should be flexible and adaptable as well as innovative. With these skills, a designer has a solid foundation that can expand and result in a substantial amount of progress throughout one’s career. Lastly, a designer should be dependable. This is important because many people depend on the designer such as coworkers and clients (Labor 4).

Occupational opportunity/ outlook for future/ salary

About 15,000 fashion designers are employed in the United States. More than one out of every four designers is self-employed. In the U.S., Fashion Design employment seems to be concentrated in either California or New York. In 2004, the average annual salary was $55,840 (Bureau 4). About ten percent of fashion designers earned less than $25,350, while the highest paid earned more than $105,280 (Fashion 272). Up until the year 2014, Fashion Design employment is predicted to grow more slowly than average.

More affordable stylish clothing demand is increasing. Clothing sold in department stores and retail chain stores will hold the best job opportunities because they will be targeting more middle-income consumers (Summary 5).

2. A Boutique Owner is someone who buys fashions at wholesale price and sells them for more resulting in a profit in a store of their own. A boutique owner has the luxury of being his or her own boss, but starting a business of one’s own can be a lot of work and it takes a lot of work to become successful. A boutique owner can choose a niche that they would like to specialize in and provide their boutique with those fashions for customers. Some of these options may include selling shoes, accessories, children’s clothes, or even have a one-price shop.

Before opening a boutique, however, one must know the demographics of the area in which they are planning to run shop. Owning a boutique is not just about having a certain taste in fashion and ‘forcing’ it on their neighborhood around you, but rather adapting to the neighborhood’s fashion and selling them what they want. If you plan to sell hip and young clothing, you probably will not have much success in a neighborhood in which soccer moms dominate the area.

Some responsibilities for a boutique owner includes buying merchandise for the store, pricing and displaying your merchandise, doing inventory, hiring employees, designing the store, assisting customers, working the cash register, and paying the bills for the shop (Flynn 2). Being a boutique owner can be stressful at first when it comes to buying enough stock for the store so that it is not’t too much but enough to satisfy the customers, but after balancing your stock and maintaining regular customers, the stress should subside. Being a boutique owner means working long hours and having to travel to trade shows to purchase new stock. Owning a boutique can be a very profitable business, but only those who run their business accordingly keeping the consumer in mind first are able to succeed in this business.

Background experience/ Academic training

While anyone can open a boutique, a person’s background experience and education can determine whether it will ultimately be successful. Before opening a boutique, one should know how the fashion business runs and operates. One way to understand this concept is to have extensive retail experience. This will help one understand how to run a business and will also help with customer service. While working in the retail industry it is good to get advice from someone who has worked retail for a while (Crawford 2).

As far as education goes, a bachelor’s degree in business management or fashion retailing/ merchandising/ marketing is nice to have, but not necessarily needed but will definitely help when it comes to running the store (Boutique 1). If one does not have a business degree, it is important that they have strong basic business skills. It is always good to have taken a class in communication as well, since selling your product depends on the way you display it, and the way you communicate with your customer (Hernandez 5).

Career training/ advancement

One should take a few steps before opening their own business. The first step would first begin with some retail experience. One should know the business extensively before opening their own. They may start as a sales associate and work their way up to a store manager. Even if one earns their degree in fashion merchandising, they should still have some experience in selling merchandise and being in a business setting. After receiving a degree in fashion, a good career path would be a fashion buyer.

Fashion buyers are usually hired by department stores in order to buy clothing for a store. This way, one can understand how to get merchandise and about how much merchandise should be purchased compared to a stores income (Boutique 1). By this time, the person should be ready to own a boutique of his or her own.

Personal qualifications

There are still some personal qualifications for someone who is planning to own their own boutique. Some personal qualifications may include having an entrepreneurial and risk-taking personality. This is good to have in this business because when opening a boutique, lots of money usually goes into it before seeing any kind of profit. There fore by having this risk-taking personality will help.

The person should also be good at multi-tasking. This is important because merchandise must be sold on a daily basis on top of having to pay the bills for the shop, clean, and be able to still promote and advertise the store. One should also have a solid background in marketing, accounting, sales and management. This will make things easier when it comes to managing the store. One must also have up to date knowledge about fashion retail, trends and forecasting, and must have excellent time management and communication skills (Boutique 1).

Occupational Opportunity/outlook for future / salary

The salary range for a boutique owner is usually from $0- 100,000+ dollars. It is such a huge gap because how well the business goes depends on the owner’s management. During the first year or so in the boutique business, losses are expected since there are not any established regular customers yet and the bills still have to be paid. (Boutique 1). With good customer service and a great business plan, things should boom however. Those who are patient in this business, have a keen eye and love for fashion, and practice good business skills are bound to be successful when running a boutique.