Finding Careers in the Fashion Industry

The vibrant, ever-changing fashion industry is always looking for brilliant minds with an idea of what comes next in design and merchandising. Could you be that visionary voice? What does the future hold for jobs in the fashion industry?

Check out some of the top fashion industry jobs, and learn what you can do to work your way into one of these exciting careers.

Fashion & Retail Management

If you love fashion and you’ve always wanted to own your own business, a degree in retail management could be right up your alley. You already know what shoes to pair with that little black dress for the perfect night out, but you need to learn the details of management as it relates to fashion. Courses in fashion sales, retail history, and more can give you the experience you need to enter the field with confidence.

Management Salary Points. In 2007, retail sales managers and supervisors saw mean annual earnings of $39,210, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Management positions at high-end boutiques and specialty stores might earn more, depending on location and experience.

Fashion Merchandising Careers

If you stand behind your brand, you have to be able to sell it. Fashion merchandising is an umbrella term that covers a range of careers, including: Merchandise managers ” Fashion buyers ” Fashion marketers ” Fashion sales

Even those who specialize in creating window dressings for department stores fall under the category of fashion merchandising.

Fashion merchandise managers see a lot of use in today’s fashion economy. “Today it’s the merchandise manager who carries the weight,” Marvin Traub, a retail consultant, told the New York Times. “He has an eye to the numbers.” While a degree or certificate in fashion merchandising may not be required for all careers, it can help to have the technical knowledge you can pair with you existing passion.

Merchandising Salary Points. Wholesale and retail buyers earned $53,580 in 2007, the BLS reports. That same year, purchasing managers across all industries earned mean annual wages of $90,430. While that figure goes well beyond the fashion industry, it should give you an idea of the kind of salary a skilled manager in the field might expect.

Fashion Designers

When you first think of jobs in the fashion industry, you might picture famous fashion designers like Donatella Versace or Michael Kors. While it’s true that most work can be found in fashion hubs California and New York, designers typically work all over the country, running small businesses and boutiques. Whether you’re dreaming of small-town success or a big-city dream, training in fashion design can get you there.

Fashion Design Salary Points. Fashion designers saw mean annual wages of $71,170 in 2007, according to the BLS. Most designers worked in New York or California, cementing the notion that your best chances for employment are on the opposite coasts.

While competition is keen for many careers and no degree can guarantee a job, graduates of fashion schools are still finding a viable job market. Research fashion schools to get a better idea of your potential future.

What to Choose an In-Class Fashion Design College Degree Or an Online One

Most of you would know that in order to get into the fashion design industry, you would require a degree or a diploma certificate from a fashion design college, at least in the initial stages to tell the clients about you knowledge. But there are times and cases when one is not able to find time to attend a school or a college because of other commitments and financial pressures at times. In most technical fields, online schools have already become a hot favorite among working professionals who do not have time to attend regular classes at the conventional brick and mortar schools. The fashion industry is also fast catching up with this trend and a number of online fashion design colleges have come up in recent times which provide high quality education and good in house training and even offer internship opportunities in collaboration with some of the leading fashion design studios and labels. These colleges offer similar courses to those being offered at actual fashion design colleges, so the aspirants do not have much problem with the learning aspect at these online fashion design colleges.

Numerous degrees on offer.

As most of you know, there are many diverse fields within the field of fashion designing itself, and it is always beneficial if you get a specialized degree in any one of these streams from a reputed fashion design college. This fact can go a long way in landing you to the fashion design studio of your choice. Marketing, costume designing, merchandising, logistics, accessories and shoes are some of the broader fields that are encompassed within the world of fashion designing. It is always beneficial if you have a specialized degree in one or more of these fields from a reputed fashion design college. Most upcoming fashion designers would have anywhere between 2 to 3 such specialized degrees. This increases your profileýýýs horizons, especially, if the degree is backed by a good fashion design college. A perfect example on making the best use of two or more specializations would be someone who can club merchandising and marketing together and work at a retail store.

Comparison between online and in class fashion design colleges.

To choose between an online or an in class fashion design college, you would need to consider your requirements and the kind of expertise you need. Although it is quite true that most of the physical establishments of repute fashion design institutes in either on the west coast, California region, or the East coast, NYC region, yet it is not true. Some of the fashion design colleges have started establishing their physical campuses elsewhere in the country as well. If you want to get the degree, and be where the classes are in order to be able to get a valuable internship and then later work under a banner or in a boutique, you might well consider attending the classes at the physical location of the fashion design institute. If you do not have time to attend classes but still want that degree, and you know you can land up with the job with just a degree, then you might well go for online learning centers of these fashion design institutes.

Fashion Universities: How To Stay In Fashion

We have to admit, all of us have been on the to-don’ts list of fashion at least once in our lives. More than just putting together pieces of clothing and accessories and hoping that it pulls together, some people take fashion more seriously than you think. Creativity and attitude are insufficient when it comes to the fashion industry. Proper training from the top fashion universities has become a necessity in becoming a popular fashion designer.

Fashion universities know that the fashion industry is a competitive field. Designers often go back to school to take refresher courses as they don’t want to be left behind on the latest trends. The following then are tips to fashion designers on how to stay in fashion in the industry.

1. Be innovative

Fashion universities teach their students how to stay current. Fashion designers are trend-setters. Practically speaking, they are the ones who dictate what savvy people will be wearing in the next season. People follow fashion designers and it is the job of fashion universities to instill that trend-setting mindset to their students. Immersing yourself with fashion and being exposed to anything and everything can kick up your creativity level. Remember that clothing is supposed to be a way of expression which puts a heavy responsibility on the designers. People will be wearing your design which means that designers should remained challenged to always come up with new ideas to express oneself.

2. Fast-paced

The fashion industry is a fast-paced environment that requires constant innovative designs. Fashion universities can keep you up to date with the prevailing trends at a time, but by tomorrow, a brand new concept will be introduced. With technology, design software can also be used by not only speeding up the process of designing but also make use of techniques that cannot be instilled in pencil drawing. As the industry goes from season to season, fashion designers will always have to be a season ahead of everyone else. Fashion universities then keep students conscious of the shifting demands and opportunities of the fashion industry. Fashion designers should know how to think quickly and master their skills because something new has to be put on the store shelves for next season.

3. Broaden your options

There are hundreds of fashion designers that dream of getting their designs on the runway. Graduates of fashion universities are usually either self-employed or work for a clothing and apparel company. Inadequate capital and social connections are factors that hinder good fashion designers to be seen in fashion shows. As only a handful of designers get recognized in the fashion industry, fashion universities regard several options to which students should consider. Make-up Artists, Stylists, and Fashion Merchandising are but some examples of careers that are closely related to fashion design which are also offered by many fashion universities.

Fashion universities are best suited for those who truly have a love for clothing and fashion. Staying in fashion can be both a tiring and rewarding career. Like Heidi Klum says in her popular TV show called Project Runway, “One day you’re in, and the next day you’re out”.

The Advantages of Attending a Fashion Show

For some people a great time means having a party, then for others it is just being themselves and watching the latest movie or reading a book that they like. Even so, for others, there specific idea of having fun is going to a fashion show.

It is often found to be true that you might find yourself ending up being a fashion show addict after just one show. A fashion show is not just simply numerous hours of sitting and watching attractive woman walk down the catwalk in extreme outfits. It is a great deal more fun than that. You even have the opportunity to get a lot out of the show as well.

Latest News In Fashion

Clearly, if you go to a fashion show, you will get to view the latest fashions. This can assist you, even if you’re not a fashion sellout. This can help you out by giving you an idea of what particular fashion is in at the moment. Even though you may not be particularly interested in what everyone is wearing, you might be inspired to update your wardrobe just a little bit more or find some idea for a fashion that is uniquely your own.

Additionally, a fashion show can provide good entertainment when you find that the latest fashion is, well, hideous. How much fun do you think it will be to have a good laugh with your family and friends about some model who appeared wearing a lion mask and a tail when you get back home?

Goodie Bags

Even though not all fashion shows provide them, some fashion shows give out goodie bags to their attendees. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Even though you may not like all the things that goodie bag has in it, you can re-gifted at some later point to someone who you know will like it. The bigger and better the name of the fashion show, the bigger and better the goodie bag they will hand out.

Meeting People

Fashion shows typically end up being excellent social gatherings. First off, you might be able to make some new friends. You might realize that your new best friend was sitting right next to you at a fashion show admiring the same male or female model (as the case may be) that you were. Even better than that, you might meet some important people.

I am not just speaking about the beautiful models, fashion designers, or guest appearances by celebrities. I am referring to important people who could quite possibly shape your career. For example, if you’ve been trying to break into journalism. There might just be a newspaper editor reporting at the show. Making a social connection with them could give you a jump start into a possible job.

Going to a fashion show might not be your idea of fun or your ‘cup of tea’ as the saying goes. Nevertheless, everyone should at least go to one. You might find a new trend you would like to try out, meet someone that is life-changing, or even realized your newfound love of fashion.

If you end up not enjoying the show, you can always head back home and vow to never go to one again. Regardless, you’ll have some type of funny story to share later in life and now you will not be able to say that you have never seen one before.

Fashion Design Skills 101 – Skills That Fashion Schools Don’t Cover Nearly Enough

In fashion school, most of your time was spent learning to create fashion illustrations, draping, sewing, and flat patternmaking. While these are good skills to have, they aren’t very practical when you’re trying to land your first job in the fashion industry. In the real world you’ll be expected to know how to create computerized flat sketches, develop garment specs, CADs, and presentation boards. And I know some of you are thinking “But I learned those things in school too!” To which I reply: You think you know, but you have no idea! Take it from experience: fashion schools don’t focus on those skills nearly enough to fully prepare you for your first design position. In this article I will discuss each skill and its importance in the fashion industry.

Draping and Patternmaking – Low Importance
While patternmaking and draping are valuable skills, they usually only come in handy when you deal with a lot of fits. However, fittings are usually conducted by technical design teams so if you got into fashion for creative reasons, you’ll most likely be miserable in this type of position. On the creative side of design, all you need is a basic understanding of what creates a good fit, and how to fix a bad one. In the majority of design positions, hands-on patternmaking skills are not necessary, unless you plan to enter Project Runway!

Sewing – Low Importance
On the creative side of design, sewing isn’t that relevant. Yes, it’s good to understand the general concepts of garment construction, but you don’t need to be a great seamstress. On the job, if you need to know how a certain garment is constructed, there are tons of references available: from clothes at the stores, to “how to” books and online articles. The point I’m trying to make is: if you’re sewing skills leave something to be desired, don’t stress over it.

Illustration – Almost Unnecessary
Sadly, fashion illustrations are a dying art in the industry – they are scarcely used by designers in the real world. The fashion illustration has been replaced with computer drawn stylized technical sketches (floats) or more accurate technical flats, which are faster to sketch and much more practical. Not only do they present a clear representation of design concept, but they are a must have for production. Flats can be turned into CADs and can be used in mood/presentation boards. Fashion schools have not followed this shift and still focus more heavily on illustrations, and not enough on flat sketching.

Computer Programs – Must Know
I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing popular computer applications for creating floats, flats and CADs. Most companies expect proficiency in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Microsoft Excel since they are relatively affordable in comparison to more industry specific software. Unfortunately, the coverage of Illustrator and Photoshop provided by fashion schools does not meet the actual demands of the fashion industry. Many companies are also requesting knowledge of WebPDM, so if your college offers a course in this program, it would be to your benefit to take it. If your school does not teach this program, find a school or venue that does offer this program and take it!

Flat Sketching – Must Know
While interviewing candidates for design positions, we’ve seen applicants’ portfolios filled with beautiful illustrations and then say “That’s nice, but can you flat sketch?” If flats are included in their portfolios, they are usually basic, lack important details, and are not visually appealing. If the candidates sketches are halfway decent; my next question is “do you know Illustrator and Photoshop? ” Almost everyone says yes, but it’s usually far from the truth.

A lot of fashion school grads seriously believe that they know these programs well, but what you learned in school isn’t enough – fashion schools don’t teach these skills well enough for entry level designers to be competent within the fashion industry. Schools just cover basics, which are usually forgotten without practice. Take the extra effort to practice and become comfortable with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and other programs beyond what schools teach: read books and take additional courses (offered in either classroom or online settings).

Creating Specs in a Copycat Industry – Must Know
Knowing how to spec (measure and detail) a garment to create garment specifications, or “specs” is a fundamental skill. Many companies create their spec sheets using Excel. Although garment sizes and measurements vary from company to company, depending on different market segments and categories, if you know the principles, you’ll be able to quickly adapt to the standards of any company. You don’t even need to know how to develop specs from scratch!

As a head designer, to set spec standards for a company, I usually went to different stores, found garments with a good fit and copied the basic measurements. This is quite common – the fashion industry is a copycat industry- most fashions hanging in the stores are knock-offs of another company. Once, during a shopping trip in London, a store salesperson noticed I was a fashion designer collecting style ideas. He mentioned that his store received a constant flow of American design companies such as Calvin Klein, whose designers come to knockoff their merchandise. That’s right – even top designer brands use knockoffs for their ready-to-wear collections. There are even official terms: a “knockoff” is when a style is copied and a “rub-off” is when patterns are copied.

Educate Yourself!
Many fashion schools such as FIT in New York (Fashion Institute of Technology) offer important classes like “flats and specs for the fashion industry”, but believe it or not, these courses are not required by the curriculum! Another handy course that should be taken is “creative fashion presentation.” Salespeople use presentations a lot as visual aids. In addition they create a good impression and convey creativity level. If you can make outstanding presentations you’ll be assigned to do them often, and believe me it’s more fun to make boards than do fits or send faxes and organize showrooms.

To sum up: in order to get a job before the rest of the entry level fashion design candidates, you need to focus on refining skills that are highly demanded in the industry. Become proficient with flat sketching, include flats in your portfolio, and be extremely comfortable and knowledgeable in Illustrator and Photoshop. Not only will you be ready with the skills you need to succeed in fashion, but discussing how you went the extra mile to keep up with industry standards will definitely impress any prospective employer!

For your reference and use, we have posted lots of industry standard flat sketches and CADs in JPEG and vector (Illustrator) formats on DesignersNexus.com. If you can improve your skills to reach the quality of those shown, you’ll be in a very good shape

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