by Betsy Gallup, Demand Media
Fashion design is about more than pretty clothes.
Fashion designers are often thought of as creative individuals who live glamorous lives surrounded by leggy models and entertainment superstars. While models and hobnobbing are parts of the industry, the career of the average fashion designer is a lot more down-to-earth and filled with hard, yet rewarding work. Before you decide fashion design is the perfect job for you, learn more about the fashion industry.
While fashion designers must be creative, they also need to understand basic production, marketing and business concepts. Whether a designer works as part of a team for a large manufacturer or apparel company or pinches pennies as a freelance designer who answers only to the client, she needs to understand how the cost of creating a garment relates to price the item will sell for. Fashion is a business that won’t stay profitable without a trained eye toward managing cost and a consummate understanding of how to market products to the desired market.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 21,500 jobs for fashion designers in 2010. The experts anticipate that number will remain constant for at least 10 years. Of those jobs, the majority are located in New York and California. That means you should plan to move if you want to work for one of the big fashion houses. If moving is not in your future, you can still find fashion jobs in other parts of the country, but expect competition to be stiff. You also can choose to approach a fashion design career as an entrepreneur.
A fashion design career need not require a college degree; however, some college courses in business, marketing and computer-aided design, or CAD, are prefect accompaniments to even the most creative and forward-thinking designers. Art courses will aid in sharing your designs with others, and basic textiles training will expand your understanding of what fabrics will work best for which designs.
Even though the number of available fashion designer jobs is small in comparison to the number of people who dream of a career in the field, the same skills and talents needed to be a designer can be used in related occupations, such as merchandisers, tailors, art directors, personal stylists, boutique owners or managers.
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