Fashion Designer – Do You Have What it Takes to Get Into Fashion?

For an artist, the world of fashion can seem more like a business than a world of creative fashion design. Aspiring fashion designers need to understand that this is all necessary. Business is the life blood of fashion and the fashion itself is only the soul. Fashion simply wouldn’t be able to see mass production if it were any other way. So you may be a ‘creative’ but as a fashion designer you must develop a passion for not only design but manufacturing challenges, the excitement of marketing and overcoming competition.

In the professional world of fashion, you’ll spend less than 10 percent of your time designing your collections and the rest of the time working out money management issues, and executing marketing strategies. These are the only things that will give life to your creative work and allow you to survive as a fashion designer so your garment designs will hit the store shelves and not just remain the beautiful figments of your creative imagination.

You want to become well acquainted with the business aspect of fashion. Don’t even think of starting out on you own. Work for any designer, design house or clothing manufacturer first so you can become well versed in how the fashion industry works on a daily basis and carefully climb up the ladder from there. Study how other fashion designers made their way to the top. Most of the biggest name designers worked under other designers for years before they started their own labels. They often worked for more than one fashion designer or fashion house. Having different positions and seeing different ways of how business was handled, they gained hands on knowledge, experience, confidence and acquired indispensable assets of credibility and reputation at the same time.

So if you’re getting into fashion design you’ve got to plan on being a lifer if you’re going to one day own your own line. Here is a list of characteristics you need to either have already or acquire as you go along in order to become a successful fashion designer:

– A hard edge against negative feedback and rejection.

– You need a very competitive spirit.

– You need the ability to be organized and be able to function under extreme stress of dealing with difficult people, multiple deadlines and responsibilities.

– You need to love or learn to love the marketing, negotiating and networking game in the world of fashion.

– And you need the willingness to keep your mind open to learning new things as a fashion designer.

What a Summer in Milan Can Do for a Fashion Designer

Milan, Capital of Fashion

Milan is the fashion capital of the world. This is the place where it all happens because the city revolves around fashion and great design. In Milan, the biggest offense you can commit is having an imitation purse. This is the reason why people who want to learn about fashion often dream about attending a fashion school in Milan, but the idea of living in Italy for years can be intimidating–not to mention expensive. That is why designers should consider an intensive, summer program instead.

So what can an up and coming fashion designer hope to gain from summer school in Milan?

1) Experience – Being in the center of the fashion capital means that you have the chance to see your education in action. You have a chance to see just how fashion works in the real world. Experience is something that you truly need when you want to be the best at something. Attending a design school in Milan is the fashion equivalent of a soldier going through boot camp in Afghanistan.

This experience will look great on a resume and help a young designer get in the door of the real decision makers back in the States because experience is the best teacher. Here is a little secret about resumes–executives rarely read them word for word. Basically, if a company is hiring, the boss will skim through a stack of resumes looking for any interesting detail that sets a person apart. Having the name of a fashion school in Milan on a designer’s resume, combined with some great looks and styles in their portfolio, might be the winning combination to landing that dream job. Rubbing elbows with the fashion elite in Milan will inspire new design ideas while toughening a designer up to be able to handle rejection and harsh criticism.

2) Competition – Since Milan is the fashion capital, it is only natural that people all over the place are competing with each other for the top spot. This will help the new designer become more competitive when they are launching their new line and establishing their presence in the business. Stiff competition is the best thing that can help the development of new talent in fashion design. By going to a summer fashion school in Milan, designers will be putting themselves through a trial by fire.

3) Discipline – Because of the high expectations of fashion schools in Milan, a new designer will learn how to be disciplined and get things done on tight deadlines. Fashion, although it involves creativity, requires a lot of discipline and downright hard work in order to be successful.

4) Opportunity – When attending a fashion school in Milan, there will be all kinds of contacts and opportunities available. Attending a fashion summer program in Milan means having the opportunity to scout the industry for niches while still having the freedom of being a student. Because of this, a designer who stands out in Milan, will be on the fast track to finding a job within the fashion industry. Establish connections and get to know the big players. Also, don’t attend a program unless it will also be able to supply some contacts in order to help a new designer get started in a career in fashion.

Making a Fashion Designer Salary

Donna Karan, Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren – who knows how many millions these famous designers pocket yearly as a fashion designer salary? The average fashion designer, on the other hand, makes much less than this, more so for those in entry-level positions. But the good thing about the fashion industry is that it pays well, and there’s a lot of room for growth and a hefty pay raise for those who are really motivated.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the normal fashion designer salary range is very wide, with starting pay grades at around $32,500 per annum for the lowest ten percent and a whopping $130,890 annually for those in the highest ten percent. The median annual fashion designer salary is at $74,440 and the average annual salary is $64,530.

Factors Affecting Salaries

The fashion industry has a very broad scope, encompassing so many different fields globally. It even crosses boundaries to interact with other professions and industries. Because of this, there are quite a number of positions in the field, from seamstresses to fashion advertising executives. Position is of course the main factor affecting a fashion designer salary. The higher you rise, the more you get paid, and there are certain areas in fashion that pay more than others.

Educational background is another thing that employers consider when promoting people and wages. The more knowledge and skills you have, the more confident your employers will be in you and the more likely you are to rise in the ranks. Another thing to consider is the geographic location. There are more opportunities in the urban areas, especially in the known fashion capitals like New York, L.A., or Paris and you’ll have better chances of earning a higher fashion designer salary.

High-Paying Areas

According to research, the highest-paying areas in fashion are those that have to do with the film and television industries, wholesalers, footwear manufacturing, electronic market and durable goods. The highest employment levels were in piece goods, apparel merchant wholesalers, cut-and-sew apparel, notions, knitting mills and specialized design services.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has also forecast that between 2008 and 2018, there will be little change in the industry, as the high demand for fashion designers and other career opportunities continues to draw fierce competition. Clothing brands that mass-produce for the public are said to have the best chances for success. In the United States, the highest-paying states for fashion as of 2010 were New Hampshire, New York, Maine, Wisconsin and California. Meanwhile, New York, California, New Jersey, Ohio and Florida had the highest employment rates in the American fashion industry.

There are other related occupations that you might want to consider, such as interior design, jewelry, metal and precious stone workers, artists, photographers, writers and editors. Interior designers contribute by creating beautiful and safe office spaces and may even help during shows while those in the jewellery are in charge of producing accessories and other materials for clothing. If you really want a fashion designer salary, you’ll have to work your way up by using your skills and talents and find your niche in the industry.