How to Be a Fashion Designer

To be or not to be a fashion designer is a tough choice. Fashion designers are not people you get introduced to all the time. And successful fashion designers are usually too busy or too secretive to share how they got the job. So it can be a dilemma on whether you should take the plunge and invest a small fortune on an unknown future.

No rewarding career in life is ever made to be simple. Fashion design is no exception. Famous designers work extremely hard for their fame and money. But one thing is for sure – if you plan from the start to dedicate yourself, half the battle is won.

Many professionals in the fashion industry will readily agree that fashion students nowadays think that they deserve a paycheck without “paying their dues.” What dues, you ask? Most of them might sound like modern-day slavery. This includes frequent 18-hour work days; weekends spent at work; fetching coffee for the entire department; and being criticized and picked on constantly by co-workers.

Yes, the horror stories you see on reality TV are true. Some of them at least. In a creative industry, anything can happen. So be prepared for it.

Still want to be a fashion designer come hell or rain?

Here are three mantras you should memorize:

1) Your portfolio is your design identity

Just like how celebrity models value their looks and work on maintaining their charm, you have to do the same for your portfolio. Future employers and the public are going to judge you based on your skill to design fabulous pieces. And your portfolio is going to show them exactly what you are capable of.

No matter how hard you work, procrastination can be really hard to beat sometimes. So the best way to get the most versatile fashion design portfolio would be to enroll for a fashion course. Being in school will force you to leave your comfort zones. With the right training and dedication, results are often impressive.

2) Understand why people dress the way they do

The Japanese have their kimonos, the Indians have their saris, and the Chinese have their cheongsams. Even though global fashion is now mainly influenced by top fashion cities like Paris, New York, and London, people around the world still dress differently. A true fashion designer has the EQ to understand what customers want and need.

Are people feeling warm in tropical climates? Do others need to cover up for religious reasons? What kind of jobs do they have? Are your designs simplistic yet stylish enough to be worn every day?

When it comes to fashion psychology, the variables are endless. Yes, you may argue that it is more fun to design for haute couture. But in reality, fashion is more of a business than an art. Even the rich from the highest echelons are still humans. One of the best ways to grow as a fashion designer is to create clothes for everyday people.

The exciting bit about fashion is that it changes every day. So no two days will ever be exactly the same.

3) Find a good fashion school

It can make all the difference in your life. Good schools have the facilities you need. And they also hire lecturers who are well-connected within the industry. Have plans to be an international fashion designer? Consider enrolling into an international school. This allows you to meet many sorts of people from around the world. And it can help you learn a bit more about understanding people like mentioned earlier.

While in school, you will work on assignments necessary to build the best portfolio before you graduate. You will make your own fashion collections, sketch your best designs, and pay homage by studying about the various designs and designers that made fashion history. A fashion design student’s life is nothing short of colorful and exciting.

If you feel that your country may be too conservative for full creative expression, an alternative is to study fashion abroad. Countries like Australia and Singapore are ideal for an English-speaking environment and career opportunities after graduation.

Feeling adventurous? Studying in developing nations can help you save money on craft materials. Not to mention, countries with strong manufacturing industries allow you to build a contact list of reliable suppliers. This will come in handy when you want to start your own label. Living costs in a developing nation is also less costly, so you spend less on your overall education. Countries like China, Thailand, and Sri Lanka can offer you this experience.

Want to find out more about studying fashion design abroad?

Everyone’s case is unique and we want to give the best advice that works for you. To ensure quality education every semester, there are limited seats in Raffles. And they are filling up fast! Need more information? Fill up an enquiry form and an experienced Education Consultant will provide you with a free consultation.

Become a Fashion Designer With Creativity and Passion

To become a fashion designer, you must be a very creative person with an eye for style. Fashion designers are people who conceptualize and create outfits that clothing companies will sell to consumers. They follow current fashion trends and determine what people will consider stylish and fashionable.

Fashion designers often know that it is an interest of theirs at young ages. As children they liked to dress themselves and their toys in different outfits and liked to come up with new and interesting ways to wear and match different accessories. They also generally take an interest in fashion magazines and celebrity fashions at an early age as well. However, if you are interested in becoming a fashion designer and you have an eye for what looks good on people, there are many opportunities to get into the business.

As you would expect, in order to become a fashion designer, you must have a great interest in fashion trends and clothing. It is a good idea to follow fashion magazines and watch fashion shows to get ideas for new designs and trends. Try to determine what will be popular in the future and think of outfits that could fit these new trends.

If you don’t already, it is a good idea to learn how to sew and make clothing. Though a professional designer is not usually required to create the clothes themselves, having a knowledge of how clothes are made will help in the design process. It is also good to have these skills in order to create basic prototypes of your design ideas so that you can more easily promote them.

As a fashion designer, one of your main jobs is to sketch the designs for your clothing ideas so others will know what your new outfit is intended to look like. A good fashion designer must be able to produce detailed and accurate designs for their clothing ideas. Part of this is having a knowledge of different cloths and materials, knowing how to draw accurate body proportions, as well as the ability to choose and mix colors.

If you do not know how to sketch designs properly or effectively, it may help to go to a design school or take design classes. Though a degree in fashion design is not required to find a job, it is extremely helpful because it lets potential employers know that you have a working knowledge of the industry as well as how to draft accurate designs. Many colleges and universities offer programs in fashion design and you can choose to take a two year or four year track.

Whether you decide to attend a school or not, be sure to keep a portfolio of the work you have done. When you apply for jobs, you should be able to produce a number of sample designs that you have come up with. This will give your clients an idea of your sense of style.

Do whatever you can to learn about the industry. Read magazines, talk to professionals, watch TV programs, and whatever else you can do. The more you know, the better chance you will have in achieving success as a fashion designer.

Becoming a Fashion Designer

It seems like everyone is jumping on the designer bandwagon these days. And why not? The fashion industry is sexy – fashion shows, parties, celebrities, recognition, and even fame go along with a career in fashion.

Now herein lies the question: do you go to design school or go straight to starting a business? Not all fashion designers go the traditional route to design school, instead drawing on an entrepreneurial spirit, some “designers” turn their head for business into a thriving fashion enterprise.

Ralph Lauren is an example of a fashion designer who bypassed the sewing machine and headed straight for the marketplace. Which path you take depends on your personal motivation. If you love sewing and pattern making, the traditional route is going to bring the most satisfaction. If you love the fashion world but don’t have the patience for needle and thread, a career in the fast-paced and exciting fashion biz is still possible … read on.

So you want to go out on your own, what’s first?

You’ve always admired fashion designers and their ability to design trendy, unique and wearable fashions season after season, as if by magic. But it’s not magic; it’s a business. And to succeed in business, nobody is an island (meaning that everyone needs a little help to accomplish his or her dreams). And it’s not all glitz and glamour. Being a fashion designer means you have to actually run a business.

Before you print up those business cards, ask yourself if you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves and tackle the not-so fun aspects of fashion.

At first, running a fashion business could mean fulfilling orders yourself (i.e., packing boxes until the wee hours of the morning), steaming clothes repeatedly during fashion shows, and bookkeeping. You could spend only a small percentage of your time actually designing; instead you’re networking, schmoozing and negotiating with suppliers and vendors.

If you’re planning to take the direct-to-consumer path, you’ll have to create a website and maintain it (and most likely have to pay someone to handle these tasks), get a merchant account to process credit card transactions and manage charge back cycles. If you’re not interested in learning what these things mean, then you may decide to work for a large fashion house to learn the ropes.

But if you have the endurance and enough friends with skills or services you can trade for, you could go out on your own and succeed. Today is the age of entrepreneurship, why shouldn’t you get a piece of the pie?


The fashion biz: a reality check

Exciting industries are rife with competition-some that will fade away and others that will give you a run for your money. You have to compete against the big names out there and trendy emerging designers fresh out of the best design schools or veterans of big fashion houses-not to mention all the celebrities popping up with their own labels.

Running your own fashion biz may require you to reach out to suppliers and potential customers all over the world, which means you better be organized. Are you prepared to coordinate the procurement of raw materials like fabric, trim and hardware, so that your manufacturer gets what they need at the right time to deliver a finished product on deadline?

Think of yourself as a business person first and a fashion designer second. If your fashion business fails, you’re the one that suffers. Always keep the business aspect in the forefront of your mind. Some people find this prospect exhilarating, while others can’t think of anything more horrifying. Still interested in starting your own fashion business?

I’m not a designer, can I still work in the fashion industry?

Yes … and no. If you have the design vision, you can pay people to take your idea and turn it into a tangible pattern or design. This is sort of like what a creative director does. If this fits your situation, then you’d better have the business chops to get your business off the ground and you’d better have a solid Core Value Proposition.

What this means is that you must have a strong business proposal and offer a product that’s valuable and in demand. That doesn’t mean you have to sell high-end couture clothing to rich people. Clothiers H&M and Zara focus on fast ready-to-wear fashion at affordable pricepoints.

There is more than one path to becoming a fashion designer. You can learn to sew and go to design school to learn the ins-and-outs of the business. But not everyone learns to draw patterns and stitch together garments. The keys to succeeding in the fashion business are creativity, a good business sense and determination.

Stay tuned for more advice on becoming a fashion designer.