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Fashion Designer Career Requirements

Fashion designers enjoy a broad range in career choices. Designers can work for major retail firms and department stores. Or, they may work for small, independent stores and boutiques. Many form their own design firms and work as contractors and consultants in the apparel industry. Other fashion designers work in the entertainment business, designing costumes for stage, screen, and television.

Career training requirements vary by fashion specialization and business sector. A fashion designer may be a generalist, or may choose to work within a specialized niche, such as formalwear, sportswear, maternity or children's apparel, shoes, jewelry, accessories, or eyewear. Training and experience make up the fundamental job requirements in each niche of the profession.

Training for the Fashion Design Trades
Fashion designers often enter the profession as assistants and pattern makers for merchandizing and design firms, advancing with experience.

Colleges, universities, business and design schools offer undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs in the fashion trade. Some designers pursue an associates or bachelors of fine arts in fashion design. Others take degrees with concentrations in business, merchandising, and marketing.

Coursework can include detailed training in materials, color, textiles, basic anatomy, stones and gems, sewing, sketching, pattern-making, fashion history and trends, display, and draping. Students may also pursue classes in presentation and computer-aided design software, business communications, and sales.

Students who build solid portfolios as part of their fashion design training programs have their own marketing tool to show prospective employers. Or students can take internships with fashion design companies, apparel chains, or manufacturers.

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