Design & Architecture
Fashion designers create original clothing, accessories, and footwear.
What does a Fashion Designer do?
Fashion designers create original clothing, accessories, and footwear. They sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns, and give instructions on how to make the products they have designed.
As a fashion designer, your work would normally involve:
- working to design instructions (known as a brief)
- analysing or predicting trends in fabrics, colours and shapes
- producing concepts for new clothing items
- developing basic shapes ('blocks') through patterns
- estimating costs for materials and manufacture
- finding suppliers
- supervising the making up of sample clothing items
- making in-house presentations, for example to finance departments and merchandisers.
You would often work closely with garment technologists and sample machinists. You could also liaise with manufacturers (often based overseas) to make sure that designs are reproduced accurately.
Key skills and interests
To become a fashion designer, you would need:
- a good eye for colour, texture and shape
- an understanding of the characteristics and useability of fabrics or materials such as leather
- technical skills such as pattern cutting and sewing
- the ability to spot and develop trends
- creative flair and drawing skills
- the ability to use computer design packages
- the ability to work under pressure.
Working hours and conditions
Fashion designers often work long hours and weekends in order to meet deadlines, for example at the launch of a new collection.
You would be based in a studio or workshop, but may travel to visit manufacturers (often overseas). You could also go on research visits, for example to art galleries, trade shows or to particular places or countries that are linked to a design theme.
How to become an Fashion Designer?
Entry Level Education
To become a fashion designer you usually have to complete a VET qualification in applied fashion design and technology. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of their work.
You can also become a fashion designer by completing a degree in fashion design or fashion and textiles. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with English. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of their work.
Employment of fashion designers is projected to decline slightly.
Most mass-market apparel is produced internationally, and as a result, employment of fashion designers in the apparel manufacturing industry has declined strongly.
However, designers will still be needed to design upmarket clothing and accessories. In addition, as new clothing technology is developed, fashion designers will be needed to create garments using new materials, such as moisture-wicking fabrics.