How to Become a Fashion Designer
There is no formal education or certification required to become a successful fashion
designer, but that doesn't make the feat any easier. You will need to have a
combination of drawing, sewing, and design skills, a knowledge of the fashion industry,
and unparalleled perseverance. A few ideas to help you get started are outlined in this article.
Honing Your Fashion Design Skills
1. Develop your skills.
Successful fashion designers have a wide array of skills, including drawing, an eye for
color and texture, an ability to visualize concepts in three dimensions, and the mechanical
skills involved in sewing and cutting all types of fabrics.
• Get excellent sewing tuition if you haven't already learned this skill well. Being
able to sew difficult fabric under challenging situations will stand you in excellent stead
throughout your career but you need to work at it - it's a skill that doesn't come easily
to many people.
• Understand how fabrics move, drape, breathe, react when worn, etc. Your in-depth
knowledge of fabric is absolutely essential to using it properly when designing. Also
know where to source materials from.
• Learn from existing designers, not just who they are, but their backgrounds,
their signature style, the learning that they undertook, where they studied. Knowing
this will help you to be a better designer yourself, as you can borrow and build on their ideas.
• Learn how to create storyboards and product ranges. Be good at researching trends
through media, comparative shopping and trade shows.
• Start developing these skills at a young age. Be prepared to devote hours of time
to perfecting your craft.
2. Learn more.
If you can, it makes good sense to get a diploma or degree in fashion design or a related
program. You'll learn a great deal, make excellent early contacts and have ample
opportunity to show off your skills in a less judgmental environment (although still be
prepared to be critiqued!) Do one (or both) of the following:
• Get a degree in fashion design. Most programs are three or four years long.
FIDM and Parsons are two of the most popular design schools in the United States.
You will study drawing, color and composition, pattern-making, and draping.
In addition to learning practical skills like these, you will also be working with industry
professionals who may serve as important contacts in the future and who can give
you first-hand advice and feedback on your work.
• Apply for an internship or apprenticeship. If school is not for you, or if you
simply feel that real-world experience will be of more benefit to you, then find a fashion
internship. You will need to have an impressive portfolio to apply and be willing to start
at the bottom; interns are often given menial tasks like getting coffee. Again, the
connections you make through your internship or apprenticeship will be vital as you
pursue your career in fashion, and working with industry professionals will give you an
opportunity to pick up important skills first-hand.