Choosing a Fashion Design Career

Fashion Design Career

Imagine having your designs gracing the catwalks of New York, Paris or Milan.  Travelling to the fashion capitals of the world showing your designs would be a dream come true for every aspiring fashion designer.  There are a few steps between drawing designs on your sketchpad as a teenager and hitting the big time on the runways of New York.

Getting Started

Like most fashion designers you probably started out making clothes for your dolls or yourself when you were young.  You have a great sense of style and know how to combine fabrics and accessories in a way that makes the outfit look stunning.  That innate ability to put together the right colors and fabrics is critical for a career in fashion design, but you’ll also need some formal education to go along with it.

The fashion industry is brutally competitive, just read The Devil Wears Prada to understand exactly how brutal it is.  Other designers would sell their grandmothers just for an apprenticeship with one of the couture houses.  The requirements to get into the most prestigious fashion design schools are pretty high.  This doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but it does mean you have to prepare and work for it.

Cultivate Your Skills

Can you draw well?  While being able to draw isn’t a necessity it certainly helps.  You need to take the ideas that are in your head and put them to paper so others can see your design skills.  If drawing isn’t necessarily your forte you might want to brush up on those skills.  The next step is getting yourself some experience to add to your resume.

If you live in or near a major city like New York or Los Angeles you can try and get an apprenticeship or internship in the fashion district.  While New York or Los Angeles may be ideal there will be independent designers working in almost every major city.  Relocating might be something you have to consider, if so look for a city with a vibrant fashion community.  The contacts you make will serve you for the rest of your career.  Working, even for free in the fashion industry will teach you more in three months than you can learn in years of reading magazines.


Going to design school is one way to begin your fashion design career.  You have the option of choosing between doing a four year degree at a fashion design school such as Parsons in New York.  The other option is going to a technical school such as FIT, they are a lot more affordable than a four year university degree.  Here is a list of some of the best fashion schools in the country.

You’ll find many of these schools located in or very near New York, which makes sense since New York is the center of the fashion industry in the United States.  Immersing yourself in the field will give you a solid foundation in which to build your fashion design career.  Fashion design schools teach you more than how to sketch.  You can learn about textiles, cutting and pattern making.  It’s to your advantage to learn the business aspects of the fashion design industry as well.

There are plenty of successful fashion designers who opted to work as interns in big fashion houses to start their careers.  They started at the bottom and proved their skill as a designer working their way up the ladder.  If you’re committed to a career in fashion design, and you have the talent to go along with it don’t let anything get in your way.

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