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Jan 13, 2009

Become a Fashion Designer

Fashion designing - sounds like a dream job, huh? It can also be one of the hardest professions to get into. But you can do it with a little hard work. There are many types of Fashion Designers. Some work for themselves, others work at medium sized companies, and others work for international businesses. Find the right type of business for you, but first you have to become a designer. This will take time, but be patient. It is worth the long run!

    Make a list of companies or brands that sell fashion. Find out what country they are from. Also write what type of fashion each company makes. These are called "fashion categories". Some examples of categories are: swimwear, lingerie, sportswear, junior sportswear, career wear and such. Decide what category interests you the most. Now start a scrapbook with pictures of that type of fashion. If you want to add sketches, that will add to the notebook. Also make a list of companies or brands in that category.
    Take an art class in drawing. Learn to draw drapery. If you can find a class that draws people or "life drawing", take that too. If you can't draw real people, start drawing from photos of fashion models. Also learn about color, and mixing color. Know what colors look good together and how color groups are assembled.
    Get a mannequin that you can pin fabric on or drape* to make designs to see how they would fit a body so that way you won't sew something and then try it on and it turns out it looks terrible.
           Draping is another word for covering, dressing, or hanging cloth in loose folds
    Learn to sew clothes. Study the patterns and become familiar with sewing pattern shapes. Sew for real people so that you get familiar with body shapes and fit. Also learn about fabric. Know what fabrics are made from (silk? wool? cotton?) and how they are woven (velvet, twill, satin).        
                       Make clothes for other people. Yes, that may be more like dressmaking than design, particularly if your subject is conservative. But you will learn a great deal about dealing with a customer and fitting the human body in all its variations. You can charge money for your work.
    Learn about fashion trends. Visit such web sites as pantone . com to see what colors are going to be in fashion. Try to predict what fashion will be popular in the future.
    Learn how fashion is sold: stores, online and such. What are the major department stores? What stores sell the category of fashion you are interested in? Also learn about the "target customer". This is the type of person who will buy the fashion. What is the average age, income, lifestyle and other traits of the shopper? What do they want to buy?
    Consider getting professional training. If you live close to a community college or university, see if that school has a program in fashion (this subject may be in a Family & Consumer Science Dept.), costume (Drama Dept.) or fashion merchandising. Plan to spend at least 2 years in any fashion design program. Don't feel that you have to spend a lot of money to get this training. Many states have public colleges or trade schools with excellent fashion training.
    Seek an internship. Ask your teacher or instructor about this. Some companies want interns to be enrolled in a specific course, and others don't care.
    Portfolio and Resume: When you graduate, you should have a portfolio of your best work. Usually these illustrations are of the one category that you are interesting in finding a job in. A good portfolio will sometimes have sample garments too. You may want to add production flats with each drawing to show the details, also fabric swatches for each design. 14" x 17" is a good size for a portfolio.
   First Job: think of your first job as 'graduate school'. You won't be a designer, but you might work for one. It will be hard work, long hours, and lots of exciting times. As you work, you will move up the career ladder, working at many positions before you become a designer. A professional designer has huge responsibilities, and only a seasoned pro qualifies to take on those tasks.
  11. Start at home by sketching down some of your clothing ideas on a piece of paper and keep them in a special folder, keep editing it till its just right and explore with colors. USE YOUR IMAGINATION !

     Develop a working knowledge of design-related software programs such as Adobe Photo shop and Illustrator.
     Subscribe to fashion magazines such as Vogue and Elle to keep yourself up-to-date with fashion trends. Also consider subscription to trade newspapers such as "Woman's Wear Daily", or regional papers such as "Apparel News". This is what the pros read, and you should too.
     Learn about historical fashion. Know fashion styles from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, through the Renaissance, Elizabethan, Victorian and 19th centuries. Know the important 20th century designers: Chanel, Dior, Poiret and the others.
     Learn about ethnic or regional costumes: China, India, Africa, Mexico and others. Know the styles that people wear around the world, and how current fashion borrows from those styles.
     Go to shops which sell materials and have a good feel to them so you know which fabric will be suitable for which type of clothes.
     Becoming familiar with the computer and research is something that all fashion designers need to succeed. Try asking some people that you know who know their way around computers to give you some great tips.Cut bits of fabric that you like and buttons and lace etc. and make a collage and maybe frame it.
     Take classes in sketching and fashion illustration. Your ideas will usually be presented in sketch form. Computer aided drafting (CAD) is another useful skill.
     Professional designers get ideas on their own time. Work hours are spent dealing with vendors, fitting models, publicity, production schedules and problems.
    Be aware of how far in the future the fashion industry works to produce new styles. When fall merchandise is being shown in the fashion mags, spring or even the season after it is the focus of the designer. The color forecasts are a year ahead.
     Watch "Project Runway".