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Life As a Fashion Designer

Career Description Design clothing and accessories. Create original designs or adapt fashion trends.

Life As a Fashion Designer: What Do They Do?

  • Read scripts and consult directors and other production staff to develop design concepts and plan productions.
  • Visit textile showrooms to keep up-to-date on the latest fabrics.
  • Research the styles and periods of clothing needed for film or theatrical productions.
  • Examine sample garments on and off models, modifying designs to achieve desired effects.
  • Attend fashion shows and review garment magazines and manuals to gather information about fashion trends and consumer preferences.
  • Select materials and production techniques to be used for products.

What Every Fashion Designer Should Know

Below is a list of the skills most Fashion Designers say are important on the job.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Other Fashion Designer Job Titles

  • Fur Tailor
  • Design Director
  • Costume Director
  • Shoe Designer
  • Uniform Designer

Fashion Designer Job Outlook

In the United States, there were 23,800 jobs for Fashion Designer in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 2.5% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 600 new jobs for Fashion Designer by 2026. There will be an estimated 2,300 positions for Fashion Designer per year.


The states with the most job growth for Fashion Designer are Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Pennsylvania, Vermont, or South Carolina. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Fashion Designer Salary

The average yearly salary of a Fashion Designer ranges between $36,420 and $155,470.


Fashion Designers who work in New York, California, or Alabama, make the highest salaries.

How much do Fashion Designers make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $98,380
Arkansas $61,800
California $95,250
Colorado $63,110
Connecticut $72,280
Florida $57,770
Georgia $72,010
Hawaii $50,800
Kansas $65,490
Maine $80,540
Maryland $64,500
Massachusetts $77,990
Michigan $62,070
Minnesota $52,540
New Jersey $69,640
New Mexico $67,960
New York $95,830
North Carolina $71,330
Oregon $75,710
Pennsylvania $54,840
South Carolina $75,110
Texas $76,240
Utah $43,610
Washington $66,600
Wisconsin $45,940

What Tools & Technology do Fashion Designers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Fashion Designers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite
  • Financial accounting software
  • Corel Painter
  • Autodesk SketchBook Pro

Becoming a Fashion Designer

Individuals working as a Fashion Designer have obtained the following education levels:


What work experience do I need to become a Fashion Designer?


Where do Fashion Designers Work?


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.


You May Also Be Interested In…

Those who work as a Fashion Designer sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:


Image Credit: Szilas in the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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