How Do I Become a Wedding Dress Designer?

Explore the career requirements for wedding dress designers. Get the facts about education, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Wedding Dress Designer?

Wedding dress designers can either design custom dresses for individuals or work for large fashion companies. They design beautiful dresses and gowns for brides by hand or using a computer. Wedding dress designers must be up to date on current and upcoming fashion trends, which they then incorporate into a collection. They typically will select the colors, materials and accessories, such as beads or sequins, for a dress. Some wedding dress designers may make their dresses themselves, while others oversee production. Wedding dress designers often showcase their work at bridal shows or conventions, as well as fashion shows. See the table below for some quick career facts about wedding dress designers.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Fashion design, fashion technology or related field
Key Skills The ability to translate designs into visual images, sewing and basic marketing skills
Key Responsibilities Be aware of current fashion trends, create patterns, sew and tailor wedding dresses
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3% for all fashion designers
Median Salary (2015)* $63,670 for all fashion designers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education or Training Do I Need to Become a Wedding Dress Designer?

Wedding dress designers can learn their craft through most general fashion design degree programs, which are offered at associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. In addition to learning from experienced designers, you need to be aware of the current trends in fashion and be able to translate your designs to visual images on paper or computers. Additionally, you must know to create patterns and sew and tailor your wedding dress designs.

Many degree programs allow you to obtain an internship with a designer or work in the industry. If you work as a personal stylist or custom tailor, you may gain access to major designers and design houses. In addition, entering design contests, both amateur and student, may create opportunities.

What Will I Study?

Through associate and bachelor's degree programs, you can explore every aspect of fashion, including developing and drawing your own ideas, choosing fabrics, creating your own line of clothing and determining the price you should assign to your items based on certain variables. You can also learn how to cut a pattern and alter a design to fit your model. While you probably won't find a degree program that focuses specifically on wedding dress design, you can often take courses that teach you about bridal wear within regular fashion design programs.

What Job Duties Will I Have?

Wedding dress designers work for large fashion houses, run their own brand or work with individual brides to create custom gowns. Whether the dresses are designed to appeal to the mass market or to please one bride, wedding dress designers must try to make each bride feel that the dress expresses who she is and how she feels about this special day. You should be able to incorporate all of your knowledge of the latest fashion trends along with traditional elements of bridal wear to develop your gowns. When working with an individual bride, you'll consider everything from the bride's specific feature requests to the fabric to the shape of the bride's body.

What Is the Job Outlook for This Field?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the fashion design field as a whole should expect a slight increase of 3% in jobs between 2014 and 2024. In addition, this will remain a highly competitive field. As of May 2015, the median salary for fashion designers was $63,670.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Graphic designers, art directors and industrial designers are a few related careers that all involve designing and creating an image or product. These positions all require at least a bachelor's degree. Graphic designers create the images for things like advertisements and magazines. They may create their concepts by hand or with a computer. Art directors develop and maintain a desired visual style for a production or publication. Industrial designers look at a product's functionality, cost and other characteristics to help them design and develop new products. They may design things like cars or appliances.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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