Fashion, Clothing and Apparel Design

Fashion, clothing and apparel design is broad term that refers to the production of new garments and accessories for manufacturers and retailers. Keep reading to learn more about areas of specialization, job growth, salaries and educational options for fashion designers.

Is Fashion, Clothing and Apparel Design for Me?

Career Overview

Do you have a flare for the latest fashions and trends in clothing? Are you able to look at the latest styles and design your own clothing based on what you see? If you can answer yes to either of these questions, a career in fashion, clothing and apparel design may be right for you.

Fashion designers conceptualize and create prototypes for a variety of garments, including dresses, suits, sports clothing and outerwear. Accessories such as hand bags and hats also fall within the scope of fashion design. As a fashion designer, you may choose to focus on apparel for men, women or children, according to your interests and creative passions.

Job Growth and Salary Potential

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the number of job openings for fashion designers is expected to decline by 3% across the country between 2012 and 2022, as most clothing continues to be manufactured abroad. Formally trained designers with prior experience in the field and strong portfolios may have the best chance of finding a job; self-employed designers may sell their work directly to consumers through their own shops or online. In May 2013, fashion designers earned a median salary of $63,760 a year, as reported by the BLS ( Salaries for entry-level designers may be lower.

How Can I Work in Fashion, Clothing and Apparel Design?


An associate's, bachelor's or master's degree in fashion design may not only help you polish your creative talents, but also acquire the business, entrepreneurship and merchandising skills you need to succeed in the industry. In general, a fashion design program can provide you with an introduction to anatomy, basic design principles and color theory. You'll also take courses in art and fashion history, computer-aided design, pattern making, sewing and tailoring.

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