How To Launch Your Career In Fashion Design
If you love fashion, you may have aspirations to become a fashion designer. You could try to start your own label although an easier way in to the industry could be through working as a designer for an established label as part of a team.
The best foundation for a fashion design career is through a fine arts degree in fashion at a prestigious school. This will not only teach you the craft but will give credibility to your resume. The fashion business is all about brand and having the name of a really good school behind you makes a world of difference to your prospects.
The really good schools can be hard to get into and there is a lot of competition. To apply you must submit a portfolio containing drawings of your designs. The school cannot teach your how to be creative but it can develop the natural talent you have, hence the need for a portfolio. Get some experience in sketching by taking art classes which will help you understand form and proportion. You don’t have to be a fabulous artist, but it helps if you are proficient. If you really can’t produce decent quality sketches, put your designs onto a mannequin and photograph it – this will do just as well.
Most fashion study programs are three to four years long. You will study fine arts including drawing, colour composition and form. Pattern making is also covered together with draping and cutting techniques. Design schools work closely with the industry and successful designers work directly with graduating students. It’s possible to win awards and grants which bring financial support and generate all-important publicity. There is an end of term fashion show at which students show their collections and this is attended by representatives from many of the major fashion houses on the look-out for talent.
If you don’t really want to be a topflight designer and are happy just to work in the industry as a seamstress or patternmaker, the best route in is to try for an internship at a fashion house and just work your way up. Send your portfolio to a fashion house you are interested in joining but call them first to find out exactly what they require. Competition is fierce and unless you have personal connections or a good educational background, it can be difficult to get an internship.
Whilst it’s important to be creative as a designer, you must also have some business acumen. Fashion is very much corporate driven so you need to understand the business climate and how it works and the various trade papers are a good source of information for this. Many fashion schools are now adding business classes to their curriculum and if you want to run your own business, you’ll need to well organised with a good knowledge of economics and marketing at the very least.
About Alison Page
Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at http://www.theladywriter.co.uk