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Career Profile: Fashion Designers

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

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 27,800 people employed as fashion designers in the United States. The median annual salary is $75,800. Entry level employees earn approximately $38,570 per year and senior employees earn approximately $146,300 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Adapt other designers' ideas for the mass market.
  • Purchase new or used clothing and accessory items as needed to complete designs.
  • Visit textile showrooms to keep up-to-date on the latest fabrics.
  • Collaborate with other designers to coordinate special products and designs.
  • Design custom clothing and accessories for individuals, retailers, or theatrical, television, or film productions.
  • Determine prices for styles.
  • Draw patterns for articles designed, cut patterns, and cut material according to patterns, using measuring instruments and scissors.
  • Develop a group of products or accessories, and market them through venues such as boutiques or mail-order catalogs.
  • Read scripts and consult directors and other production staff to develop design concepts and plan productions.
  • Test fabrics or oversee testing so that garment care labels can be created.
  • Sew together sections of material to form mockups or samples of garments or articles, using sewing equipment.
  • Research the styles and periods of clothing needed for film or theatrical productions.
  • Direct and coordinate workers involved in drawing and cutting patterns and constructing samples or finished garments.
  • Examine sample garments on and off models, modifying designs to achieve desired effects.
  • Sketch rough and detailed drawings of apparel or accessories, and write specifications such as color schemes, construction, material types, and accessory requirements.
  • Confer with sales and management executives or with clients to discuss design ideas.
  • Identify target markets for designs, looking at factors such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status.
  • 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.
  • Provide sample garments to agents and sales representatives, and arrange for showings of sample garments at sales meetings or fashion shows.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
27,800
Annual Openings:
2,500
Increase in Openings by 2030:
1%
Annual Salary Range:
$38,570 - $146,300
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree