Earning a degree in fashion design

A recent article on Yahoo news discussed the hottest career tracks that you can pursue with a two year degree. Some of their findings are professions I have previously discussed (paralegal and dental assistant were the focus of past blogs, but I’m sure you remember those don’t you? Don’t you?) but one that was a surprise was that of Fashion Designer.

An Associate degree can help you in the fashion industry. Photo by Parker Knight

An Associate degree can help you in the fashion industry. Photo by Parker Knight

Being a fashion designer isn’t something a person just falls into. It takes creativity and passion, but if you have both of those qualities and would enjoy a job in the fashion or clothing industry, then pursuing a two year Associates degree in fashion design could be a smart idea. The United States Department of Labor lists the average yearly pay for the job at over sixty thousand dollars, which is a very good number for a job attainable with a two year degree.

What does a fashion designer do exactly? Obviously, they design and create clothing and accessories. Which is deceptively difficult to do – not only does the designer need to introduce new and aesthetically attractive designs, but they need to anticipate trends in the industry. And no design will be stand alone – it will need to be part of a “line” of clothing, inter-related garments that share similarities and work together in outfits.  To excel and succeed in this business, a designer should try and create trends instead of following them.

But that is just part of the job. Sketching designs and creating prototype garments is just a small piece of the overall job. Selecting fabrics, working with models to display the clothes at fashion shows and trade shows, and promoting the lines of clothing are also important aspects. Having computer skills is necessary, as more and more design is done on computer programs (and even the ones that are hand drawn need to be scanned or uploaded). Another facet of the job is merchandising, such an important facet, in fact, that having a degree in merchandising might be just as helpful as having the fashion design degree.

Now it must be mentioned that while the Associate degree will be very valuable in acquiring a job in the field, it is not required. Having a portfolio of designs is essential, and an internship or other kind of in-field work experience is extremely beneficial. The degree might open doors for you, but that doesn’t mean the doors are locked without the degree.

That said, the fashion industry is incredibly competitive (some would even say cut throat), and it behooves the aspiring designer to have as many weapons in their arsenal as possible. Even if the degree isn’t mandatory, it gives the holder a slight advantage they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

And remember, fashion design is a global industry. Having the skill set for this career can translate into a career not only in the United States, but anywhere in the world.

Check back tomorrow for info on on line schools and scholarships for fashion design.

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