Being a designer in the Fashion Industry is not all drawing all day, making pretty pictures. First of all, you need to design items that SELL otherwise you will just end up with allot of pretty pictures for your portfolio. One key factor is RESEARCHING where the voids are in the marketplace. This is called Merchandising, then you need to work with the merchandising people to find out what PRICE POINTS you need to hit.
Then you need to find out what tje world markets are doing. I did this by making "scouting trips" at least three times per year, starting in Rome, then working my way northward to Milan, Paris, Zurich, Cologne, London, & Amsterdam. I attended all of the Fashion Shows, and took hundreds of photos, and bought around $10,000 of sample shoes from retail stores in each country/city. Then armed with this information, I could finally sit down and begin to DRAW !
Being careful to choose materials that would "fit in" to the price points I needed to hit in each category. Also, the designer needs to make sure that tje product can actually be manufactured.
Sometimes you may be required to add seams, for example, where you do not want them. But it is a game of give and take.
Above all else, you need to LOVE what you do, otherwise, it is just allot of very hard work and long hours. I hope that this gives you some insight for what a design job really entails. For me....it was the best time of my life!
Good luck to you!
D.R. recommends the following next steps:
The industry is changing so some companies are outsourcing designers at the factory source. A designer in America could pay for five designers in India. Engineering and programming are in the same dilemma.
Within USA merchandising and linebuilding are better career growth versus a designer IMO.
Designers work very hard. The office hours are long and constant communication with the factory can run into your off time. If your still a student and haven't chosen a university I recommend chatting with the seniors and see what their plans are before deciding where to go.
I worked in the fashion industry for 10 years before transitioning into product design. Fashion has its exciting perks if you're lucky enough to find a job, but it is a difficult field. I felt very exploited. You definitely do it out of love of fashion and not for the money or lifestyle.
After 5 years working in product design, I'm making 3x the money I ever made in fashion (with half the years of experience). I have just as much passion and creativity in this field as I did in fashion. If I could do it all over, I'd go straight into UX/Product design.