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How do you get started in fashion design?

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Rachel Joy’s Answer

the first thing to do would be to actually design something. You should try this and see if you are good at it and if you actually like it.
Start from drawing the design to to making the pattern, selecting the material and sewing it. From start to finish as this is only the creative process to start with. You are not looking for perfection, you are looking to see if you master these steps.

Once you establish your niche (what kind of designs...dresses, kids, active wear), you should then start designing on your own and sell what you make if this is possible.

If you have the opportunity to go to school to learn this craft, any professional experience is always worth it. A good way to network as well and possibly this will lead to an internship.

Do you know any local designers who may be able to mentor you? Women especially are willing to help so don't be afraid to reach out and ask.

YouTube videos, Udemy and MasterClass videos may show you some required skills as well.

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Shelly’s Answer

Vance gives a great response about several of the primary roles in fashion design. To elaborate a bit further on the business side, you will likely need a Bachelors degree in business or marketing. Some companies may also prefer an MBA for some roles. The business side of fashion will includes roles such as merchandiser, buyer, and planner and will typically have strong career paths into senior management. These roles focus on predicting and mastering customer demand, and the business model that will strike the right balance between availability and lean inventory. Most of these roles are tasked with optimizing the financial P&L. Relevant courses that are good supplements also include those that outline modern day supply chains. Another growing area for fashion design is the sourcing side. Sourcing professionals typically focus on identifying the relevant manufacturers and supply chains around the world, to produce the products at scale. They work as the immediate partner to both designers and technical teams who spec the products.

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Vance’s Answer

Fashion is an ever growing, changing, and developing industry that is only limited by one's imagination. There are many career paths in fashion design to pursue based on personal preferences and talents. Some career paths include fashion designer, pattern maker, fashion merchandiser, and fashion editor. Fashion designers are responsible for clothing line conceptualization, development, and production. Designers must possess an in-depth knowledge of foundational design principles, sewing, garment construction, and textile trends. Pattern makers specialize in pattern creation and implement 3D imaging software to assist them in pattern specifications to adhere to manufacturing limitations. Fashion merchandisers are experienced designers that move into upper-management. Once in this management position merchandiser must determine which clothing lines and accessories manufacturers should bring to market. This career requires strong planning, research, and managerial skillsets to make profitable decisions. Fashion editors are experts in publishing photographs and written content in fashion related magazines and publications. Fashion editors must possess strong interpersonal skills, print design concepts, and photography principles.

A great way to discover your preferences in fashion is to explore the areas of drawing, photography, and sewing. Depending on one's current education level there are many avenues to getting some hands on experience in these areas. Drawing is the easiest skill to practice as all it requires is a pencil/pen, some paper, and a little bit of time. There are excellent digital courses, YouTube videos, and books to teach drawing fundamentals for free. The same concept applies to practicing photography. Join a photography online forum or social media community to have more experienced photographers offer critiques and advice. Sewing may involve more financial investment upfront if you do not already possess a sewing machine. Used sewing machines are a great way to start on a budget and many community colleges or home good stores offer beginner sewing classes.

In today's job market a bachelor's degree is a minimum requirement in the fashion industry. Combining formal education and self practice will provide the information you need to discover which career path may be the right choice.