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Fashion Designers
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Description: what do they do?
Design clothing and accessories. Create original designs or adapt fashion trends.
Also known as:
Apparel Fashion Designer, Clothing Designer, Costume Designer, Dance Costume Designer, Designer, Fashion Designer, Historic Clothing and Costume Maker, Latex Fashions Designer, Product Developer

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
    Transcript: Do you love clothes, and sketching outfits from your own imagination? Fashion designers get the chance to make their ideas a reality in this competitive industry. Fashion designers create designs for garments and accessories using pencil and paper or computer-aided design. They start by making a detailed pattern, then cut it into fabric or other materials to construct a sample of their design. These professionals travel to trade shows, manufacturers, and fashion shows to stay on top of changing trends and find new materials. From an initial sketch to the first version of the garment, the designer can expect long hours, hectic deadlines, and clients who are perfectionists. Fashion designers are almost as likely to be self-employed as they are to work for large brands and labels. They often consult with executives and a sales team to choose a theme for their seasonal lineup. The fortunate—and talented—few, ultimately win their own label, catering to individual clients or stores. Most aspiring designers obtain a college or trade school education in fashion design. A portfolio (a collection of designs and completed projects) is required to apply for most positions. Making a name for yourself as a fashion designer is difficult, but the thought of fame waiting at the end of the show, is a great motivator.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Please note that this does not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different outlooks due to the rapidly changing economy. When new outlook information is developed, it will be reflected here.

    Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings". This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET Bright Outlook occupations and My Next Move career outlook designations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Pennsylvania
N/A
2018 Employment
N/A
2028 Employment
N/A
Percent change
N/A
Annual projected job openings
United States
27,800
2020 Employment
28,000
2030 Employment
1%
Percent change
2,500
Annual projected job openings
N/A: We do not have employment projections in this state for this occupation.

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2018 (for states) or 2020 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2028 (for states) or 2030 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and State Labor Market Information offices, 2018-28.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2020-30.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Fashion Designers in Pennsylvania
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationPennsylvaniaUnited States
10%$28,400$38,570
25%$32,880$54,470
Median$42,330$75,810
75%$71,590$101,700
90%$81,020$146,300


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Program, May 2020 survey. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Bachelor's degree
  • No work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:
Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2018-19.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Coordinate design activities.
  • Develop artistic or design concepts for decoration, exhibition, or commercial purposes.
  • Draw detailed or technical illustrations.
  • Write informational material.
  • Collaborate with others to develop or refine designs.
  • Monitor current trends.
  • Conduct market research.
  • Select materials or props.
  • Promote products, activities, or organizations.
  • Build models, patterns, or templates.
  • Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
  • Study scripts to determine project requirements.
  • Conduct research to inform art, designs, or other work.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.
  • Management of Personnel Resources - Selecting and managing the best workers for a job.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Persuasion - Talking people into changing their minds or their behavior.
  • Negotiation - Bringing people together to solve differences.
  • Service Orientation - Looking for ways to help people.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Instructing - Teaching people how to do something.
  • Operations Analysis - Figuring out what a product or service needs to be able to do.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Originality - Creating new and original ideas.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Fluency of Ideas - Coming up with lots of ideas.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Visualization - Imagining how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - Noticing the difference between colors, including shades and brightness.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Enterprising - Occupations with Enterprising interests frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. Many involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Artistic - Occupations with Artistic interests frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and allow for developing unique approaches to conducting the work.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • 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.
  • Attend fashion shows and review garment magazines and manuals to gather information about fashion trends and consumer preferences.
  • Identify target markets for designs, looking at factors such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status.
  • 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.
  • Design custom clothing and accessories for individuals, retailers, or theatrical, television, or film productions.
  • Adapt other designers' ideas for the mass market.
  • Draw patterns for articles designed, cut patterns, and cut material according to patterns, using measuring instruments and scissors.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.