What Skills Do I Need to Become a Fashion Designer?

By Brenda on June 20th, 2011



The fashion industry has become a major economic force in the country at the tune of over 25 billion dollars annually. The allure of high fashion and creativity continues to draw the interest of people looking to begin a career in the fashion industry. The fashion business is constantly evolving as new trends emerge. What may be popular one day may be totally out the next, and it takes a skilled individual to stay on top of what is going on in such as fast paced field.

Not only must fashion designers keep up with clothing trends, they also need to know what is happening in the world of fashion accessories. Items such as hats, belts, scarves, handbags, costumes, jewelry, uniforms, and children’s clothes are all sub-industries that have their own styles and trends. So what types of skills are needed to become a successful fashion designer?


Passion is probably the number one ingredient it takes to become a successful fashion designer. Most of the entry level jobs are not the most glamorous and pay fairly low. Despite what people see on television, the fashion industry isn’t all about red carpets and runways. The allure of the industry attracts a lot of people, which means there is a lot of competition out there for jobs. Only those who have a passion for fashion will make it through the lean times and have the commitment to stick it out.


The main purpose of any fashion designer is to create apparel and accessories that will sell. No fashion designer will make it without some creative skill and talent. The fashion industry is in constant flux and consumers are becoming more discriminate when it comes to clothes. The successful fashion designer will need to be able to create clothing that appeals to large groups, but also makes people feel they are original. That is a very difficult line to tread, and cannot be something that is learned through a textbook. Fashion designers need to be able to put a fresh twist on current styles and have a feel for where the trends are going next.

High energy/perform under pressure

Fashion designers need to be high energy positive people with the ability to perform under pressure. Many times projects can come down to the wire. The process of bringing new apparel to market can take up to two years and every wasted second can be costly. Clients are anxious to get their apparel on the shelves and expect fashion designers to get the work done in a timely manner.


Fashion designers must be flexible and willing to work long hours or change assignments at any given time. Travel is also a part of the profession as designers spend ample amounts of time visiting various industry trade shows looking for business partnerships and ideas. People who like methodical and mundane job environments may wish to consider other options.


Artistic skills like those listed above are usually learned while the aspiring fashion designer is in school. Fashion colleges and schools teach students how to properly illustrate, sketch, and sew their designs. It is common for students to work on creating fashion pieces that they can add to their portfolio. The fashion portfolio is then used to show potential employers and clients.

Business acumen

The fashion industry is very competitive. Designers that understand the ins and outs of the fashion business have a leg up on the professionals who rely on just their artistic ability. Many fashion schools incorporate fashion business courses to teach students marketing, management, and communication principles.



Category: Associates Degrees,Careers and Employment,Online Degrees,Other and General