Fashion School and Career Guide for Students

The fashion industry is one of the most lucrative industries all over the world. And it makes perfect sense why. After all, clothes are some of the absolute necessities in everyone’s lives, and in addition to that, people can express themselves through the clothing that they wear. In other words, fashion makes it easier for people to let their artistic soul shine through, thus explaining the popularity of this industry.

Because of the industry’s popularity, it’s no wonder that a lot of people are now dreaming to become a fashion designer someday. After all, the fashion industry is creative and artistic, on top of it being lucrative. So, in the eyes of many, working there is the ultimate dream that they want to come true.

However, pursuing education and, eventually, a career in fashion design is not an easy thing to do. It can get even overwhelming at times, especially if you’re a student just starting to consider this career path. This is why this post exists. It’s here to help you in your fashion dream journey by providing you with all the information that you need to know.

Now, without any further ado, here are the things that you need to know if you’re planning on pursuing a career in fashion design.

Who Are Fashion Designers?

Simply put, fashion design is the art of applying design, aesthetics, and natural beauty to clothing and its accessories. So, with that said, fashion designers are simply those people who create original clothing and accessories based on those aforementioned elements. Aside from making their clothes aesthetically pleasing, fashion designers also aim to make them functional as well. In order to create the best clothes and accessories that they possibly can, fashion designers have to regularly conduct research on fashion trends and interpret them for their audience.

Basically, being a fashion designer takes a lot of work. So, if you ever want to become one, you need to be mindful of the ideal traits and skills that a designer should have.

So, what do you have to be if you want to become a fashion designer someday? For starters, you have to be:

  • Original and innovative
  • Enterprising
  • Dependable
  • Organized
  • Independent
  • Incredibly detail-oriented

As for the skills, these are the ones that you need to have:

  • Excellent deductive reasoning
  • Good decision-making skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Good listening abilities
  • Good coordination
  • Good judgment

Who Are Fashion Merchandisers?

Before we get on with the fashion design education and jobs, let’s first tackle another prominent profession in the industry. And that is the fashion merchandiser.

A lot of people out there show a great deal of interest in fashion. But it’s possible that not all of them will be great as designers. Perhaps, they might discover that they’re better off being a fashion merchandiser instead. But what, exactly, is the role of a fashion merchandiser?

Essentially speaking, fashion merchandising is the study of fashion trends to determine merchandising strategy for a retail store or fashion product provider. In other words, it’s a profession that demands both an intuition for fashion trends and an understanding of business management. It shares some similarities with fashion design (both of them require in-depth knowledge about trends and the business), just without the whole designing aspect.

So, you might feel like you will be better off as a fashion merchandiser than as a fashion designer. If that’s the case, you need to have these traits and skills:

  • Visually creative and enterprising
  • Physically coordinated
  • An innovative thinker
  • A good decision-maker
  • Well-organized and a good time manager
  • A good listener
  • Socially perceptive
  • A good critical thinker

Fashion Design Education

Before anyone gets a job in the fashion industry, it’s always recommended to take an education in fashion design or fashion marketing and management first. This is because there are a lot of technical aspects of the fashion industry. And you can only understand them best if you take classes that discuss them in depth.

Luckily for you, there are a lot of programs that will provide you with an education in fashion design or fashion marketing and management. There’s the certificate program which lasts a year, and there’s the associate’s degree which takes about two years. Of course, there’s the bachelor’s degree, which takes up four years of study and is the most popular choice. And if you want to continue even further in your education, you can take a master’s degree or a doctorate.

Basically, there are a lot of ways to get educated about fashion design. You just have to pick which one fits your needs right now and, of course, attend the classes to learn.

Fashion Design Course Curriculum

If you want to pursue an education in fashion design, you’re probably wondering right now what the course curriculum looks like. Of course, it’s impossible to provide you with a definitive answer since the curriculum will depend on the school you choose to go to. But it is possible to let you see how a fashion design course curriculum will possibly look like. Here are some of the classes that you might take to hone your knowledge and skill in fashion design:

Fashion Marketing and Management Course Curriculum

In a lot of ways, fashion design and fashion marketing are different, particularly in their focus. The former obviously focuses on the designing part of fashion while the latter is more on the business and marketing side. That said, both of them still share some similarities, and you can see that in the classes that you’ll take. Some of the classes in the fashion marketing and management course curriculum will be the same ones in the fashion design course. But there are others that are completely exclusive to fashion marketing. They are as follows:

  • Business law and intellectual property
  • Design trends and forecasting
  • Product development
  • Merchandise presentation
  • Marketing
  • Brand management
  • Advertising
  • Store operations
  • Digital marketing strategies
  • Merchandise buying
  • Finance
  • Inventory and stock control
  • Event planning, promotions, and public relations
  • Fashion journalism
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Consumer behaviour

Fashion Design School: Campus vs. Online


When we talk of a “fashion design” school, the first thing that we’ll think of is understandably the on-campus kind. Basically, the on-campus kind of school is your typical university or college setting, with all the classrooms, libraries, and practical rooms you can go to.

The most obvious advantage that on-campus fashion design school has is the fact that your education will be more experiential and active. You’re inside a classroom with a bunch of classmates and a teacher, so there’s a communication happening during the lessons. Plus, when you have to do practical exercises, the teacher can easily tell you if you’re doing it right or if you need to correct something. Aside from that, you’ll also have access to the technologies and the textiles and fabrics needed in fashion design since your school will have them.

In other words, an on-campus fashion school offers a hands-on, active, and experiential kind education. As a result, if you want to pursue an education in fashion, it’s highly recommended to choose this kind of school.


However, even though an on-campus fashion design school is obviously a good choice, not everyone has the opportunity to do so. If this is the case, then they should consider earning their fashion design degree online.

The biggest benefit that anyone can get from attending an online school is obviously the flexibility it offers. To begin with, you can learn anywhere, anytime, so long as you have a strong Internet connection. And it’s true that just like any kind of school, online schools will have deadlines as well. But beyond that, the schedule is entirely up to you. You can start your classes in the morning, or you can have them at night — whichever you prefer.

In addition to the flexibility in terms of time, you can also learn at your own pace. When it comes to on-campus schools, there’s this pressure of having to catch up with everyone because there’s a fixed schedule. This is bad news for some people because some people don’t learn that fast.

They need more time to let the lessons sink in so that they will fully understand everything. Providing more time is not something that on-campus schools can really do, but online schools definitely do. With online schools, you can download the classes either in written or video format, and you can watch or read them as many times as you need to fully grasp the lesson. The pressure has now been lifted off your shoulders.

You can also easily interact with your classmates and teachers. Sure, it’s not the same as with the classroom setting, but with an online school, you can simply email, message, or video-call your classmates or teachers if you need to. In a way, this is an advantage because you can reach out to anyone important easily without having to worry about finding time to meet them face-to-face.

But despite all the good things that online fashion design schools have to offer, there is one glaring disadvantage. And that is the fact that you won’t be able to have access to the technologies and the textiles and fabrics as well as the hands-on practical exercises that on-campus schools provide.

Having access to textiles and fabrics and the hands-on practical exercises is important because that is what fashion design all about. And since you won’t be able to have that in an online school, you need to find a way to compensate for it. This means that you have to provide for your own technologies, textiles, and fabrics. You might also need to ask help from a fashion designer you know to supervise you in any of the practical exercises. Basically, you have to do anything you can to make up for the lack of access.

To cut a long story short, you can either attend a traditional, on-campus school or an online one if you want to pursue an education in fashion design. They both have their own pros and cons, and honestly, you’re going to learn practically the same things anyway. So, at the end of the day, it won’t really matter if you chose to go to an on-campus school or an online one. You just have to figure out for yourself which of the two works best for you.

After School: Working as a Fashion Designer

About the Job

So, you’ve finished your education in fashion design. What now? Well, now you have to go and look for a job.

As was mentioned earlier, fashion designers make original clothing and accessories based on aesthetics, trends, and functionality. But that’s simply one of their many tasks as well as their biggest. But beyond that, they have other tasks that they need to do as well. Some of them are as follows:

  • Attending national and international fashion and trade shows
  • Researching and predicting fashion industry trends
  • Staying current on contemporary styles
  • Putting together a cohesive collection theme
  • Creating sketches and samples
  • Choosing sketches and samples
  • Choosing fabrics and colours
  • Using computer-aided design programs (CAD) to produce designs
  • Doing fittings and making alterations
  • Pricing and marketing products
  • Working with creative directors, models, tailors, patternmakers, and clients
  • Performing business administration

Essential Skills for a Fashion Designer Job

Since you can see that a fashion designer job entails a lot of tasks, it’s understandable that it would need a lot of skills as well. These are the essential skills that you will need for a fashion designer job:

  • Creativity and Style. The fashion industry is ever-changing. As a result, fashion designers need to be able to constantly draw inspiration from past trends as well as see new possibilities for future designs. They need to be able to stretch their creativity and style into innovations.
  • Knowledge of Fashion History. This is a no-brainer. Of course, fashion designers must be up-to-date at all times regarding the industry. Trends, styles, movements — they need to know them all to be one step ahead in the future.
  • Business Know-How. Artistic vision isn’t enough to make a fashion designer successful. They must also know all about the ins and outs of the business. In other words, they need to be a savvy businessman on top of being an artist.
  • Ability to Perform Under Pressure. So much pressure goes to fashion designers, and as a result, the job isn’t for the faint of the heart. So, if you want to be a fashion designer, you need to be ready to work in a team and to work in high-pressure environments. You also need to be able to handle criticism well. Basically, you just need to be able to work under pressure.
  • Fashion Designer Salaries

    Factors That Affect the Salary

    The fashion industry may be a multi-billion dollar industry right now, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to pinpoint the exact salary of designers. After all, there are a lot of factors that can influence fashion designer salaries. The following are the most common ones:

    • The company you work for: Are you working for a big-time fashion company? Or are you working in a startup? The prominence of the company you’re working for may affect how much you will get paid.
    • The amount of experience you have: Have you been in the fashion industry for years now? You’re definitely receiving more for your salary. If you’re still relatively new, then you might not get as big as a salary as a senior employee does.
    • The education level that you’ve achieved: If you’ve studied college in a fashion design school, chances are you’ll also get a bigger salary.
    • The location where you live: Cities usually have a high-cost living, and so, the companies there will usually give out bigger salaries.
    • The length of your contract or how long you plan to stay in a position: A contract may only give you a fixed salary. But if you work full-time, there is a higher chance of salary growth.

    An Estimation of How Much Fashion Designers Are Getting Paid

    Even though it’s literally impossible to pinpoint the exact salaries that designers get paid, we can at least make an estimation. The following are the possible salaries that fashion designers might get:

    Fashion Industry Career

    Median Annual Salary

    Fashion Designer


    Merchandise Displayer


    Marketing Manager


    Related article: Which Is Better: Fashion Design or Fashion Technology?



    The fashion industry is constantly on the rise. As a result, more and more people have dreamt of becoming a fashion designer themselves in the future. After all, why not? The industry proves to be a lucrative business, and plus, it allows people to get as creative as they want to. In other words, for some people, working as a fashion designer is a big dream come true!

    But of course, trying to figure out how to carve your own career path as a fashion designer is pretty tough. It’s even tougher if you’ve just discovered your passion for fashion design and you don’t know how to begin — or where to begin. There are just so many things to keep in mind. What school should you go to? Where should you apply for a job someday? How much will you get paid? There are so many questions, and answering them gets really overwhelming really fast.

    That is why this post exists. It’s here to lift at least a little bit of burden off your shoulders. You get to learn a few things about the industry, what the fashion designer job entails, and how much you might get paid. In other words, this post acts as your guide. It gives you information so that you’ll be able to make good decisions in the future.

    So, read this post thoroughly, and begin your fashion designer journey today.