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Tips for a Fashion Design Career

A successful career takes work. Get yours off to the right start.

Become an Attractive Candidate

A fashion designer compares designs in her studio

Starting a fashion design career takes hard work and persistence.

If you're confident that you have what it takes to make it in the fashion world, set realistic expectations for your success.

When you're starting out in your fashion design career, expect to pay your dues in an entry-level position before you can work up to the job you really want.

Make yourself as employable as possible. Put together a creative, appealing portfolio, and gain fashion design industry experience wherever you can.

Don't be afraid to start small. Think about the big picture, but start with an attainable goal. Be creative.

Your Fashion Design Portfolio

When preparing for a fashion design career, it's never too early to start showcasing your best work. Whether you're applying to fashion design schools or looking for jobs, your portfolio can help you get your foot in the door. Here's what you can do to make sure your portfolio is perfect:

  • When applying to schools, research each school's portfolio guidelines so that you'll know what admissions officers are looking for
  • When you're ready to find a fashion design job, you can choose what you include and how you present it
  • Whatever your purpose, your portfolio should demonstrate your fashion design ability and creativity
  • It's important for you to demonstrate your versatility; sketching ability, color and textile knowledge, problem solving skills and design development
  • Above all your portfolio should express your unique style and fashion design experience

Apprenticeships and Internships

Getting industry experience is an important step in starting your fashion design career. Apprenticeships and internships have the double advantage of building your résumé while giving you the opportunity to learn from an experienced fashion designer:

  • Although internships may not add much if anything to your bank account, the opportunity to observe and learn from someone with a successful fashion design career can be worth the lean times.
  • There is a lot of competition in the industry, so having an inside track with someone in the business can give you a boost over other applicants. If you're a student, your professors or school career center may have industry connections and a willingness to help.

Take stock of the resources available to you and use them. Contact fashion houses or companies and find out what they need. Then you can polish your portfolio accordingly.

Getting the Fashion Design Career You Want

Your portfolio and work experience can only take you so far. Perseverance is essential. If a fashion design career is what you want, keep focused and don't get discouraged. Your determination can pay off.

Fashion Design Degree & Career Guide