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All About the Fashion Design Industry

Read what to expect when you embark upon a fashion design career.
fashion designer sketching ideas

When most people think of the fashion design industry in the U.S., they think of New York City or Los Angeles. These are the undisputed fashion capitals.

While it is not a requirement for fashion designers to live and work in these areas, those who are committed to succeeding in the business should consider that there are a higher number of jobs in the nation's fashion centers.

Fashion design is a growing field; however, the competition for jobs remains fierce. The number of fashion design careers with wholesalers and corporate offices is growing, yet many manufacturing jobs are now overseas.

Designers who are just starting out in a fashion design career should expect to hold the least glamorous positions. Even job candidates with two or four years of college education should expect to start at entry level. As you gain experience in the field, you will be able to compete for better positions.

Is Self-Employment for You?

When deciding whether to join the ranks of self-employed fashion designers or take a company job, consider the challenges and benefits of each:

  • If you do contract or freelance work, you will choose which jobs you take; however, you'll be responsible for finding your own business. You will also need to set up your own work space and maintain your own equipment. Being your own boss may mean keeping irregular hours and your wages may depend upon jobs and projects you take, and how often you work.
  • Fashion designers who work for companies generally work fairly regular hours, so if you prefer to have a more predictable schedule, this may work better for you. Keep in mind that periodically, any fashion design career may require long hours to meet deadlines—regardless of where you work. Your salary will likely be more predictable in this circumstance, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites an annual median wage of $76,700 in their 2022 Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Fashion Design Degree & Career Guide