If you wear clothes, the world of fashion design has had at least some kind of an impact on your life. Fashion designers have a major role in the making of all sorts of things that people wear. Have you ever wondered, then, what does a fashion designer do?

What Does a Fashion Designer Do?

Fashion Designer

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You probably already know that fashion designers play a significant role in how your clothes end up looking. However, it’s still easy to wonder: What does a fashion designer do?

Fashion designers actually do many things. Essentially, they oversee the creation of the product, whether it be an article of clothing or an accessory.

In some cases, fashion designers are responsible for making patterns and stitching textiles together. However, this is mostly only true at smaller firms. If a fashion designer works for a larger company, there will generally be a separate team working on these tasks.

Initial research

Fashion Trends

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The process of creating an item that you wear is probably much more involved than you think. In some cases, the entire process, from concept to final production, can take between 18 and 24 months.

The first thing a fashion designer has to do is research current trends in fashion. Using this knowledge, they make educated predictions of future trends. They can either get this information from trend reports that are published by fashion industry trade groups or conduct their own independent research.

Fashion design requires quite a bit of foresight. Designers put their sketches together based on what’s expected to be popular when the clothes are projected to hit the market, which is often fairly far into the future.

A lot of the time, especially nowadays, fashion designers use computer-aided design (CAD). Most designers still make their initial sketches by hand, but then they’ll usually enter them into the computer.

CAD is very helpful because it allows designers to see their clothes on virtual models. The designers can also see these items in different shapes and colors. That ultimately saves time because they don’t need to make as many adjustments later in the process.

Fashion designers also play a role in the selection of trims and fabrics. They do this by paying visits to manufacturers and trade shows, where they find the textiles that can be used in the final products.



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After the fashion designer has made sketches and chosen the textiles, here she needs to create a prototype of the final product. This prototype is created using materials cheaper than what will be used when the product goes to market.

Most of the time, they’ll also fit the prototype on a model. They do this in order to see what sorts of adjustments they need to make to the design. Once they’ve made the adjustments, samples of the item are put together using the materials intended.



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The fashion designer will then market these samples to clothing retailers. In many cases, this involves showing the designs at trade shows and fashion shows. The retailers at these shows will place orders for items that they like.

Fashion designers usually work with several clients. These clients can be individuals who want garments custom-made for them. Alternatively, they can be clothing or accessory companies who are trying to keep up with the latest fashions to stay in business.

What It Takes to Become a Fashion Designer

Knowing the types of education a fashion designer needs to have can help answer the question, what does a fashion designer do? Some people may think anyone with a knack for colors and styles can become a fashion designer, but this is not the case.

Required education


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Typically, a fashion designer will need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in fashion design. It will help down the road if they can combine their fashion design degree with another degree in a field such as Fashion Merchandising, Marketing, or Business. Others choose to earn degrees in fields such as Design or Graphic Design, Art History, or Visual Arts.

Aspiring fashion designers typically take a variety of courses. These include classes in color, pattern making, textiles, sewing and tailoring, CAD, fashion history, and the design of various types of clothing.

A lot of schools that offer degrees in fashion design won’t let students into a program without prior qualifications. The student needs to complete basic art and design courses. In many cases, they have to submit examples of their artistic ability, such as sample sketches.

Fashion designers who want to learn or develop these skills can do so by utilizing various opportunities. These include internships with design firms, as well as experiences working with personal stylists or custom tailors. Retail experience can help as well. The aspiring fashion designer can learn about the visual appeal of certain colors and styles, as well as valuable sales and marketing skills.

Necessary skills


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You have seen just how diverse the job duties of a fashion designer can be when getting to better understand the answer to the question: What does a fashion designer do? It makes sense, then, that they would need to have a variety of skills to be successful in this field.

In order to be a successful fashion designer, a person needs to have a good eye for the aesthetics of clothes. They need to be able to have a good sense of judgment when it comes to proportion and balance. They also need to have a knack for details when it comes to different types of clothes.

Even though CAD plays an increasingly prominent role in the field, it’s always good for fashion designers to have a well-developed artistic ability. If they can make good sketches, this is more likely to translate well in the computer. Also, a strong portfolio is a significant advantage and often the deciding factor when a fashion designer is looking for a particular job.

Fashion designers also need to be adept when it comes to sewing and pattern making. Even in cases where they don’t do these things themselves, they need to understand them, so they can give appropriate instructions to those who do these tasks.

Strong skills in sales and presentation are necessary so that the designer can successfully persuade clients to buy their designs. Excellent communication skills are imperative, as fashion designers have to deal with a variety of people (suppliers, manufacturers, buyers, and many more) to get each design to market.

To be a successful fashion designer, a person needs to have a variety of different skills. Simply having a great eye, and being able to design appealing clothes isn’t nearly enough.

Types of Fashion Designers


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There are actually a few different answers to the question: What does a fashion designer do? That is because there’s more than one type of fashion designer. To put them into broad categories, there are fashion accessory designers, shoe fashion designers, and apparel designers.

Fashion accessory designers do precisely what the name suggests — they design accessories. These include purses, scarves, and hats. These designers also create jewelry, such as bracelets, earrings, and necklaces.

Shoe fashion designers design different types of shoes and footwear. Some focus on formal footwear, while others focus more on athletic footwear. Some designers are adept when it comes to designing both.

Apparel designers are probably what springs to mind for most people when they think about fashion designers. These designers put together shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, and any other type of mainstream apparel that you can imagine. There are a few major types of apparel designers.

Haute couture designers create custom garments for individual customers, who are usually wealthy. They use the exact measurements of that client, as well as the client’s exact specifications, to put together each garment.

Prêt-a-porter fashion designers create styles that are limited in number but still focus on marketing to the masses. These clothes are still fairly expensive, so designers make an effort to put them together perfectly.

Mass market fashion designers create styles for the general population. These items are mass-produced, with no custom fitting involved. Items are sold on the open market and are what most people end up wearing (think sweatpants, most pairs of jeans, and your favorite casual T-shirts).

They Design Your Clothes so You Can Design Your Life…

It’s easy to wonder, what does a fashion designer do? Most people know that they work with clothes and have a lot to do with how the clothes look. However, you probably didn’t know everything that goes into the process.

To become a fashion designer, a person has to go through training in a variety of areas. They need to be able to not only keep up with the latest designs but also have a knack for the colors and fabrics that will look good on any given type of garment. People skills are also essential since fashion designers deal with clients quite a bit.

So what does a fashion designer do? Basically, a fashion designer takes your clothing through its entire process of production, from inspiration to finished product. This may be a job that many people take for granted, but you can only imagine how different your life would be if it weren’t for fashion designers!

What do you have to say about our answer to the question: What does a fashion designer do? Feel free to shout out in the comments section!