Clothing that flatters the wearer can improve self-esteem, and many consumers simply enjoy keeping up to date on the latest clothing trends. However, some fashionistas are able to use their fashion savvy to make a living. These fabric stylists utilize their fashion sense to help clothing companies bring clothes to the market that consumers will love.
Fabric stylists work in the fashion and design industry. These stylists try to keep up to date on the latest trends to predict which clothes will become popular. With this knowledge in mind, the fabric stylist acts as a consultant, helping other designers choose appropriate colors and patterns, according to Creative Art Schools. They also must keep in mind the budgets of the customers who normally shop with them and must choose appropriate fabrics based on this information.
The environment of a fabric stylist is usually comfortable and relaxing, with the hope that a relaxing environment can spur creativity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fabric stylists can work long hours and can sometimes be on call when unexpected problems arise, since there are often strict production deadlines. Fabric stylists must also travel frequently, since they must go to fashion shows that are sometimes international.
Courses offered at universities that can help fabric stylists include textile production, textile economics, drawing, art, fashion history, marketing, sales, advertising, business management and computers. Effective fabric stylists have both a fashion sense and a firm grasp on finances, according to Creative Art Schools. They must also be creative. They must also be able to communicate well, since many fashion ideas can be difficult to explain.
The need for fabric stylists and other fashion designers is expected to grow 1 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth will be driven by middle-class consumers wanting more stylish clothes at affordable prices. The textile industry is declining rapidly in the United States, but fashion designers are not likely to be outsourced, since clothing companies have a tendency to keep fashion designers in-house. However, increasing overseas competition from other growing textile industries overseas might reduce the need for fabric stylists somewhat.
In 2008, the median earnings for fashion designers was $61,160, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest 10 percent earned more than $124,780, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,150. Many fashion designers are able to move into positions of upper management in clothing enterprises, which pay the highest salaries in the fashion design industry. Fashion designers who work for specialized stores often earn less.