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Creative people who love clothes and designing products from their own personal visions are drawn to the fashion industry. For those interested in breaking into the fashion industry, a high school diploma and experience may be all that is required. Much of the industry is learned hands-on but don't be surprised if a degree is appreciated too. While it's an exciting career, it also produces significant physical demands because of the interaction with materials and potentially long hours.
Fashion designers have a near-constant involvement with the business side of clothes -- this means having others try on clothing, sorting them and hanging them. Many of these activities require a designer to stand, bend and stoop for significant periods of time. The potential of traveling to either coasts where the fashion hubs are located, or oversees to visit manufacturers, also requires considerable stamina. A general energetic nature is a good physical attribute for a fashion designer.
The fashion industry entails a considerable amount of sewing activities on the part of everyone involved. While there are actual seamstresses for bigger jobs, a fashion designer is not a stranger to a pair of scissors or a sewing machine. Quick ideas take shape faster when a designer handles the alterations herself. Therefore, a level of dexterity comes in handy for a fashion designer.
A fashion designer's job has an element of repetition to it. Drawings may need to be handmade and changed several times. A fashion show may require the same clothing item be repeated several times. Even the act of sewing itself can require the identical stitch be made hundreds of times. A fashion designer has a better chance of excelling if she gets used to activities that require considerable repetition.
Communication of various forms involves a level of physicality. A typical fashion designer is in frequent contact with manufacturers, co-workers and possibly the press. While it may seem benign, frequent interaction with others can be tiring if there is little off-time. Designers also likely communicate by email and texting on a regular basis. Without voice recognition software, these modes of correspondence require a consistent use of a designer's hands.
2016 Salary Information for Fashion Designers
Fashion designers earned a median annual salary of $65,170 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, fashion designers earned a 25th percentile salary of $46,020, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $92,550, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 23,800 people were employed in the U.S. as fashion designers.
Based in the Midwest, Gina Scott has been writing professionally since 2008. She has worked in real estate since 2004 and has expertise in pop culture and health-related topics. She has also self-published a book on how to overcome chronic health conditions. Scott holds a Master of Arts in higher-education administration from Ball State University.
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