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Difference Between a Fashion Designer and a Clothing Designer

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The fashion industry incorporates an enormous variety of career paths and specialties to focus on. Most of the individuals who pursue a glamorous job in this field begin as fashion designers, learning the ropes and gaining experience creating apparel, accessories and footwear. Some designers find themselves more skilled in and passionate about clothing in particular and decide to solely focus their efforts on developing apparel. By contrast, the two careers are hardly different at all.

Fashion Designers

Designing in this industry requires constantly studying fashion trends and developing ideas and products that consumers will find appealing in the near future. Fashion designers select the theme of collections and closely work with their team members or other designers to create a prototype for each design.

Clothing Designers

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, clothing designers are responsible for creating and sometimes helping to produce apparel for women, men and children. Designers usually make clothing for multiple purposes, including casual or evening wear, outerwear, swimwear, sportswear, intimate and maternity. Some experienced designers may have a single area of interest, such as a focus on outwear and sportswear.

One Major Difference

The biggest difference in these career options is the primary job duty. Fashion designers coordinate products to enhance a particular theme, from the outfit to the shoes to the accompanying accessories. Clothing designers may follow a theme as well, but their creations are only clothing options. Additionally, some clothing designers work more independently than fashion designers, who are constantly surrounded by team members and associates.

Identical Positions

Both positions require individuals to sketch or use CAD programs to create potential designs. Designers typically visit shows to find new fabric samples and select colors or additional embellishments. Once the line of products is prepared, designers attend trade or fashions shows to showcase their designs. They may market their products directly to customers or retail stores. Production is also usually overseen by the designer himself.

Choosing Between the Two

Some people understand varying body types and can use a garment to make one outfit into three. Others can take a single outfit and using multiple accessories, envision one look into four. Those who yearn to create the core of a look should set their sites on clothing design. Individuals with a talent for dressing up or perfecting an appearance should stick with fashion design.

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.