How to Become a Fashion Designer without Formal Education

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To learn how to become a fashion designer without a formal education you need perseverance and determination. It is a hard career to break into with a degree, let alone without one.

Become a Fashion Designer without Formal Education

Study. Any career field needs to be researched thoroughly. There are many design books, magazines and other trade publications available to independently study. Read everything that you can get your hands on to learn techniques, current trends and classical favorites.

Draw. When learning how to become a fashion designer without a formal education, you need to know the basics first. You should be sketching your ideas during any spare minute that you have during the day. Even if you have the next big thing in clothing design stuck in your head; it will never reach the public if you can't put it on paper.

Sew. Become the most competent sewer that you can. Practice every technique that you can find, from the most intricate stitch to the smallest detail. The less you have to outsource your work, the more seriously you will be taken. It is rare that anyone but household names can pass off all of the construction of their designs to other people and still be successful.

Prepare. Once you have the basics down, it is time to get serious. Buy some professional portfolio materials in which to store your designs. Arrange your best sketches based on a system that works for you. They could be arranged by season, color and type (such as formal wear, evening wear, casual wear and sports wear). Include samples of different fabric choices and other variations of your line.

Network. When trying to learn how to become a fashion designer without a formal education, the best way to get your name out there is by good old-fashioned footwork. Attend every fashionable event that you can. If possible, wear one of your own designs. Networking with others in the field can be done at shows and trade events. Even checking out local consignment shops and clothing stores to display some of your clothing is a start.


Look into community classes to improve your sewing or drawing skills. Only show your portfolio after you are completely satisfied with it.


Never bring your portfolio to a fashion show or event unless you are specifically instructed do so. It is unprofessional and is looked upon as desperate.. If someone wants to see more of your work based on what you are wearing or a conversation, make plans for a lunch meeting elsewhere.