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If you have an interest in fashion, you might aspire to a career in fashion design. Fashion designers create original clothing, accessories and footwear by sketching designs, choosing fabrics and patterns, and providing instructions on how to make products. Although a college education is not required for a career in fashion design, many earn degrees. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits approximately 300 schools with art and design programs, most of which have similar educational requirements.
Fashion Design Courses
To earn a degree in fashion design, students must take several courses within the fashion design realm. These courses teach students how to make fabric patterns, how to construct garments, the role and importance of color in design and how to merchandise clothes. Students also may be required to take classes on fashion modeling, the history of fashion, how to produce a fashion show, how to market products, and how to create a design portfolio. Some courses teach the fundamentals of fashion design, and universities may require advanced courses in areas crucial to a successful career in fashion design.
A career in fashion design usually requires you to have artistic skills. Fashion designers must take classes in drawing and in multimedia arts, including textiles. Drawing courses teach students how to create fashion illustrations. A university fashion design program typically features multiple courses in drawing, including figure drawing and industry-specific drawing courses. Drexel University’s education requirements include basic and advanced drawing courses. Universities also require students to take art classes in other areas, such as photography and painting.
Computer Course Requirements
To work as a fashion designer, you need to know how to make use of technology. Universities require fashion design majors to take multiple computer classes, including one or more courses in computer-aided design. These CAD classes teach students how to create clothing designs and patterns. Students also take classes that teach them how to use software such as Photoshop and Illustrator to create digital illustrations, fashion catalogs, portfolios and other multimedia.
General Education Requirements
Universities require fashion design students to complete coursework in general education classes. Most schools require a heavy dose of liberal arts coursework. At Drexel University, fashion design students must take courses in expository, persuasive and analytical writing, a math class specific to design, two physical science classes, two art history classes and electives in the arts and humanities and social sciences. Some schools also require economics business courses, particularly those related to marketing, sales and management.
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.
- Columbus College of Art and Design: Degree Requirements
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Fashion Designers: How to Become a Fashion Designer
- Drexel University: Fashion Design Degree Requirements
- Marymount University: Fashion Design: Program Requirements
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Fashion Designers
- Career Trend: Fashion Designers
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