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Career profile Fashion Designer

Also known as Apparel Fashion Designer, Clothing Designer, Costume Designer, Dance Costume Designer, Designer, Fashion Designer, Historic Clothing and Costume Maker, Latex Fashions Designer, Product Developer

Fashion Designer

Also known as Apparel Fashion Designer, Clothing Designer, Costume Designer

Interests Profile
  • Artistic
  • Enterprising
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$38,570 - $146,300 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Design
  • Production and Processing
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Direct and coordinate workers involved in drawing and cutting patterns and constructing samples or finished garments.
  • Examine sample garments on and off models, modifying designs to achieve desired effects.
  • Sketch rough and detailed drawings of apparel or accessories, and write specifications such as color schemes, construction, material types, and accessory requirements.
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What does a Fashion Designer do?

Fashion Designers design clothing and accessories.

In addition, Fashion Designers create original designs or adapt fashion trends.

What kind of tasks does a Fashion Designer perform regularly?

Fashion Designers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Direct and coordinate workers involved in drawing and cutting patterns and constructing samples or finished garments.
  • Examine sample garments on and off models, modifying designs to achieve desired effects.
  • Sketch rough and detailed drawings of apparel or accessories, and write specifications such as color schemes, construction, material types, and accessory requirements.
  • Confer with sales and management executives or with clients to discuss design ideas.
  • Identify target markets for designs, looking at factors such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status.
  • Attend fashion shows and review garment magazines and manuals to gather information about fashion trends and consumer preferences.
  • Select materials and production techniques to be used for products.
  • Provide sample garments to agents and sales representatives, and arrange for showings of sample garments at sales meetings or fashion shows.
  • Adapt other designers' ideas for the mass market.
  • Purchase new or used clothing and accessory items as needed to complete designs.
  • Collaborate with other designers to coordinate special products and designs.
  • Visit textile showrooms to keep up-to-date on the latest fabrics.

The above responsibilities are specific to Fashion Designers. More generally, Fashion Designers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People
Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

What is a Fashion Designer salary?

The median salary for a Fashion Designer is $75,810, and the average salary is $87,210. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Fashion Designer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Fashion Designers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Fashion Designers earn less than $38,570 per year, 25% earn less than $54,470, 75% earn less than $101,700, and 90% earn less than $146,300.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Fashion Designers is expected to change by 0.7%, and there should be roughly 2,500 open positions for Fashion Designers every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$38,570 - $146,300
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Fashion Designers?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Fashion Designer are usually higher in their Artistic, Enterprising, and Realistic interests.

Fashion Designers typically have very strong Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Also, Fashion Designers typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Lastly, Fashion Designers typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Fashion Designer tend to value Achievement, Working Conditions, and Independence.

Most importantly, Fashion Designers strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Fashion Designers strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Fashion Designers strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Fashion Designers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, innovation, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Fashion Designers, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

What education and training do Fashion Designers need?

Fashion Designers often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Fashion Designers usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Fashion Designers

  • 2.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 7.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 12.5% completed some college coursework
  • 13.8% earned a Associate's degree
  • 54.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 7.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.4% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Fashion Designers

Fashion Designers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as design, production and processing, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Fashion Designers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Fashion Designers

Fashion Designers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Fashion Designers need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and originality in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Fashion Designers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Fluency of Ideas
The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).

Critical Skills needed by Fashion Designers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Fashion Designers frequently use skills like active listening, critical thinking, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Fashion Designers, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Learning
Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.