Fashion Designer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Fashion Designer, or Apparel Designer, creates various clothing products, along with shoes and accessories to match current trends and styles. Their main duties include managing the entire design process from start to finish, making edits to current clothing and accessory lines and choosing fabrics and trims for upcoming designs and product lines.

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Fashion Designer Duties and Responsibilities

A capable Fashion Designer should understand the principles of design. In addition, they should be able to apply this knowledge to creating aesthetically pleasing and functional pieces. A Fashion Designer will work closely with a design team. This will enable them to excel at their duties, which include the following:

  • Researching current fashion trends and determining what consumers will like
  • Collaborating with the design team to develop ideas for new products based on research data
  • Designing sketches for new products with a design team
  • Creating clothing patterns for mass production
  • Testing and deciding on fabrics, colors, patterns and textures for each design
  • Overseeing the production of designs, including carrying out fittings, determining prices and managing marketing
  • Maintaining relationships with vendors, suppliers and models
  • Communicating technical design information for customer samples
  • Working with team members to design clothes for upcoming seasons
  • Selecting fabrics and trims
  • Creating tech packs with detailed specifications
  • Developing CAD sketches to present to stakeholders
  • Overseeing the prototype sample process
  • Working with the design team to create mood boards
  • Creating cost sheets and product lists

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Fashion Designer Job Description Examples

What Does a Fashion Designer Do?

Fashion Designers work either independently or directly for an apparel company, creating various clothing and accessory designs that appeal to consumers. They often sketch their designs, then select patterns and fabrics that best complement the designs.

Many Fashion Designers travel to trade shows to gather the fabric and material needed to design their new fashion pieces. They’ll also collaborate with other designers to create prototypes of their ideas. Fashion Designers often present their design ideas to Creative Directors and may also be asked to demonstrate their designs at fashion shows.

Fashion Designer Skills and Qualifications

To show that they can create amazing designs which will appeal to a target audience, a successful Fashion Designer applicant should possess the following skills and qualifications:

  • Superior knowledge of fashion design principles
  • Excellent creativity with a good sense of fashion and style
  • In-depth knowledge of garment technology
  • Ability to create, cut and sew-up patterns
  • Proficiency in computer-aided fashion design applications and digital visualization tools
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Strong time-management skills
  • Excellent attention to detail

Fashion Designer Salary Expectations

The average salary for Fashion Designers is $16.02 an hour. However, Senior Fashion Designers can make much higher than the average salary, especially in consulting roles at more lucrative organizations.

Fashion Designer Education and Training Requirements

It’s not a strict requirement that Fashion Designers have higher education, but an associate or bachelor’s degree is recommended. Education in fashion design, fashion technology, textiles and fabric design or related fields is common. In addition, some training in business management is necessary for Senior Fashion Designers. Hence, a master’s degree in business administration, retail fundamentals or related areas is a bonus.

Fashion Designer Experience Requirements

A qualified Fashion Designer should have a minimum of two years of experience working in the fashion industry. Volunteer experience at fashion shows and festivals is also acceptable. Candidates should be familiar with fashion trends in the industry and possess the versatility to come up with product ideas based on those trends. A Fashion Designer should be comfortable creating patterns and sketches and working with different fabric types. Proven experience designing with software tools may also be required. A highly qualified candidate may also have worked in large teams and produced designs that went on to become top-selling products.

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Frequently asked questions about Fashion Designers


What are the different types of Fashion Designers?

Some Fashion Designers may work in larger apparel companies creating an abundance of different designs, while others may specialize in a certain type of clothing or accessory. Clothing Designers work primarily on apparel for men, women and children. They create many different styles for this audience, including casual wear, sportswear, suits and maternity clothes. Accessory Designers create various types of accessories like suitcases, scarves, handbags and belts. 

Footwear Designers make a wide variety of shoes and boots. Many of them experiment with different materials, working to create shoes that are both comfortable and stylish for customers. 


Who do Fashion Designers report to?

Fashion Designers work primarily in larger apparel companies, where they report to a Creative Director, who provides their input on the apparels’ design elements. The Creative Director typically establishes the company’s design goals for upcoming products and the Fashion Designer comes up with ideas that match these goals. 

They’ll present these ideas to the Creative Director, who then provides feedback and edits to help the design better appeal to consumers. Fashion Designers typically go to the Creative Director for any additional details or questions about an upcoming project or feedback given to them.


What makes a good Fashion Designer?

Great Fashion Designers are passionate about clothing and accessories and are talented at spotting trends. Strong technology skills and software knowledge are also important for Fashion Designers to have as they regularly use design programs to create new apparel ideas. 

They should also have impressive creativity and artistic abilities to help them regularly brainstorm unique fashion designs and transform an idea into a visually appealing final product. Effective attention to detail is needed as well to identify subtle differences in various textures and fabrics. 


What's the difference between a Fashion Designer and a Costume Designer?

While they both design fashion pieces for individuals to wear, Fashion Designers and Costume Designers both hold different responsibilities. Fashion Designers create clothing and accessory designs usually for commercial use, but may work in an abundance of different industries. Most Fashion Designers create pieces to be worn by the general public. 

A Costume Designer is typically a type of Fashion Designer who focuses solely on designing outfits for Actors and other people in the performing arts. They can design costumes for Actors performing in television, film or theater productions. 

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