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FASHION DESIGNER

FASHION DESIGNER

Fashion/clothing designers design clothes. Some design expensive one-off pieces. Others work in a team creating a whole range of mass-produced fashions, or specialise in particular areas such as sportswear.

Depending on their level of responsibility and the company they work for, designers may work to their own brief or be given a brief to work towards, with specifications relating to colour, fabric and budget.

To be a fashion designer, you will need to have a good eye for colour and shape. You’ll need skills like pattern cutting and sewing. You’ll also need to able to spot trends.

There are three main sectors in which a designer might work depending on his/her interests:

  • Haute couture - designers work on exclusive one-off creations that are very expensive and highly priced. They work directly with the client, organising fittings and making alterations, and the work takes a high level of skill and large amounts of time. Such garments are also finished very well, with the best of fabrics, trims and stitching.  Many couture designers also produce ready-to-wear collections that are produced in relatively small numbers.
  • Ready-to-wear (or prêt-a-porter) - designers work on garments that are sold in small numbers but often at a high price. These garments bear the designer's name.
  • Designing for High Street stores - designers develop cheaper ranges for the mass market. These garments are manufactured in large numbers and are quite often produced overseas. There is generally much less scope for creative input, as garments are made in line with strict budgets and need to be easy to produce efficiently.

The responsibilities of a designer include:

  • producing concepts
  • making sketches by hand or on computers
  • developing patterns
  • overseeing production
  • analysing trends in fabrics, colours and shapes
  • sourcing suppliers
  • selecting and buying fabrics and trims
  • adapting existing designs for mass production
  • supervising the making up of sample garments
  • quality control

Work Hours :

Designers normally work from 9am to 5pm, but they may work longer hours when preparing samples for buyers or collections for fashion shows. Fashion designers usually work in a studio or small workshop. They may attend fashion shows, prediction fairs and exhibitions, as well as visit clients. Travel is often required. A designer needs to keep his eyes are ears open and be acceptable of new ideas and know about what is trending .

Fashion/clothing designers need:

  • to be creative
  • an eye for colour, texture and pattern
  • the ability to visualise things in three dimensions
  • technical skills in areas such as pattern cutting, grading and garment construction
  • to be able to draw, either by hand or on the computer
  • good communication skills to explain their ideas clearly and persuasively
  • the ability to meet deadlines and work within a budget
  • business skills and commercial awareness, particularly if they are self-employed
  • good negotiation skills when selling their own designs
  • to keep ahead of trends in colour, fabric and style
  • strong organisational skills.

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