What It Takes to Be a Fashion Designer

Being in the design industry for so long, I often get asked how one goes about getting into this career and what kind of qualities it takes to actually become a fashion designer. To me… Being a fashion designer is much like being an artist. In fact, I think fashion design in most ways really is an artform. One of the most important qualities that you have to have is to be both artistic and creative.

You’re artistic capabilities come into play every day. You’ll be making sketches and illustrations of your designs so you will need to have some fundamental art skills. No, you don’t have to be a picaso but you will need to know the basic principles of how to combine colors and how to manipulate tones and shades. You’ll also frequently be working with different textiles and fabrics and will need to be able to use and manipulate these in a creative way.

On top of this, the world of fashion changes very frequently. What’s hot today might not be hot tomorrow, so you need to be constantly reading about trends. Yes, some styles are timeless, but most companies you’d be working for will want you to come up with designs that are hip and trendy. So you’ll need to go to fashion shows, read blogs, magazines and things of that nature. You’ll also want to have some kind of a presense in the art world. Meeting and talking to artists can be very helpful and keep your creative brain fresh!

In addition to all of this, I frequently have to tailor items and need skills such as cutting, sewing,draping etc. You also need to be very familiar with all of the different types of fabrics available and the different qualities of each of them.

So there are lots of qualities and skills you will need to either already have, or learn. Many of which can be learned in school (I am a California College of the Arts alumni myself!) but many skills you will develop on the job as time goes on.