Career as a Fashion Designer- Courses, jobs, salary to make your dream career!


Fashion? What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear this word? For me, the first image that pops up into my head is definitely about the jazz, the glamour, an industry based on appearance and fashion shows. However, on further thought I also know that this is not a true representation of the industry. This is what I have been conditioned to think about based on what people around me think and what media shows.

But based on my initial thoughts should you consider studying fashion designing? Definitely! Especially if you think you have the passion for art and clothes. And talking the perception we just saw, we know that it’s just the half information. There are also individuals in the industry who are bringing about change. Body positivity and sustainable fashion are two examples that pops in my head right now. And if you think, you can bring about the change in the industry, then trust me when I say that the industry really needs you.

But how to become a fashion designer, you ask? Read the blog and get an insight into a career as a fashion designer- the education, skills, various job roles, growth prospect and much more!

What does a Fashion Designer do?

A fashion designer is someone who transforms an article of clothing into a specific appearance. Shape, colour, fabric, cuts, folds, pleats, and other similar material characteristics are all included in this. Starting with an idea, they produce the design, sell it to merchants, or develop their own brand. Their day looks different depending on where they are in the design process. Here is a simplified version of what they do that I have tried to present in a step-wise manner:

  1. Designer’s Research: 
    A fashion designer has to first understand what their consumers are looking for and what they like designing. For instance, do you like giving people aesthetics in their casual wear or do you enjoy the extravaganza of a wedding lengha? 
    Additionally, your market study should also involve studying your customer’s role models. For instance, if the target audience is teenagers who like celebrities with funky style, then you should be studying these celebrities and their designers. Taking inspiration from them will help you design stuff which can be sold in the price point you offer. Some fashion designers (usually employed by a company) also study reports on trends anticipation and design accordingly.
  1. Creation of the Design: 
    After understanding the needs of the customers, fashion designers start by brainstorming ideas about the apparels.Fashion designers use various tools like storyboards, sketches, water painting, mood-boards etc. to create a visual expression of the vision they have in their minds. With the increase in technology, many designers also use photoshop software to ease the process of designing.
  1. The Construction Process:
    After coming up with an initial idea, fashion designers work to create a prototype. They typically make a rough model of the design by sewing some inexpensive material on the mannequin. This helps the designer understand how the particular fabric will drape, fold or hang on a human body.
  1. Production process: 
    Once the fabric is chosen, the designers then start the production process. Tailors and sewers are hired who create the final clothing product. If the company is a big design firm, then it is possible that it would have a sourcing department that takes care of all the merchandising and supply of raw materials.
  1. Selling: 
    The designer has full control over where they want to market their product. It could be a fashion show, an exhibition, or simply selling it to retail outlets. Some might have individual clients (like a high-fashion department store) for whom they might be creating custom-made designs.

Job roles in Fashion Designing

Fashion designing is not only about designing garments. There are so many hats that you can wear after being a graduate in fashion designing. Here are a few roles that you can check out:

  • Textile Designer:
    You will produce the 2D patterns for the designs used frequently by fashion designers. Designers of textiles are highly technical and have a thorough understanding of the processes used to create textiles, including yarn and fabric kinds, embroidery, dyeing, colour, weaving and printing techniques.
  • Garment Technologists:
    You’ll be in charge of selecting and testing materials, making sure the design can be produced on a budget, supervising the processes of garment manufacturing, and performing quality control on the finished goods to look for flaws. You could also improve the sustainability and/or efficiency of the production processes.
  • Pattern Cutter:
    Based on the provided drawings, you will collaborate with designers and garment technologists to develop pattern templates. Working with machinists to build samples, utilising computer-aided design (CAD) software, and using dummies are all parts of your profession.
  • Fashion Illustrator:
    In order to generate conceptual ideas and illustrations of their items, you will collaborate directly with fashion designers to discuss their needs. This could entail painting, free-hand sketching, or the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Fashion illustrators are pro at computer-aided designs!
Fashion illustrators are pro at computer-aided designs! Source
  • Fashion Buyer:
    You will decide which things a retailer sells by fusing fashion and business. You’ll need to predict which trends will catch on months in advance while also taking the brand’s look, consumer purchasing patterns, quality, and budget into account.
  • Fashion writer:
    You might write pieces about anything fashion-related for a newspaper, print magazine, or internet, from live coverage of fashion weeks to a top ten list of Deepika Padukone’s most memorable looks. Typically, you’ll begin in an entry-level position, such an editing assistant.
  • Fashion Stylist:
    You will put together visually appealing outfits (think clothes, accessories and props) that match the artistic vision set out for you, whether it’s for a catwalk show, photo shoot, advertisement, TV show, movie, concert or music video.
  • Boutique Owner:
    One for aspiring business owners, you’ll be in charge of every part of your company, from helping clients, hiring new workers, and managing the admin and finances to buying (or designing!) your merchandise, building a website and social media profiles, and choosing the store layout.
  • Costume Designer:
    The costumes that the audience will see were made by you. Before presenting your ideas and guiding others, you must first read the script, make some rough sketches of the costumes, and do some research on styles and fabrics.
  • Professor:
    Become a lecturer at a university’s fashion department or a design and technology/textiles teacher at a secondary school or institution of higher learning to share your expertise of fashion with the next generation. Many lecturers and teachers work in the business world before entering the classroom.

Career Paths to becoming a Fashion Designer

There is no mandatory subject that you need to study in your 11th and 12th grades to become a fashion designer. However, an interest in art and drawing are good to have. Look for ways you can expand your skills in the same.

While you are in 11th and 12th, you need to prepare for entrance tests that will qualify you to take admissions for any undergraduate program in fashion designing. Here are some of the tests that you can check out:

However, all of these bachelor’s courses will require you to pass their entrance tests. Thus, post 10th you should start preparing for these tests. Some of them include: 

  • CEED: Common Entrance Examination for Design is a joint entrance exam for IITs and IISc 
  • NIFT examination: National Institute for Fashion Technology is an institute which takes its own entrance tests for all its locations around the country. 
  • IICD: The Indian Institute of Crafts and Design is an arts academy located in Jaipur which holds its own entrance tests. 
  • IIAD: Indian Institute of Arts and Design is a private institute located in New Delhi which offers courses for fashion designing and conducts its entrance test. 
  • NID DAT: NID Design Aptitude Test is a two-tier design entrance test. Prelims and main Exams are usually conducted for B.Des and M.Des.
  • AIEED: All India Entrance Examination for Design is a national-level exam conducted by ARCH Academy of Design for admission into their Delhi and Jaipur Campuses for their Undergraduate degree. 

As for undergraduate courses, check out some top fashion schools in your country. A B.A. or a B.Sc in Fashion Designing is a good way to start and begin your career in fashion design. These courses are three-four-year full-time courses which will equip you with the basic skills required to become a fashion designer. Theory, as well as practical assignments, are usually a part of such degrees.

Post your Bachelor’s you can choose to pursue higher education or do diploma courses. To get more information on the higher study options, you can check out our blog on How to become a Fashion Designer.

Salary in different stages of Career as a Fashion Designer

Salary insights to becoming a Fashion designer

As a fresher when you are starting out, you can expect an average base pay of 3.6 LPA. With an experience of 4-6 years, the average salary ranges from 4.4 LPA- 4.9 LPA. The highest that one can earn can be up to 8.1 LPA.

However, these figures are average and can change depending on the geographical location, the place you work, and the kind of industry you are in. 

Skills required to become a Fashion Designer

Fashion designing obviously requires technical skills like drawing, sewing, sketching etc.  However, there are certain soft skills which are complementary to the technical ones. Let’s see them one by one: 

Soft Skills required to become a Fashion Designer

You would require exceptional time management skills to manage a days like these!
You would require exceptional time management skills to manage days like these!

Time Management: 
A fashion designer multitasks a lot. They are not only responsible for designing clothes but also are in charge of organising events, directing the models, ordering supplies, coordinating with the team, clients, manufacturers, etc. Sometimes the factory would be in a different country, so a fashion designer also needs to take account of the time difference and communicate accordingly.

Fashion designers are required to effectively communicate. To build a brand, you need to bring your thoughts and research to the table while working with teams. A collection isn’t being created by you alone – listen to your team members’ ideas and take their feedback into account. Additionally, clients, models, agents, and photographers are some of the individuals a fashion designer interacts with, outside their team. Fashion designers, therefore, need to know how to communicate with different professions under varied scenarios. 

Fashion designers usually work on tight deadlines and have to get work done by others. Therefore strong leadership skills are a must. They have to motivate their staff like the interns, fashion editors, personal assistants and design assistants. To increase their productivity, leadership is also required. 

Business Skills: 
Basic business abilities like marketing, planning, budgeting, and personnel management are necessary for employment in the fashion sector. Since fashion designers frequently work for themselves, it’s critical that they have business management skills. These abilities may aid fashion designers in expanding their clientele, raising revenue, and expanding their businesses.

You will have to be like this chameleon adapting to it's surrounding
You will have to be like this chameleon adapting to its surrounding! Source

Flexibility and adaptability: 
The duties of a fashion designer might fluctuate at any time. The fashion business occasionally faces difficulties or unforeseen circumstances, therefore designers must be ready to address them. Fashion designers that can change with the times are better able to solve problems or come up with new ideas.

Technical Skills required for fashion designing : 

Artistic ability and creativity: 
Natural talent is the most crucial quality for every artist or fashion designer. This talent could be deriving inspiration from anything and everything and being able to implement them. Some fashion designers also work as architects, or graphic designers before transitioning into fashion. However, it’s a mix of nature and nurture and therefore formal education is also helpful.

Any fashion designer has to know how to sew. Although complete proficiency in fundamental fashion construction skills, like operating a sewing machine, is not required. However, it would benefit any aspiring designer to get a deep understanding of the craft involved in creating your ideas. You can choose the ideal fabric for your outfits more effectively if you are aware of the various materials. Additionally, while suggesting changes to the tailor, you are better able to convey your point.

Visualisation and sketching: 
Initially, a fashion designer’s ideas usually just exist in their minds. A skilled fashion designer should be able to aid others in seeing their ideas in the same way the designer sees them. One method of communicating thoughts and concepts to others is by creating intricate drawings. Such visualisation requires constant exposure and practice. But don’t worry if you are not good at drawing. With software like Adobe Illustrator, C-DESIGN Fashion, or Wild Ginger Cameo the tasks become easy.

Understanding of fabrics and materials: 
By handling textiles, altering the tension of various stitches, and practising needlework, you may become acquainted with the many components of garment design. Making a fabric choice is crucial to communicating your ideas. They need to make creative selections based on more than just a sample. Therefore they need to have a full understanding of how the fabric will flow and drape on a human body.

Is Fashion Design a good career option?

Fashion designer meme
Yes, unfortunately, the fashion industry is not all about “looks”. Source

If you’ve already decided that fashion design would be a career option for you, the competitive yet appealing nature of the field will soon become apparent to you. The satisfaction of working in a sector you are enthusiastic about will make it worthwhile even though it can occasionally be stressful to cope with.

Greater opportunities will emerge with time and experience, as well as longevity. If you decide to work full-time for a fashion firm, you will have access to many fantastic chances and even some perks, like health insurance. If you work for a fashion house, you’ll be compensated well for the time and effort you put into the job, and it might even lead to other opportunities like a paid vacation.

It is the second-largest industry in the world, and it will likely continue to grow for some time. All you need to do is put in a lot of effort because you’ll be picking up new skills every day! Fashion design requires ongoing education.

Type of Industries hiring for a Fashion Designer

Fashion designers usually work under other fashion designers in a boutique or a fashion house. However, there are other places too where a fashion designer can work:

  • Multinational companies
  • Consulting firms
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Media Houses
  • Textile houses
  • Garment stores
  • Fashion retail
  • Leather companies

Top Recruiters hiring for Fashion Designers in India

  • Raymond 
  • Allen Solly 
  • The Arvind Store 
  • Myntra 
  • Pantaloons
  • AND
  • Swarovski
  • Bata
  • Lifestyle 
  • Zara

Courses to Upskill as a Fashion Designer

Many online courses are available that can assist you in upskilling yourself as a fashion designer. You can check out the following courses for fashion design:

Certificate courses Institute offering the course Duration 
Illustrator for Fashion Design: Creating Brushes LinkedIn Learning 2 hour 40 mins 
Fashion as Design The Museum of Modern Art through Coursera 1-3 Months 
Photoshop for fashion designing: 2 Rendering Techniques LinkedIn Learning 2 hour 47 mins 
Digital Fashion Innovation The New School Parsons through Coursera 1-3 months 
Sustainable Fashion The Copenhagen Business School 1-3 Months 

Clever Harvey’s JuniorMBA in Design&Branding provides creative skills for designing.

Qualifications to become a Fashion Designer

As mentioned earlier, there is no subject requirement to become a fashion designer. However, for undergraduate programs, you would be required to pass the entrance test- for which you can start preparing.

Degrees in India

A) UG Degrees:

Some of the Bachelor’s degrees that you can pursue include:

Undergraduate Degrees in Fashion DesigningEstimated Duration 
Bachelor of Design (B.Des)3-4 years
Bachelor of Fashion Technology (B.F.Tech)3-4 years
BSc Fashion Design3-4 years
BSc Fashion Merchandising3-4 years
B.A. in Fashion Designing3-4 years

B) PG Degrees:

Some of the most popular higher study options to become a fashion designer include:

Post-graduate degreesDuration
Masters of Design (M.Des)2 years
Masters of Fashion Technology2 Years
Masters of Fashion Management 2 Years

Degrees Abroad

Abroad undergraduate courses differ in structure, assignments, and curriculum from India. Some of the courses that should check out include Bachelor of Design Innovation- Fashion Design Technology, Bachelor of Design in Fashion and Textile, Bachelor of Creative Industries (Applied Fashion), B.A. (Hons) in Fashion, and Bachelor of Design (B.Des). These courses take 3-4 years to complete depending on the country you apply to.

Studying abroad may provide you with an opportunity to meet people from different cultures and expand knowledge
Studying abroad may provide you with an opportunity to meet people from different cultures and expand your knowledge. Source

You can even pursue a Master’s degree abroad to become a fashion designer. Some of the courses include MA in Fashion Design, MFA Fashion, MSc International Fashion Marketing, and Master of Fashion Industry Studies. These courses are also 1-2 years long and the curriculum varies depending on the country you apply to.

Entry into these courses will require you to give language proficiency test scores of IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, SATs, etc along with an SOP (Statement of Purpose) and LORs (Letter of Recommendation). Want some help with SATs? We have got you covered. Read this blog to know more!

Want to explore more? Here are some cool resources:

Still, want to check more? Here are some cool TV shows and Books you can check out to increase your knowledge: 

  1. TV Show: Emily in Paris
    Where: Netflix
    What to expect: Story of a social media manager who shifts to Paris for a year and the cultural barriers that she faces.
  1. TV Show: The Bold Type 
    Where: Amazon Prime and Netflix 
    What to expect: This is a show that is not purely about fashion design but about the industry as a whole. It portrays the journey of 3 young females who work in a fashion magazine called “Scarlet”. 
  1. Books you can read: 
  • The End of Fashion by Tri Agins
  • The Little Dictionary of Fashion: A Guide to Dressing Sense for Every Woman by Christian Dior
  • Fashion – Oxford History of Art by Christopher Breward

I hope this information increased your curiosity to explore the career of Fashion Designing and try it out for yourself. Wishing you all the very best in whatever career you choose.

FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions about Career in Fashion Design

Do fashion designers earn a good living?

The salary of a fashion designer in India might range from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 35,000 per month, depending on the opportunity and the brand. Your salary may increase to two lakhs per month as you get experience in the profession. Fashion designers have employment options outside of India as well.

How many year does it take to become a fashion designer?

An associate degree in fashion design can be earned in two years, and a bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to finish. You will need to dedicate two more years to the task of getting a master’s degree in the area. At FIT, an associate’s degree in fashion design can be obtained in just two years.

Is fashion design a good career?

One of the top paying sectors, with plenty of lucrative job prospects, fashion design is also a creatively stimulating and financially rewarding career!

What is the #1 fashion school in the world?

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York, NY is perhaps the most famous school for those aspiring to enter the world of fashion.

Which city is known as City of fashion?

Milan and Paris have alternated as the world’s fashion capitals since the 16th century.

What qualifications do you need to be a fashion designer?

To get started as a fashion designer, formal education from a fashion school or certificates would be quite beneficial. One needs to be skilled at drawing, sketching, sewing, and other crafts in order to design clothing well. Also crucial are the abilities of imagination and observation.

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Skills to become a Fashion Designer Top 10 colleges to become a Fashion Designer Abroad Is Fashion Design a Good Career option? How to become a Graphic Designer?
Skills to become a Fashion Designer Top 10 colleges to become a Fashion Designer Abroad Is Fashion Design a Good Career option? How to become a Graphic Designer?