Become a Children's Fashion Designer: Career Roadmap

A children's fashion designer is in charge of developing and constructing apparel or accessories that appeal to parents and children. They create formal or casual wear by sketching out initial designs or using computer-aided design (CAD) programs for quick development. These fashion designers must be able to understand how materials work and interact with each other.

Step 1: Receive an Undergraduate Degree

Fashion designers are typically required to have at least an undergraduate degree before they can work in their field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). While 2-year associate's degree programs are available, they tend to focus on fashion design in general. However, some bachelor's degree programs in fashion design offer specializations in children's wear or at least provide electives in that subject.

Undergraduate degree programs teach students about pattern design, draping, knitwear and fabrics. Degree programs specializing on children's wear may also provide courses on different types of clothing like outerwear, swimming suits or sportswear. Many of the programs also help students develop portfolios, which are vital in getting a job in the field.

Step 2: Complete an Internship

Aspiring fashion designers are encouraged to complete internships or hands-on training in order to gain networking contacts as well as experience in the field. Some schools require students to complete an internship before they can graduate from a 4-year program, and many fashion design programs help to set up internships on their students' behalf. Internships can be completed through fashion designers, retailers and manufacturers.

Step 3: Obtain Work Experience

Children's fashion designers may have to work entry-level jobs as assistants to more experienced designers before they can advance in the field. They may also work in retail or perform freelance jobs in order to build up a good reputation or clients.

Aspiring designers may also want to work in children's retail stores as salespeople in order to understand current fashion trends and popular products. Their training can also help them become dressmakers, costume designers, custom sewers and tailors. Designers can also go into business for themselves and sell their children's fashion design to retailers or online.

Step 4: Study Fashion Merchandising

Designers interested in understanding business aspects of their work may want to take additional business or marketing courses. Some fashion design programs offer these courses in fashion merchandising or marketing as a part of their overall degree programs. These courses can help aspiring designers understand how to forecast fashion, pick up merchandise, use merchandising math and effectively market their designs.

Step 5: Consider a Master's Degree in Fashion Design

A master's degree program in fashion design revolves around theoretical aspects of fashion and how it interacts with other subjects like sociology or art history. Typically, these programs require students to complete thesis projects or research papers that examines subjects in fashion studies. These programs may be beneficial for students who want more technical and critical training in fashion design.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

As of May 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an annual median salary of $63,760 for fashion designers. A 3% decline in employment was expected for designers from 2012-2022, according to the BLS. However, professionals interested in designing for everyday and mass-market wear, as well as those who work with new fabric technologies, can still expect job openings.

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