Become a Children's Fashion Designer: Career Roadmap

Learn about the education and training requirements needed to design fashionable clothes for children. Explore potential roadmaps for this career and see where opportunities for advancement might exist.

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Should I Become a Children's Fashion Designer?

Fashion designers specializing in children's wear may create clothing specifically for infants, toddlers, older children or a combination of different age groups. Some designers may further focus their creations to girls or boys clothing. Much of their work involves selecting colors, patterns and fabrics, creating themes for collections, and observing fashion trends. They may also work with child models to perfect the fit and look of designs as well as to market their collections to retailers and consumers.

These professionals typically work for wholesale and manufacturing clothing companies as in-house designers. Other designers who work independently may create custom clothing for select clients or have their own retail store displaying their collections. Traveling to fashion and trade shows, and to meet with clients is common for this field. Meeting tight production deadlines and working long or unusual hours is often required.

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Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's degree minimum; bachelor's degree most common
Degree Field Fashion design; fashion merchandising
Experience Internships available; retail experience recommended
Key Skills Detail-oriented, artistic and creative ability, communication, computer and decision-making skills
Salary $64,030 per year (2014 median salary for all fashion designers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine

Step 1: Receive an Undergraduate Degree

Although 2-year associate's degree programs are available, most students complete a bachelor's program in fashion design or fashion merchandising, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some bachelor's programs in fashion design offer specializations in children's wear or at least provide electives in that subject. Many of these programs also help students develop portfolios, which are vital to landing a job.

Step 2: Complete an Internship

Aspiring children's fashion designers are encouraged to complete internships or hands-on training to gain experience and networking contacts. Many fashion design programs help to set up internships for students. Some schools require students to complete an internship before they can graduate from a 4-year program. Internships can be completed with fashion designers, retailers or 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 work in retail or perform freelance jobs in order to build clientele or a good reputation. Aspiring designers should also consider working in children's retail stores to understand current trends and popular products. Designers can also go into business for themselves by selling their children's fashion designs in stores or online.

Step 4: Study Fashion Merchandising to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Designers interested in understanding the business and marketing aspects of their work may want to complete a degree program in fashion merchandising. Some fashion design programs include fashion merchandising or marketing courses in the curriculum. These courses can help aspiring designers understand how to forecast fashion, handle merchandise, use merchandising math and effectively market their designs.

Success Tip:

  • Complete a master's degree program. Earning a graduate degree, such as a masters' in fashion and textile studies may be beneficial for students who want to integrate the historical and cultural aspects of fashion design into their current creations. Such programs also allow fashion designers to further develop business acumen through practical training in areas like exhibition planning and fashion collection management.
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