Programs in fashion production train assembly line production and management staff through practical and classroom learning. These can be found in the form of certificate, associate degree and bachelor's degree programs. The range of employment opportunities spans from buyers and pattern-makers to design assistants and textile specialists.
Certificate in Fashion Production
Students prepare for entry-level positions in fashion production by learning the entire process, including producing samples and managing product runs. Given the fast-paced nature of the fashion production industry, companies value organized, hard-working employees. Certificates in fashion production typically take one year to complete. Generally, programs are open to high school graduates, though applicants might be expected to possess drawing, sewing or communications skills.
Certificate programs teach the basics of pattern design, sewing and draping. Students are taught computer-aided design in addition to traditional sketching and drawing. Common classes include:
- Computer-aided design
- Fabric analysis
- Fashion design
Associate's in Fashion Production Management
Associate degree programs delve into the creative, technical and economic factors involved in garment construction and large-scale production. Students learn pattern specifications, proper garment fit and the business aspects of the fashion industry. Studying the economic reasons behind certain business practices teaches students how to make well-informed, independent decisions with far-reaching consequences. Applicants of an associate degree program in apparel design only require a high school diploma or GED and can usually complete the program in two years.
Apparel design programs combine design instruction and practice with business skills. Courses prepare students to anticipate consumer trends far in advance of mainstream popularity. Commonly offered courses include:
- Collection production
- History of fashion design
- Trend forecasting
Bachelor's in Fashion Design and Production
Students in fashion design and production tracks within a bachelor's degree program blend the studies of business and fashion in a consumer-driven market. Programs prepare students to manage pre-existing brands or create new companies. Fashion design and production majors are 4-year programs that require only a high school diploma and standard university entrance exams.
Students in a bachelor's degree program in fashion production generate concepts for new designs through ingenuity and improvements on previous or existing patterns. Courses teach students how to conduct market research, perform cost analysis and design quality products. Classes include artistic courses that give students a long-range view of large-scale clothing production. Some course topics might include:
- Clothing construction
- Digital clothing design
- Fashion history
- Pattern creation
- Product development
Popular Career Options
Due to the extremely competitive nature of the fashion industry, entry-level fashion production workers find work as assistants to those with more experience. Graduates of fashion production certificate programs could qualify for the following positions:
- Assistant fabric buyer
- Assistant duplicates coordinator
- Assistant pattern-maker
- Production assistant
According to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), among the top occupations for textile, textile product, and apparel workers were sewing machine operators, production managers, and textile knitting and weaving machine operators and inspectors. Within the textile and apparel production field, workers could find the following jobs:
- Apparel production manager
- Design assistant
- Product developer
- Quality control manager
- Textile specialist
Employment and Salary Information
Employment for fashion designers was expected to grow by 3% between 2014 and 2024, per the BLS. New York and California have historically remained the hubs of the U.S. fashion industry, as evidence by the majority of employees in these locations. The BLS reported in 2015 that fashion designers made a mean annual wage of $73,180.
A fashion production degree teaches students about trends and design within the fashion industry, as well as equipping them to create their own patterns. These programs can be studied as a certificate program, a bachelor's degree program or an associate degree program.