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Wedding Dress Designer: Employment and Career Information

See what working as a wedding dress designer entails. Discover the education and training requirements, and get details about job prospects to see if this is the right career for you.

Career Definition for a Wedding Dress Designer

A wedding dress designer is a specialized fashion designer who conceptualizes, produces, tailors, and markets wedding dresses. Wedding dress designers often work with large fashion houses to create dresses that can be mass-produced. They also may work closely with customers to create one-a-kind designs. A career in wedding dress design requires long hours, lots of travel, and the ability to face rejection in a field that can take years to break into.

Education Although not required, a bachelor's or associate's degree in fashion technology is beneficial
Job Skills Creativity, business, communication, strong knowledge of fashion trends and forecasts, and sewing and drawing skills
Median Salary (May 2015) $63,670 (fashion designers)
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% (fashion designers)

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Required Education

Though not required, a bachelor's or associate's degree in fashion technology may help build the skills, portfolio, and networking abilities needed to succeed in the field of wedding dress design. Many schools that offer degrees in fashion technology, such as the Fashion Institute of Technology (www.fitnyc.edu), also offer career placement programs.

Skills Required

A wedding dress designer must be creative, possess sewing and drawing skills, and have strong knowledge of fashion trends and forecasts. In order to be successful, a wedding dress designer also must have strong interpersonal, business, and communication skills.

Career and Economic Outlook

Starting a career as a wedding dress designer may be difficult due to fierce competition in the fashion industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the number of jobs for fashion designers is expected to increase by 3% from 2014-2024. In May 2015, the BLS published median earnings for fashion designers as $63,670.

Alternate Career Options

Tailor and Sewer

Tailors and sewers alter, mend or create new garments based on designers' patterns or custom requests from clients. They work with clients during fittings, mark measurements and desired changes to the garment, and then use hand- or machine-sewing to make adjustments. Tailors and sewers may do other textile work, such as on household linens. Some tailors and sewers take sewing classes, and others learn the career on the job; in some cases, an apprenticeship may be arranged. The BLS reported that custom sewers, dressmakers, and tailors earned median pay of $25,830 in 2015. The BLS also predicts that jobs for tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers will decline by 9% from 2014-2024.

Art Director

Art directors determine the overall look for images used in commercial media - such as magazines, product packaging or ad campaigns. They may oversee and guide the work of junior members of a creative team. Art directors may work collaboratively with staff in other departments and meet with clients to ensure a product or promotion has the desired design elements and characteristics, is on time, and within budget. The rate of self-employment is high among art directors; the BLS estimated it at nearly 50% in 2015. An art director usually has a bachelor's degree in art or a related field and up to five years of relevant experience, such as in photography, graphic design or illustration. Prospective employers also place a great deal of weight on a portfolio. The BLS predicts that jobs for art directors will increase 2% from 2014-2024; the agency also reports that art directors earned median pay of $89,760 in 2015.

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