Become a Children's Fashion Designer: Career Roadmap

Mar 04, 2020

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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Career Info

A children's fashion designer is in charge of developing and constructing apparel or accessories that appeal to parents and children. They 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 customers.

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 is common for this field. Meeting tight production deadlines and working long or unusual hours is often required.

Children's fashion designers should have artistic and creative ability, communication skills, computer skills, and decision-making skills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fashion designers in general in the United States earned a median annual pay of $72,720 in 2018.

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 $72,720 per year (2018 median salary for all fashion designers)*

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

Get Undergraduate Degree

Although 2-year associate's degree programs are available, most aspiring clothing designers complete a bachelor's program in fashion design or fashion merchandising, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 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.

Complete 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.

Get 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.

Study Fashion Merchandising

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.

Earning a graduate degree, such as a master's 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.

Once again, individuals who aspire to design clothing for children should complete, at the minimum, an associate's degree in a field such as fashion design or fashion merchandising before going on to complete an internship, earn an entry-level job in the field, build a portfolio, and work their way up in the industry.

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